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Front Garden - redesign

Hi, some boarders in my front garden hasn't seen much success , I think the main problem is the heavy clay soil. I am thinking of turning them to raised beds . 
I am fairly new to gardening and would like some advise about raised beds as good or bad idea?


  • K67K67 Posts: 2,507
    Raised beds are good but you will have to buy in soil to fill them, multi purpose compost by itself wont be enough or you could improve what you have by digging in some composted bark and bagged manure.
    Are you choosing the right plants for your conditions as well?
  • K67, Yes I am planning to fill them with multi purpose top soil and add in some well rotten manure. 
    You are right, my plant choices were based on what I like not necessarily right for the soil condition. Which is why I am hoping raised bed will give me more freedom to grow the plant I like. 
  • K67K67 Posts: 2,507
    Just remember its not just the soil, its also sun and wind. I adore acers but my garden is too windy for them.
  • JoeXJoeX Posts: 1,783

    First of all check that you do have heavy clay rather than a lighter clay soil. Adding the same material to the ground may be more effective than a raised bed.

    Secondly, what do you want to grow?  A raised bed allows for artificial soil conditions, but doesn’t change sun, shade, wind or temperature.
  • I agree with adding organic matter and some gravel to your clay. Raised beds are a pain to build and a pain to maintain, and water drains out of them really fast so you’d have to be watering all the time.

    If you are not feeling up to digging organic matter into the clay, you could spread a thick layer on the top and it will work its way in over time. 

    The other thing to do is to choose the right plants. You won’t make them work as seed beds —seeds need more free draining substrate. But you will find that quite a wide variety of plants will thrive there. Many shrubs, once they have got their roots down, will do especially well as they rarely dry out, unlike lighter soils. Perennials can also do well. It depends on the kind of look you think might work there and on your other conditions such as sun, wind and soil pH.
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