Green Room

Satellite photo & CAD plan of the Green Room

  1. Introduction
  2. Description of design
  3. Schedule of Works
  4. Plants
  5. Maintenance

1. Introduction

green 'room' of (fruit) trees, where we can lose ourselves a little and forget we're in London

West facing garden 18m x 6m, lawn & BBQ area by kitchen and 'green room' paved & seating beyond. Aim is to create a haven for wildlife and people, a low-maintenance family garden with edible fruits and perennial veg.

Colourised pencil 3D sketch of Green Room garden

2. Description of design

Coming out of the kitchen, there is a container to the left, divided into sections, for growing different varieties of mint. Apple mint is good for salad, Spearmint and Peppermint are good for drinks and cooking.

On the right, in more sun, is a container for mediterranean herbs Thyme and Rosemary. There is well-pruned bay tree to the left by the path. All of these are for cooking & BBQs.

Plain garden CAD plan
Garden CAD plan without background satellite photo

The path curves to the left and in the shady left border are 3 fruit bushes and a variety of leafy vegetables for cooking (sorrel, mallow and columbine). There is a trained thornless bramble up the fence, for pollinators & fruit. The ground cover is a strawberry near the kitchen and Lungwort toward the shade of the Cherry.

On the right of the path, in more sun, is a lavender hedge planted in to well drained soil, right by the mown & fox-poo free lawn.

White flowers of damson tree
Amazing damson blossom, good for early pollinators

The lawn is smaller but still large enough to lie down. To the north of the lawn is the elegant Damson and pond bed. The pond is surrounded by stones which match the new paving by the back of the house. The Damson has the canopy raised slightly to allow light in beneath. On the fence is a Jasmine climber for scent. There are two tall plants, an edible globe artichoke on the left of the pond and a wispy fennel to the right. There's a mixture of spinach and flower edibles in the bed, interspersed with pollinator friendly flowers, the Verbena and the Echinacea.

The ground cover is pollinator-friendly Oregano and further back in the bed a fertilising Dwarf Comfrey.

Red flower of Japanese Quince
Gorgeous flowers of Japanese Quince 'Crimson and Gold'

Just behind the Damson is a Japanese Quince, with gorgeous flowers, highlighted red against the dark green of the fig, and edible fruit, and behind it a Hemp Agrimony for pollinators. You will need to keep the fig pruned though to stop it encroaching on the Damson, and I would keep off the ground as well, to allow the Dwarf Comfrey to prosper and nourish it.

View north from the 'green room'
Sketch of the Green Room, looking North

Through the Cherry and Fig arch, you come to the 'green room'. In the deep shade of the Cherry to the left there is a robust white Geranium. There is far more light from the West now, with a gentle shade provided by the tall Italian. This should have its canopy raised as it grows, to let in more light. Along the north fence is a green wall of 4 metre high bamboo, a non-invasive clumping variety whose shoots are also edible.

Thick wall of bamboo shoots Non-invasive bamboo to form a screen beneath the Italian Alder

To the left of the bamboo is a Turkish Hazel, not as vigourous as our native but still providing a screen and nuts for wildlife. There’s still a fair degree of southerly light coming in, so there’s space for a white flowering Japanese Quince, which will glow in the dark spring evenings as it flowers. Likewise, Wood Betony provides a good ground cover butting up to the paving, with a mix of Lungwort and possibly Nepalese Raspberry under the hawthorn, if there’s enough light.

Ah, the hawthorn, a non-native but still very wildlife valuable Broad-leaved Cockspur Thorn, with amazing flowers, fruit and foliage. It’s less vigorous than the native Hawthorn, so will need less maintenance.

Green leaves turning gold, red fruit of small tree
“Just beginning to turn. The whole tree will be gold and red soon.”

Moving left, there may well be room for a large leaved rhubarb, a dramatic foil as you enter the space, and next to it, a small and elegant crabapple, a pollinator for the other apple and a star in its own right. Beautiful light red and white flowers in the spring for pollinators and dark red fruit, for you if you’re quick enough.

The new shed is a green roofed shed, with space enough for all the bikes and somehow the mower as well.

Facing it is your choice of apple. I’d recommend an eater that keeps well. Even though it’s shaded by the fence to the South, there’s enough light from the West for there to be a fair crop.

Beneath the trees are ferns, comfrey (for chop 'n' drop mulching), Wild Angelica and some Columbine if there’s enough light.

Wildlife features

Illustration of wildlife pond made from old water tank

  • Pond made from old water tank
  • Green roof on the new shed
  • Water butts by side return for filling pond & watering perennial veg
  • Open (if possible) compost heap, habitat for slow worms etc
  • A number of Hedgehog Highways, 13cm x 13cm hole cut in bottom of the fence panel
  • A range of plants for pollinators (oregano, mint, sedum, echninacea, fennel, ivy, pyracantha, verbena, Hemp Agrimony, Sweet Rocket), particularly early season (hawthorn, cherry, thornless bramble, apple, damson, lungwort)
  • Stones for lizards & invertebrates by pond
  • Prickly evergreen by pond to protect pond visitors from cats
  • Logpiles hidden throughout the garden
  • Dense ground cover wherever possible

Illustration of hole in fence for hedgehog access AKA Hedgehog Highway

3. Schedule of Works

1. Tree felling

  • Lleylandii and Silver Birch
  • Have stumps removed with stump grinder
  • Lleylandii wood burns well. Will cost more to keep it and cut it.
  • Will need to have waste removed through house (!)
  • Contractors will have chipper. Can use chipped waste as a mulching material. Will save removing it via house!

2. Patio

  • Remove corners of patio to increase planting area and therefore wildlife habitat
  • Re-use removed slabs to create garden path
  • Remove sand & hardcore, re-use as foundation for garden path
  • Replace pavements in position of Silver Birch

3. Path

  • Re-use hardcore and slabs from patio
  • Curved path more difficult but infinitely more desirable
  • Create 40cm wide bed for lavender to north of path
  • Possbily use sand/hardcore to improve drainage for lavender bed

 4. Green roof shed

  • Online guide available to create green roof
  • If possible, direct rainwater from roof to the bed to the North.

5. Pond

  • Keep slightly raised, to avoid every little animal falling straight in
  • Use branches/logs and stones to create ramp sides
  • Essential to use rainwater to top up the pond
  • Use hardwood branch without bark (eg oak) to provide access, together with stones, so things can get out. Essential as not sloped sides.

6. Beds

  • Do a pH test and a consistency test
  • May need extra green waste / compost dug in to improve fertility
  • Use chipped tree branches and foliage as a mulch, will save having to buy in bark mulch
  • Plant shrubs & trees
  • Put down mulch
  • Plant ground cover

I can supply a lot of the ground cover plants, like the Dwarf Comfrey and Nepalese Raspberry.

4. Plants

Which plants are available depend on your soil pH and type, what plants you’d like to keep and how much light is available. Think of this as a list of ideas for plants!

Fennel seeds
Fennel, a native, edible, wildlife-friendly perennial plant

Trees

Shrubs

Climbers

Herbaceous perennials

Ground cover

5. Maintenance

  • Apple: prune in winter
  • Bay Tree: prune lightly in spring
  • Cherry & Damson: prune in summer, after fruiting
  • Currants & gooseberry: prune in winter
  • Fig: prune back in winter, to encourage fruit and give plants room
  • Hazel: cut back if required in winter
  • Lavender: prune in autumn
  • Italian Alder: raise the canopy as it grows to let in light
  • Pond: clear out excess duckweed in summer, leaves in winter

This page online: simp.ly/p/JZlZ1N