It’s surprising how many things a front garden can be used for, its usually used as a place to park the car and somewhere to keep the bins, but even the smallest can be a tiny nature reserve,a haven for birds and insects and can help prevent flooding.
Most front gardens are small, but the idea is that a network of small gardens add up to large areas that can make a real difference.
The main aim is to reduce as much paving and include as many plants as possible. It’s best to use paving that allows water to drain through it, so that it doesn’t run out onto the road and cause those flash-floods that seem to happen such a lot.
Paving more than five square metres of a front garden in the U.K. with impermeable paving needs planning permission, so this type of paving filled with shingle is a perfect solution, and it looks good too.
Choosing a range of plants that flower in turn for as much of the year as possible and planting a mix of shrubs, plants and a small tree will make the biggest difference, providing food and shelter for birds and insects.
A garden that has a variety of plants is good for us too, I always feel better after a walk near trees and plants rather than along a street without any greenery.
These front gardens designed by Nigel Dunnett at R.H.S.Hampton Court Flower Show this year, manage to fit everything you need into a front garden. I like the way the bin store is at an angle, disguising them so they can’t be seen directly from the house or the street.
The green roof on the bin store makes sure as much surface as possible is covered in plants.
- The flowering plants look good, but planting a few evergreen shrubs would keep it looking nice all year round.
- Spring flowering bulbs are a good idea too, they’re a welcome sight at the end of winter and need hardly any attention.
- Plant the right plants for your garden soil so they’ll grow well and won’t need replacing.
- Try to include some vegetables or herbs in containers. My tiny front garden is sunny, so I’ve got a big pot of herbs growing there.
Happy gardening, Jill
all photos: Jill Anderson.