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Advice re soil from raised bed against brick garage wall

Following a chat we had about the use of bamboo in a raised bed at the back of our garden, I've been thinking quite a lot (!) about some comments I had about the landscaper using the wall of the garage as the fourth side for the raised bed. Thank you all for raising this - I am fairly new to this and all the advice I get is much appreciated!

With that bed (see pic 1), the soil is five bricks below the damp course level of the garage. (One of the problems we've got is that the garden is surrounded by neighbours' garages and the damp course levels are all different.) Does this make any difference?

We have another couple of raised beds (e.g. pic 2) where the soil level is 3.5 bricks above the damp course (15-16 inches of soil above the ground). There is drainage in the bed at the sides / back.

I don't want to cause any damage to anyone else's property - I wondered what suggestions any of you nice people (!) had as a way of sorting out this problem? Is it the case that I need to empty the beds and get someone to put in other side at the back made up of sleepers, to leave a gap between the bed and the wall? I've seen various suggestions on various forums - damp course membrane against the wall. Someone else said at the back of the bed put a vertical layer of membrane and then stones between the brick and the membrane as this will prevent water from sitting next to the wall. What does anyone think?

Many thanks in advance for your help -  it's giving me some sleepless nights!


  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen SpainPosts: 3,695
    Hi Susan,

    The usual advice is that soil level should be a minimum of 150mm below any damp proof course, ideally with an air gap between the wall and the raised bed, so yes you really need to correct that in bed 2. If you can’t realistically lower the soil level (because you will have nothing left to plant in!) then yes you need to rebuild that away from the wall. You will get leaves, debris etc. falling in the gap at the back, so ideally make it wide enough so you can get a brush in there to clear it out occasionally - ideal nook for slugs and snails to hide in too!

    For your bamboo bed, no. 1, if the soil is 5 bricks below, that’s not the problem we originally thought. Aesthetically I think it would still look better finished off on the fourth side, though.
  • Thank you so much @Nollie for your great advice. I'd really appreciate your time and help. :)
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen SpainPosts: 3,695
    You’re very welcome Susan, it’s really good of you to consider the neighbours and solve any potential damp problems, many people don’t, plus thanking those of us offering advice, many people don’t do that either!!
  • I think @Nollie has nailed it.

    “Rivers know this ... we will get there in the end.”
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 34,041
    I'd agree - @Nollie has got it completely correct, and I'd also agree that finishing off the ends of those beds will make a difference. It should have been done like that to start with. Your first bed, for example,  should have been built so that it fitted in that space, with sleepers all the way round. 
    It's very worrying that someone is taking money from people with such a cavalier attitude though.  :/
    Does this person have a social media page @Susan1359 ? I'd be tempted to leave a message....

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Thanks for your comment @Fairygirl . No, he doesn't have a social media page, he did have a website but he's taken it down now. We rang him today and waiting for him to get back to us.
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