Border advice please.

We recently moved into our home, it’s about 10 yrs old and the previous occupants weren’t big gardeners. We are just starting out but have discovered there is only about 5 inch of poor soil before solid ground/rubble.  We have plans for a cottage garden but do not want to build raised beds for the borders (cost reasons) hence what do we do to removed all of the weeds etc and will plants grow in such poor soils. We are wondering if we should simply cover the ground in fabric this year and start afresh next spring. Any thoughts? Grateful for all advices. 


  • edhelkaedhelka GwyneddPosts: 460
    I would dig it out, then dig out at least 10 centimetres of rubble and add some compost to replace the rubble. The question is: is it rubble (loose material, chunks, stones etc.) or a solid material (concrete)? Concrete would be a problem but rubble is relatively easy.
    I would also make it wider (100-150 cm works best for a cottage style border).
    Why do you think it's poor soil? It looks dark and dark is usually good. Anyway, some organic matter (compost, rotted manure) will fix this. Plants will grow. If you want some plants this year, now is a good time to do it.
  • WillDBWillDB Posts: 1,965
    Oh dear I see bamboo spreading in from next door... perhaps a raised bed (with root barrier fabric to the bottom) would actually be worth the expense. 

    In the meantime there's plenty that will grow on shallow soil; check out the montbretia growing happily up at the end 
  • HexagonHexagon Posts: 959
    edited April 2019
    Raised beds can easily be built from free scrap wood, like pallets. Is it the cost of the soil for filling them? The cost of the tools for building it? Or did you mean the cost of labour for getting a professional in to do it? The cost of paint for looking the wood look nice? It's £10 for a tin of garden paint that will do about 5 fence panels.
    40L multi purpose compost from Aldi is £1.99. They also do some bark for the same price, so maybe just cut the edge where you want the border to go and get the bark down. When you can eventually afford some plants the bark should have rotted down in the soil and you'll have a decent medium to plant in.
    Gardening is expensive and I understand your point of view. I want to fill my garden with cuttings from existing plants that I like, but some people on here think that I have £$£$£ falling out of my pockets to just go out and buy new plants. Plants are expensive!
  • tony gtony g Posts: 13
    Thanks for advice all. We have gone all out for raised beds which will include two deeper beds for veg etc. The lawn will be no more! 
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