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Laurels, decking, new garden from scratch!

hvwalshhvwalsh FormbyPosts: 6
Hi, this is my first post as a novice gardener, having moved into a new build with sandy soil and post & rail fencing. I’m looking to plant laurels for privacy hedging as they are quick growers and seem hardy. The outside is soil, some gravel
left over from when the house was built and that’s about it. What is the best way to prepare the soil for planting 40m of 2-3ft rootball laurels?
Also, decking….is it best to get the decking done first then the garden? It will be 7mx3m decking to run from bifold doors. Any advice on laurels, decking or laying new gardens in general very much appreciated. 
Thank you.
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  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,121
    edited 10 January
    Hi @hvwalsh - there's a huge thread re laurels so I'll get the link for you. Ideally, you need a decent sized border prepped with organic matter - manure/compost etc, so that the plants have a good start. Sandy soil isn't the greatest medium, so that will help with moisture content etc. Laurel likes plenty of moisture, and at this time of year there's plenty, but it won't take long for sandy soil to dry out, and as soon as temps rise and you get drier weather, it's important they don't go short. Unless you live in a wet area, they'll need watering into summer at least. A mulch [a layer of organic matter over the surface] is also good after they're planted, and at regular intervals, to suppress weeds [which are competition]  and retain moisture. 

    Decking is fine as long as it's in a sunny aspect.  It becomes lethal in shade when wet. Hard landscaping is always best done first  :)

    Here's the link - it's a very big thread, but gives all the info you'll ever need re laurel
    https://forum.gardenersworld.com/discussion/656523/help-needed-please-with-laurel-hedge-issues/p1
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • hvwalshhvwalsh FormbyPosts: 6
    Fairygirl thank you for your reply and info, much appreciated.
    we live by the sea, ground is fairly wet and garden is south facing. I’m looking at composite decking, keen to avoid anything slippy as I have a bad knee!!
    I’ll have a look around the site for ideas on decking 😊
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,121
    The size of your plot and what you want to do re planting - if anything - will also be factors, but it sounds like you wouldn't have a problem with the aspect and location.

    Many people hate decking, but I had it in a previous garden [south east facing] and I loved it. We didn't really use it in winter anyway [ it was accessed by French doors from our dining room ] but during dry/sunny weather it was a joy to use, and I rarely used the back door to go into the garden. We don't exactly have the perfect climate for it here, but in the right spot it's great.  
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • amancalledgeorgeamancalledgeorge South LondonPosts: 2,302
    If planning from scratch there's always the possibility to find a nicer hedging plant than  the ubiquitous laurel...how about, yew, how about griselinia. The massive leathery leaves are such a turn off  :D
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • hvwalshhvwalsh FormbyPosts: 6
    It’s about the budget and growth speed, laurel seems to tick the right boxes. I appreciate your thoughts though, I’ll give that one you mentioned a Google.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,121
    There's certainly loads of good hedging available. Better to check a hedging supplier rather than just googling. 

    This is a very good example - plenty of choices if you aren't decided  :)
    https://www.hopesgrovenurseries.co.uk/
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • JoeXJoeX Posts: 1,729
    hvwalsh said:
    Hi, this is my first post as a novice gardener, having moved into a new build with sandy soil and post & rail fencing. I’m looking to plant laurels for privacy hedging as they are quick growers and seem hardy. The outside is soil, some gravel
    left over from when the house was built and that’s about it. What is the best way to prepare the soil for planting 40m of 2-3ft rootball laurels?
    Also, decking….is it best to get the decking done first then the garden? It will be 7mx3m decking to run from bifold doors. Any advice on laurels, decking or laying new gardens in general very much appreciated. 
    Thank you.
    Are you planning on gardening, or having an outdoor space with minimal maintenance?
  • Papi JoPapi Jo Brittany, France Posts: 3,448
    edited 23 January
    Hi @hvwalsh,
    I totally agree with @amancalledgeorge. A 40m long hedge consisting only of laurels would be such an eyesore.  :/ I'm afraid budget and fast growth are not the only factors to take into consideration. What about aesthetics? What about diversity? Colours? Flowers? Birds and bees?
    Given your environment, Griselinia littoralis is a good choice, but not 40m of it! I suggest you reconsider your options and opt for a mixed hedge. Something like https://www.hopesgrovenurseries.co.uk/shop/mixed-native/
    If you have a tight budget, then get young plants... and be patient.
    What is the total area of your garden? Could you please post a photo?

    As for decking I recommend composite. We had our old garden stairs and terrace re-decked 4 years ago with grey composite and are quite pleased with it. It is not slippery at all. See photos and video on my garden site here.


    You are invited to a virtual visit of my garden (in English or in French).
  • Hi @hvwalsh, how close are you to the sea? Wind and salt are two things to consider when thinking of what plants to plant and how to design the garden. Depends how close to the water you are and if you're shielded by other buildings or natural elevations, trees, etc. Also, how big is the garden space and what you'd want from it: decorative beauty or spices for the kitchen added or water feature or veggie patch, etc?
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,121
    edited 23 January
    "Also, how big is the garden space and what you'd want from it: decorative beauty or spices for the kitchen added or water feature or veggie patch, etc? "
    I think that's running before you can walk. They've only moved in recently.  :D

    A windbreak in a coastal setting is probably the most important thing. It's quite hard to beat laurel for that. We know you both hate it @amancalledgeorge and @Papi Jo , but it's a case of right plant, right place. I already gave @hvwalsh the link to that hedging nursery to have a look at alternatives if wanted.
    There's plenty of long laurel hedges round here - for a good reason. They filter the wind extremely well, cope brilliantly with the climate, take any amount of abuse and help with noise and pollution. 
    Formal gardens have long hedges of yew, box, hornbeam, beech, or laurel. Do you hate those too?  :/
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


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