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Remove gravel from top tier of front garden?


I've just moved to a new house and the front garden is covered in gravel on the ground and on the raised bed (see pic from before I started tidying it up).

I bought a few plants at the weekend and, upon digging to plant them in, found that the soil is very compacted.

Do you think I could remove the gravel and membrane and just have lots of plants?

Do you think this would help to aerate the soil and make it less dense (as long as I use planks to walk on when I'm working up there)?

I think I would rather have to weed more and have nicer soil then the other way around.....

Any advice? :)



  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 4,113
    edited April 2021
    I certainly would lift the membrane. It is a total waste of time. As for the gravel, if the soil is compacted then just fork it over adding the gravel to it. If the soil has been covered for any length of time it may well be short on humus, so it might be worth getting hold of some compost/well rotted manure and digging that in at the same time.
  • TheGreenManTheGreenMan Posts: 1,848
    Fab.  Thank you.  I ordered some composted fine bark; would that work?
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,238
    Composted fine bark is lovely stuff! It will not add much in the way of nutrients but it will improve soil structure - which is more important probably. Yes just dig the gravel into the soil too, you can plant lovers of well drained soil.

    You're definitely doing the right thing improving the soil and planting it up.
  • TheGreenManTheGreenMan Posts: 1,848
    Thanks @Loxley I shall attempt it on Sunday.  I imagine it will take me a while as I'll need to work around some of the plants that are there and have survived the winter.

    There appeared to have been two small trees/shrubs that have been felled but I think the roots will still be under there.  Lots of fun to be had!
  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 4,113
    Fine bark is okj just add some Chicken pellets when you are ready to plant.
    Hope the tree stumps are easier than the thing I have just been dealing with. Hammer, chisel, sharp saw, 6 foot long wrecking bar just to dig a 12 inches by 12 inches by 12 inches hole to plant a shrub.
  • TheGreenManTheGreenMan Posts: 1,848
    I came across some last weekend when I was assessing the plot.  Some of them were very long and needed a saw to remove them.  I'm gonna have a fun weekend!
  • scooty883scooty883 Posts: 34
    A few strategically placed slabs/stones would save the planks and be hidden amongst the planting? Personally makes me feel more sure footed when working on the bed,never feel balanced properly on planks
  • TheGreenManTheGreenMan Posts: 1,848
    @scooty883 How spooky!! I’ve JUST said to my OH (while sitting here looking out in the garden) “Ah! I could get some steppy stone type things to walk on for watering and weeding etc”! 

  • AaronBilAaronBil Posts: 100
    edited April 2021
    I had this type of setup in my front garden. Personally I’d remove a fair amount of that gravel as well as the weed suppressant before adding soil improvements and then mulch with your bark.
  • TheGreenManTheGreenMan Posts: 1,848
    Thanks @Aaron 583 I intend to remove most of the gravel and the membrane. I’ve set aside some of Saturday and all of Sunday to tackle it. 
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