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Garden Advice Needed Please.

BTL and I have a house provided with our job,and after 7 years here,we still have not come to grips with the garden.It is a courtyard surrounded on all sides by walls and a tall building.It gets no sun at this time of year,but,in one part of the garden in high summer,it can reach 100 degrees plus.
The managers before us made low beds around the edges and filled them with compost, no soil as such.These beds don`t drain,so are very boggy for most of the year. They grew annuals and not much else.
Given that we have over an acre to garden here, at work,plus,a very large allotment,we are looking for ideas for a low maintainance garden,because all we do is collapse out there inthe evenings in the summer months.
Ideas so far include taking most things out,gravelling the beds and growing grasses,or,doing a japanese style garden with stones etc etc
Any ideas would be very welcome..
Green Rosie

I would definitely recommend reducing any workload there as you do enough gardening in your working hours not to have to do it in your spare time as well. Maybe a bit of prep work to get the soil in the best condition possible for any plants you do put in there. Are there any climbers that would do well with min maintenance?

It's the old adage that any gardener's garden is always the worst kept one (or roofer's roof, plumber's bathroom etc etc) We live in a tip but the gite is always spick and span Wink

I would go with the gravel / grasses idea, and then just dot a few pots of annuals / bulbs around the place. You have plenty of gardening going on elsewhere - let this be a little haven where you can just sit and don't have to bother doing anything!

Have a look at Beth Chatto's gravel garden, supposed to be a classic example.

or the other end of the scale, utterly minimal, the Zen garden in Ryoanji


Thanks for the link EV,forgot about Beth Chatto.

Beth Chatto's garden is based on gravelly soil with low rainfall - not a problem where we are, I'd say.

Can you put gravel on a woven groundcover layer with aubrietia, snow in summer, flowering ground cover things? See /borrow from me Marjory Fish's books or go up to East Lambrook Manor and have a look?

And put some alpine strawberries and herbs in, as its right alongside your kitchen.

Maybe I've not looked at it closely but I think your courtyard is delightful!

Bamboo appears to be more or less indestructible. You can have a lump of ours if you like.
Some herbs sounds like a good idea if it's by your kitchen.
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