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Garden made of concrete

I bought my first property last year and for the first time I have a garden. I am a complete beginner although both my parents are keen gardeners so I have them to assist me.

I started noting down some ideas for the garden and decided I would find out what type of earth I have. But to my surprise when I moved the little stones covering it and the tiny amount of earth underneath that I found concrete! I was so upset as it has thrown all my plans out the window.

I have 2 patches of real earth, 1 with an ivy tree in which I will be removing. I know I'll have to use raised bedding but I have no idea what you can plant when you're limited on the amount of earth underneath. 

My garden is NE/E facing, 8m at longest point and 7m at widest part but it's not a normal rectangle shape, there's a curve and other points coming in and out. It's an enclosed garden with either a wall or high fence on every side and it's my access to my flat so there's a path from the gate to the door.

Any suggestions on design, plants would help. Should I consider digging up the concrete or is that ridiculously expensive?

If I have raised bedding how deep should it be to ensure the plants have enough for their roots to grow? Style wise I want the planting to be relaxed, not formal. With a variety of heights and colour but something to be there for each season.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated as I have no idea where to start. Thanks


  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,061

    jo, the first  two question are : How much are you prepared to spend, and how much effort are you prepared to put into it?

    The answers to these will determine your options.

  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,530

    What a nasty disappointment for you!  But don't be disheartened, every garden has its problems, and you have a great asset, or rather two, in dear old Mad and Dum.  You're going to need as the saying goes, the courage to change what I can, the serenity to accept what I can't, and the wisdom to know the difference.

    First off, I'd take a hammer and chisel to the con

  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,530

    Sorry, cut meself off in me prime. My garden has a big patch of concrete, in some areas it's thin and yields readily to a hammer, other parts are deep and impenetrable.  I spent£200 on timber and built three raised beds, two on top of concrete, one I managed to break it up.

    What's an ivy tree?  Ivy is a climbing shrub, do you mean you've got a tree with ivy growing on it?  Unless it's dangerous, I wouldn't rush to remove it until you have a clearer idea what's going to be possible, in case you find you can work it into your design.  Taking out trees can bring it's own problems, like how to get the stump out, will it keep sprouting from the base, or send suckers yards away.  Best to consult a tree specialist.

    Forum members will be better able to advise you if you can post a photo or two of your space.  And what use do you want to make of your garden: lounging, entertaining, growing stuff you can eat?  

  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,530

    Sorry, me again.  If it comes to breaking concrete , two words: Beer.  Mates.

  • Hi 

    we had the exact same problem when we moved into our house. Loved the house but the garden which wraps round the house is completely covered in concrete.

    i have built raised beds out of sleepers and used various things as containers. We have a patio area out of york stone And a raised area with my greenhouse. All build straight onto the concrete.

    i have attached a few photos of it a couple of weeks ago when I returned from my holidays ( hence the paddling pools with plants in ?imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage

  • Sorry I should have said , the raised beds are 4 sleepres high so around 24 inches, perfect for me to sit on  while weeding and planting. I mainly grow cottage garden type perennials in them, from roses to delphiniums to lilies. All seem to grow well. I have one bed which I have amix of veg, like squash, peas, beans etc and cut flowers. I also use Wickes buckets to grow a load veg as well ( cost 99p each and last for years) we have old sinks, tin baths, pails, wicker shopping baskets, old suitcases and my partners old work boots with plants growing in. If you can put drainage holes in it you can grow plants ?. 

    Dont despair at your concrete garden, there are endless possibilities for it. 

    Last edited: 24 July 2017 23:08:07

  • Hi me again. This link was on another thread - breeze block garden I think. The chap has created  lovely garden, cheaply, out of breeze blocks .. 

  • bplp49bplp49 Posts: 2

    You don't need a skip to get rid of the concrete you break up as it will help with drainage at the bottom of your raised bed which you shoudn't need to break up to the full size of the bed and maybe learn from my mistake about lining the walls at least from the ground to the first block.

    I didn't and at the moment it's OK, but I'll know better after a wet cold winter.

    As for what to plant ... find a local nursery garden and buy the cheapest annuals and pack them in for your first year for an instant garden.

    Again, what it'll be like at the end of the summer I don't know, I just needed something to look complete quickly to make all the hard work feel worthwhile.

    Good Luck ... if I can do it, anyone can.

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