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Clay soil

Hi all, we have clay soil which is very sticky when wet and rock hard when dry, we had our back garden done several years ago and they added top soil but I think they didn't add much. I could dig down 4 inches and meet clay, what's the best way to improve the soil as Im finding some plants hard to grow ? The lawn has been ripped up by my labrador and is not growing well due to the clay, it needs an overhaul of the lawn, was thinking of artificial grass because when the dog comes when the ground is wet he brings mud in with him :neutral:


  • purplerallimpurplerallim LincolnshirePosts: 4,633
    The trouble with artificial grass and dogs is it needs washing down when used by dogs thus making everywhere else wetter. Maybe paving an area for the dog to stay on would work. 
    As for the garden only digging down and adding mulch/ compost over time would improve the soil and maybe stop the wetness. 
  • Joy*Joy* Posts: 571
    I wouldn't have artificial grass either. We were going down that path as our garden was just builder's 'topsoil' more like subsoil left on top. Our grass was so badly drained there were large puddles every time it rained. A good friend beat us to it to have fake grass and when we saw how much it cost in both time and money to have layed  we thought again.  We've never had a grassless garden but the blue slate put down where you might have had a lawn is a real success.  The borders have been enriched with a lot of compost and it has been more than worthwhile. Our friend now regrets his decision as he has found that keeping it clean is as much work as mowing, and despite all the preparation it isn't as level as it should be. It even needs weeding as seeds germinate in it.
  • K67K67 Leicestershire Posts: 2,507
    I have a new build clay garden. 2 years ago I opted for artificial grass but did put down a deep hard-core base with a finer binding on top, then a layer of zeolite also marketed as zeostop which absorbs ammonia smells. Then lay grass and brush in more zeolite not sand. Even in hot summer there was no smell. I washed it this year for the first time but it wasn't really necessary. 
    Topdogturf is a helpful website.
    As to the borders it depends on how much work you want to do, in other houses I have dug down areas of clay to a depth of 9 to 12 ins and then refilled with top soil.
    Now at almost 70 that's beyond me so raised beds were the easier option. Plenty if bagged manure as a mulch each autumn improves the soil over time 
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