Draft plan for secret garden

I want to turn the newly cleared area at the back of the house into a kind of ‘secret garden’.

Thanks to the new fence around the carport, it leaves an ‘L’ shape at the back of the garden and leaves the fibro garage completely visible from every room at the back of the house….this makes it potentially a real challenge to integrate into the rest of the space, the typical answer to this sort of challenge is to grow a climbing plant over the structure to try and make it disappear (which is what the previous owners tried to do with the Jasmine and Ivy).

To me though, this awkward 30 x 20 ft space is a blessing, particularly so as I am fond of the idea of creating a garden room.

This area has some rather pretty Northerly views through young gum trees to distant mountains, so I want to frame and enclose that area to focus the eye:


Being North facing, this area receives full sun all day.

To achieve the enclosure and screening to create both a room and frame a view, I will need hedging of various types.

The bulk of the hedging on the boundary will be done by either Leyland or Lawson Cypresses. I will keep them to the height of the garage, which is about 15′, so they wont get out of control. They will also block the cold southerly and westerly winds

The next part is create the screening from the rest of the garden. There is an existing Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) between the fence and the Eucalypt which makes an excellent hedge, but that plant is quite weedy here, so I will use Sweet Viburnum (Viburnum odoratissimum) instead. It has very similar leaves to the Cherry Laurel, and sadly it isn’t as frost hardy, although I have seen it grown successfully around here and the existing tree will provide some shelter from the cold.

Of course, a secret garden area should have a seat (think of being able to read a book, or just quiet contemplation time) and it definitely needs other long-lived shrubs to provide layering and seasonal interest: to that end I will create another smaller clipped hedge of camellias and azaleas/rhododendrons to cap out the autumn-winter-spring flowering season. Bulbs and other annuals/short lived perennials can fill all of the spaces while the main structure of the garden room is establishing itself.

Lastly, a secret garden should have some sort of entrance: at this stage I am thinking clipped boxwood topiary in two large pots.

Simple and traditional, but effective.

Below is my ‘draft’ sketch for this area of the garden. As you can see, I haven’t made my mind up about plant selection just yet, so it will be interesting to see if the end result stays this way!


I did this ‘sketch’ using Microsoft Excel, makes it very easy to go back and change later, as well as being able to get a feel for the number of plants that I will need to buy.


3 thoughts on “Draft plan for secret garden

  1. Best wishes with your project. We are tackling many of the same repair and renovation issues with our house. I was interested in your MSE sketch… never thought of that, but it makes perfect sense. Thanks for putting that idea out there!


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