The Creative Coastal Home Garden in Winter

I am definitely a novice gardener. In my previous home I had small front and back gardens, which both consisted of a patch of lawn surrounded by borders with bushes and trees. I struggled to bond with the space. Mowing the lawn and planting a few trees and shrubs was as far as it went.

In my new home, I’ve inherited well-tended gardens and I’m really keen to keep them looking good, and improve my gardening and fruit and veg growing skills. I’ve also been inspired by a series fellow blogger simplythenest did A year in the secret garden where she photographed her garden each month, giving a great insight into how a garden can look over the course of a year, when you really pay attention to it. So here’s the first one of my series: The novice gardener by the season.

The Front Garden

My new home has a small front garden which is gravelled with pots, and bordered by hedging. It ranges from 6-10 feet wide and is east facing so won’t get a lot of sun:

The Front Garden
The Front Garden view from north-south

All the pictures in this post were taken on 15th February 2017, a bright but cold day. The tree at the end covered in Ivy is in the garden for the next house. The tarpaulin is covering a rather large water fountain. The tree in the foreground is a magnolia which is showing plenty of buds now.

Here’s the front garden from the other end:

Front Garden alternate view
The Front Garden view from south-north

As you can see, light in this space is tricky! You can see a lot of trees lining the road as well. I’ll be monitoring how the foliage and therefore light and shade change over the seasons, as this might impact what will work in the front garden. Interestingly, the house deeds state that the front garden can only be used as ‘an ornamental pleasure garden’. I don’t think there are any definitions for what an ornamental pleasure garden is, but if anyone knows one, let me know!

I’m a novice gardener, but a responsible adult, so I filled up the bird feeders, but no birds have taken any interest yet! Any suggestions for how to encourage them?

Bird feeders in the front garden
The birds are ignoring the bird feeders!

So I’m planning on keeping the front garden as a container garden. There are a number of containers already with bulbs which are peeking out now. I’m keen to introduce some colour and privacy to the space without blocking light, so researching shade loving colourful container shrubs. Happy to take any suggestions! There are 2 seating areas in the front garden currently, and I’ll also need to decide whether to keep them or perhaps introduce more plants. I know a novice gardener probably shouldn’t take on too much in their first year, so it’s likely I’ll focus more on the back garden.

The Back Garden

The back garden is a good size and broken up into lots of different spaces, so I can treat it as a series of ‘rooms’. It’s west-facing so should get the light from the afternoon until the end of the day. It slopes upwards, which is dealt with by some steps and raised beds and some slopes in the space. Here’s the winter views:

There is a path running along the back of the house, widening into a patio at the back of the conservatory.

Back garden path and patio
Path and Patio

The patio area is sheltered and surrounded by raised beds and pots, some of which have bulbs now springing to life:

Plants surrounding the back patio
Back patio plants

One side of the garden has a lawn, with pond and summer house. To the side it has a greenhouse and patio/barbecue area:

The back garden
Back Lawn, Summer house and Greenhouse

I don’t know what the plants are, but will need to learn fast! Here’s another view of the largest pond:

Back garden pond
The Pond

The pond houses a couple of fish, so I am now also a pet owner for the first time! There are a couple more small ponds and a number of water features in the space. You can also see the other side of the garden in this shot. There are a series of vegetable beds, and an enclosure which was once used to keep chickens. I’m really interested in growing my own herbs and vegetables so this area is a priority for me. I also need to decide how to use the former chicken run which is quite a big space. I could go for plants, vegetables or another seating space – what would you do? Here’s a closer view:

The Vegetable Beds
The Vegetable Beds

As well as the veg beds, there are a number of fruit trees which are bare at the moment. Another view of the back garden:

The back garden
The Back Garden

There are clumps of snowdrops flowering at the moment. So – I may be a novice gardener but I have plenty of scope with the gardens. I’ll be concentrating on learning veg growing and planting a herb garden. I am also considering whether to paint the fence, and plant some trees along the back of the garden for a little more privacy. Keep following to see whether I do manage to up my gardening game throughout the year, and whether you can learn any tips for your garden! What would you prioritise? Any suggestions for what to plant in an east or west-facing garden?

Snowdrops in the garden
Snowdrops at the Creative Coastal Home