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Hi there, we live in a house with a very narrow back yard (about 2 metres) that drops off suddenly by approx 2 metres from 3 metres before the back fence. We overlook a reserve from the back but are at a bit of a loss as to what to do with our land. It currently looks like a dogs breakfast courtesy of the previous owners who had no idea of garden design - we even have a single rose bush in amongst it all. We are in the process of ripping everything out to start from scratch. Any tips would be appreciated :) Cheers, Leanne.

Rear_left_of_garden Rear_right_of_garden



Sounds ideal for a terrace, but without seeing a picture and also without knowing your climate there, it is hard to make useful suggestions for planting. Sounds as though it could be made into an interesting garden, however.

22 Apr, 2012


Thanks for that - I'll organise a photo and send some details about our climate :)

22 Apr, 2012


That'll be good, thanks.

22 Apr, 2012


Leanne, don't forget to outline what sort of summer high temperatures you can expect. They can have a drastic effect on your potential plant palette, if they are over 37ยบ C.

23 Apr, 2012


Did I say that our backyard looks like a dog's breakfast - LOL!!! I have taken the photo from our top deck. As you can see we also have a lower deck and have started clearing the garden on the left hand side. The area with the stepping pavers is about 2 metres wide then it drops very suddenly with the 6 foot fence line being a little lower than the flat area. Around the side of the house is the clothes drying areas. To the right - ugh - the flat area is a little wider and the property ends with the bushy green shrub in the high middle of the photo. The property then sweeps around in a curve with the fence coming to a gate width at the higher side of the house. The cement path extends around the house with the same width but has cascades like a waterfall instead of being flat.

We live just outside of Canberra where we get a handful of days over 40 degrees celcius (approx 100 degrees farenheit) and down below 0 degrees in winter - usually no colder than -8 degrees.

As you can see the fall of the land is really steep. I was thinking that perhaps a rock garden might be an option with a shrub about 2 1/2 metres high along the lower fence line to give a little bit of privacy. We're not sure if my husband will be relocated with work so although terraced retaining walls would be practical they would be really expensive as our property is rather wide.

Thanks very much for your help!!!!

Cheers, Leanne.

23 Apr, 2012


That certainly is a challenging space! I am assuming that, since the decks look over it, that this is looking to the sun?
Your seating area is already sorted on the decks, so the ground area will be your 'view', as it were.
I think you are right to think about a rockery for the slope. It's a lot of slope, but it could look great. The bottom lower bit could be a wide border for perennials and low shrubs (in shade) with the higher shrubs/small trees behind them for the privacy you need. If there is anything there at the boundary already that could be pruned back and kept, that would be a help.
The wider, flatter bit on the right of the picture could be cleared and left as grass, perhaps with one or two pretty trees in it.
Have a look around your neighbourhood to see what you might like in your garden and what will grow well where you are.
I hope you will enjoy renewing this garden.

23 Apr, 2012


Thanks for your suggestions :) Yes it is a challenge which is why we have put it on hold. We have started clearing the right hand side this afternoon- it's like jungle with scotch thistles amongst it all. The previous owners planted geraniums on the fence line so there aren't any shrubs to keep apart from privet which is an issue and we're cutting that out. You are correct - the garden is looking towards the sun.

I'll keep you informed regarding the progress of our garden and will have a look around for some gardening books to give us further inspiration.

23 Apr, 2012


I would love to see what you do with this garden. Do keep the photos coming. It's an interesting one!

23 Apr, 2012


Sure thing :) The garden is looking better already with all of the family pulling together getting out the weeds and unusable shrubs. I am looking forward to getting my hands dirty and to a paving project to bring it all together.

23 Apr, 2012

How do I say thanks?

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