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Help with gravel

My partner and I have recently bought our first house. The garden is currently made of gravel. I thought it was quite shallow and is in some places, however some of it is much deeper with hardcore underneath. We haven't managed to get the the bottom of the hardcore yet. Should we try and dig it all up or would it be OK to make raised beds / huegel beds on top of the gravel and hardcore? Any advice or thoughts would be much appreciated. Thank you. 


  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,933
    It's fine to put raised beds on gravel, as long as they are fairly deep.  If it's just summer bedding flowers and such, you'd be fine with 8 inches of soil.. where as if you are after shrubs and such, you'll need something deeper.  I would dig out a trench for your sleepers or whatever long term material you plan to build from (concrete blocks are a good option too) a few inches deep then back fill the sides with the gravel.  Just enough so it's not sitting on top and your fresh soil washes out from the bottom if it's not perfectly level in some places.  I wouldn't bother with any fabric under, the soil will settle soon enough and just fill in the places between the stones below- giving roots more space to run in search of water.  It will likely be very well draining, so expect to keep it well watered in summer.  I would probably layer cardboard and such along the bottom on top the gravel to help retain moisture for the first year, and keep the soil in place as you wet it all down initially.  
    Utah, USA.
  • I just recently saw a hint for stopping the soil washing out the bottom--you can put mesh or chicken wire to line the base of the raised bed, and that holds it in place better.
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