Forum home Garden design

To level or not to level? Upturned turf or weed membrane?

JoeXJoeX Posts: 1,606
Hi all,

My back garden slopes gently away from the house, not a problem or anything, but as I’ve dug up turf for a display I’m wondering if I should level it, or leave it following the gradient of the garden.  I’m not sure that it matters if I leave it unlevelled, but levelling it could accentuate the slope.


Secondly, I’m using the bed for an arrangement of buxus, cypressus and waterbowls (filling the water bowl is what made me notice the slope), so I’m thinking bare earth, wood chip or stones.  Is upturned turf enough to discourage weeds and grass while the plants establish, or should I go the whole hog and apply a weed membrane?

Cheers, TP.


  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 39,456
    Have you got a pic @Tin pot?
    Would you then need a retaining wall if you do some levelling?
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • JoeXJoeX Posts: 1,606
    Fairygirl said:
    Have you got a pic @Tin pot?
    Would you then need a retaining wall if you do some levelling?
    Hi, no wall, it’s just a gentle slope but I guess I’d need some kind of edging or lip on the down side.

    It would create quite a lot of work for levelling the three other “beds”, I’m not sure what else to call them, that have the natural slope.

    This is the square I dug out the turf Thursday and today.

    Its part of four as below, the back left.  I wouldn’t level the ‘long grass and urn’ squares this year, but I suppose I could do the front right one which won’t have planting.

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 39,456
    Are the beds going to have turf paths between them?If so, you could just level up the areas that the bowls are going on - gravel etc - and disguise the 'gappy' edges with a bit of soil, topped with whatever mulch you're using. The upturned turfs would probably be ok without anything over them apart from the mulch. 

    If the paths are going to be gravel, you'd need edging to define them, and prevent soil just spilling out. Paving would possible be ok. It depends on how you want the overall look too.
    For me, a more structured, formal look needs a defined edge. The interior bed can then be adjusted more easily  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • PerkiPerki Rossendale - LancashirePosts: 2,010
    I think it be easier to level where the bowl is going than leveling the whole dug out area, one end will be dug out deep and the other end stuck up which like you said make it more obvious.

    You are going to have to put a wooden / other border round to keep contents in and grass out. Might be an idea to go with woodchip first in case you change your mind but its up to you, I do think stones would highlight the shrubs and bowl more but both need a membrane, leaving it just soil is asking for weeds to grow in unless you are growing some wildflowers or maybe thyme / other matt forming perennials would look nice.
  • JoeXJoeX Posts: 1,606
    Thanks fairygirl&perki your advice makes sense.

    My main concern right now is to finish the planting, so I’m flushing out anything I need to do first - in this case I’ll continue as is and just level the base of the bowls. 👍

    Thanks for the thoughts on edging, I’ve got time to ponder edging and surface. Edges look worse than they are at this stage from trodden in mud. I’ll go with the flipped turf for now, it won’t be much as the planting will use most of the space anyway.

    As for the paths, I’ll see how they go as turf next year.  My two year old loves running shoes off 🙂 Autumn lawn feed will go down once I’ve finished with these beds.

    Thanks again
Sign In or Register to comment.