My new Scottish Garden

So I’m a bonsai enthusiast (only just had my 1st yr birthday) living in Soctland UK.

I just turned 36 and I’m on a moderate budget. I have about 30 trees in development and I am committed to making bonsai a lifelong enterprise (hence my membership here)

I’ve got a pretty good space to work with. I emplore you guys to help me decide on the first (and most essential steps) in my garden design. I can send you photos of my space if that helps.

P.s. I hope newbes are not an annoyance round here. If so please be patient, I do intent to stick around :pray:


Hello Davy,

newbies definitely an annoyance. I for one fell all knowing from the sky. :wink:

I think some plan or pictures would help. And keep in mind that different people may place different focus/emphasis. I guess you checked out the Mirai feature on garden design already?
Have a look at thread.

I would spend some time coming up with a general theme/feel/design approach for the garden, before doing any actual planning.

Enjoy the journey.

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Exposure to wind and sun were my primary initial considerations. Think about how much you can or are willing to modify those factors (and access to water) first.

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Thanks guys, I’ve got a water system, wind is strong here so tie downs will need to be perfected as a technique.


So the theme is ‘Connection’.

My wife and I are expecting our first child in a few months. I’d like my bonsai garden to be a space where we can connect as a family and connect to nature. A place to have a beer with friends and admire the trees when the conversation lulls.

The general design is to keep the seated area at the center and have my collection around the perimeter. Like the trees are watching over us. Guardians of being.

As you can see from the last pic the conservatory overlooks the garden and so it will be enjoyed even in the depressing Scottish winter’s.

First simple jobs will be paint the garage door and put down a layer of gravel. Then I need to figure out how to build monkey polls and an asthetic that complements the space and the trees.

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I don’t have any recommendations for you aside from maximum sun exposure. I just wanted to comment t on how lovely a space you have. Very nice!

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Nice space and I like your theme.

looking at the pictures one thing I would recommend ist starting with a plan of the garden and tracking where you have sun through the day. With the walls and buildings around, also try to see if that is different for trees which are higher off the ground. With the plan work out how this is affected by season (higher sun angle). Now you can allocate tree areas for varying sun exposure and start laying out other aspects around those. For the large concrete area, gravel could be an option (I assume you do not ant to break that up to put garden soil bak in).

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I envy you the blank slate!
Do you own or are you renting? That may affect the permanence of installations.
How long have you lived on the site? Have you observed wind and sun patterns in all seasons? Are you planning dark heat absorbing surfaces or light reflective ones?
You may want to go with a less permanent installation initially so that you have the flexibility to change and develop as you go along. Perhaps a series of small tables - rather than breaking up what appears to be concrete for poles - unless of course you have rock pillars available. :money_mouth_face:
How large are your trees now and what are your plans for future development in terms of a collection? Native species?
I see that antelion has preceded me similar recommendations. Good luck with your deliberations!

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Looking forward to watching your progress and Congratulations!

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Thanks again for helping me to form my thoughts with your questions.

I own the property and I’ve been here for 5 years, but my bonsai passion only kicked in a year ago and so I’ve only really observed the property through a (developing) horticultural lens since then. The garage door faces south, most of the rest garden is shaded in the morning. My collection currently includes a 1 meter Hawthorne, several 50cm firs, several 50cm junipers, a large elm, a couple of tropicals for the summer months, some small rosemary and boxwood. I am doing a fair bit of field growing also (scots pine, Japanese maple, azalea, lavender and rosemary, cherry blossom, spruce - these need perhaps 3-5 more years before potting).

@cab_lad_70 your suggestion of medium term plan is excellent. This way I can experiment with lay out as I build my knowledge. What would you suggest with “small table” design? Is there a way to create mobile monkey polls - perhaps I could anchor these with cement slabs that can me lifted off? What are rock pillars?

I’m thinking gravel surface for now, the concrete will one day be broken up and perhaps a resin bonded stone effect put onto this area (the wife’s preference).

Many thanks for your time and interest guys.

That’s a great space Davy! My only advice would be to keep your collection as small as possible. A baby is a lot more work than you’d think. Add a bonsai collection on top of that. :weary: Congrats though! Being a parent is awesome and you’re clearly a person with dedication.

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