Forum home Garden design

Shingle/membrane border dilemma

selinafreeman81selinafreeman81 Waveney ValleyPosts: 5
Hello all! <waves> Newbie here.
I moved into a lovely house last year, and the previous owners were... interesting in their gardening style. They claimed it was low maintenance, and I'm sure it used to be, but it's been neglected.
At some point they put down some black membrane - not the thick shiny fishpond type - it's the soft, fabric type - and then dumped an unholy amount of pea shingle on top, around the bushes and plants. I'm sure it worked well for a while, but now it looks AWFUL.
The membrane is torn, lifting, may as well not be there given the RAMPANT weeds, everything looks tatty, with no structure or cohesion to the garden planting as a whole. I feel that they planted a few euonymous, a few hebe, etc. but then they've gone leggy and woody with no further input. It's such a hodge-podge of shrubs and perennials, chosen seemingly at random. It looks so messy!

My query is whether I should hire a mini digger, dig out EVERYTHING and start afresh with a blank slate (my preferred option, but probably not my finances' preferred option!), or to - I dunno - dig it all over and try to tart it up gradually? Dig it all out by hand?!
What would YOU do?

«1

Posts

  • LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,976
    Sounds familiar.. How deep is the shingle, could you just work it into the soil? Would be beneficial for certain planting styles. Some could be retained as a mulch. The membrane will have to be removed though, I agree.
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 20,441
    I would dig up and put any plants I wanted to keep into pots or a spare corner. Next step really depends on finances and how much time and strength you have. The easiest would be to hire a digger and start again. That's what they do on TV garden makeovers!
    The cheapest would be for you to dig it all up, make several trips to the tip and start again.

    You haven't said how big your garden is, that would make a big difference  to price and hard work. Any chance of a photo?
    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,255
    edited May 2021
    It'll also be easier to suggest options if we know roughly whereabouts you are, what the soil is like, is it sheltered etc? and most importantly, what sort of garden you would like to have eventually etc  :)

    Photos would be good ... we love a project  :D

    Oh, and welcome to the forum  :)
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • selinafreeman81selinafreeman81 Waveney ValleyPosts: 5
    Loxley said:
    Sounds familiar.. How deep is the shingle, could you just work it into the soil? Would be beneficial for certain planting styles. Some could be retained as a mulch. The membrane will have to be removed though, I agree.
    The shingle is surprisingly deep, but not insanely so. With a bit of elbow grease I'm sure I could work it in. Ugh, what a day's work tho.
    The problem with removing the membrane is that a) it's become fragile and just rips in small pieces, and b) when I can get a large section to start lifting, it's pinned down by the existing planting. It will be a massive pain to meticulously remove it all - that's why I was hoping someone might have a brainwave on what else I could do!
    I suspect I just need to accept it will just be annoying nit-picking kind of work.
  • selinafreeman81selinafreeman81 Waveney ValleyPosts: 5
    edited May 2021
    Any chance of a photo?
    I'll get on it, hang on!
    It'll also be easier to suggest options if we know roughly whereabouts you are, what the soil is like, is it sheltered etc? and most importantly, what sort of garden you would like to have eventually etc  :)

    Photos would be good ... we love a project  :D

    Oh, and welcome to the forum  :)
    Nice user name! "ERANU!"
    I appear to be just down the road from you - big up the Waveney massive (or something. I'm not down with the cool kids any more!)

    The soil here is decent, I think... all I can say is that it's not plasticine, and it's not like sand. TBH I don't really know what to look for in order to judge.
    The garden is south (west) facing - so sunrise lights up the back right corner, sunset lights up the back left corner by the house.
    Not a whole lot of shelter apart from the standard fence panels.
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 7,706
    Have a look here https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=179 . It's really useful to know what type of soil you have when it comes to choosing plants, so you avoid wasting money on things that aren't going to thrive.
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 7,706
    And here http://www.landis.org.uk/soilscapes/# Put in your postcode and it'll tell you what the general soil type is, but it won't account for things like new builds that might just have a thin layer of topsoil brought in from somewhere else.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,255
    Yay!  Hi neighbour ... glad you approve of my name ... I know roughly where you are then ... hopefully quite good loamy soil but possibly a bit of clay? 

    I spent most of my life just south of you in the Blyth Valley and my family are in Suffolk so I probably pass you fairly often 😆 
    I’m between the UEA and the marshes now. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 20,441
    OH's cottage isn't far from the River Waveney. The soil there is very easy to work with.
    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • selinafreeman81selinafreeman81 Waveney ValleyPosts: 5
    Yay!  Hi neighbour ... glad you approve of my name ... I know roughly where you are then ... hopefully quite good loamy soil but possibly a bit of clay? 

    I spent most of my life just south of you in the Blyth Valley and my family are in Suffolk so I probably pass you fairly often 😆 
    I’m between the UEA and the marshes now. 
    I grew up near Stowmarket (meh, someone's got to, right?!), and both sets of parents aren't too far away from me now. One in Halesworth, one in Diss.
    22 years ago, as I left Anglia to go to uni, I never would have thought I'd end up back here!
Sign In or Register to comment.