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Level Garden with Hard Core

Hi,

I’m completely new to gardening but have recently moved to a new place with a small wrap around L shaped front garden. I’m keen to get involved and figure out how to create a nice space.

The first problem I have is the sunny south facing side of the garden is sloped away from the flat so this area is tricky to make use of. Ideally it would be somewhere to sit.

I’ve contacted some landscaping companies and the suggestion is to level the area by using some sleepers to create a retaining wall. I think I’m happy enough with the plan for this and the sleepers are down by the hedge so the “wall” side won’t be too visible. One thing they mentioned that I’m less sure about is using hard core as the base layer, then top soil and finally the turf. The reason given for this was the hardcore will improve drainage as opposed to soil which will tightly compact? Having done a quick google and finding out that hardcore seems mostly to be used to create a surface for patios and driveways would this make having borders, flowers, shrubs, trees etc. more difficult? Is there a minimum amount of soil that should be above the hardcore? We’ve had some very rainy days in Scotland over the last few weeks so I’m not sure if the drainage looked worse than it is but I’m glad the landscapers are thinking about it. :)

Thanks!

Posts

  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 21,192
    It depends on the depth of the deepest and shallowest parts of the bed. And on what you envisage growing in it. Trees and large shrubs send their roots down a lot lower than annuals.

    The basic concept of using hardcore is a good one though, I’d say. Most gardens only have a few inches of real top soil, the rest is subsoil and can vary from clay to sand.

    Top soil is also an extremely expensive way to fill up a space. I have just bought one cubic metre of topsoil, beautiful stuff, and it was £94. It has covered an area 5m x 5m to a depth of about 4cms.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,991
    As @pansyface says- it depends on the overall depths you're talking about, and how you use each section.
    Most plants don't need a huge depth of soil, and grass certainly doesn't, what they need is good drainage lower down to mitigate our rainfall.
    If you're planning to have planted areas, in addition to the grass, they will also help by taking up excess moisture, so even a soggy looking site just now can be very different once there's planting in it.
    Shrubs and trees in particular, will make a big difference, and the addition of organic matter on a regular basis will also help, once you have the plants in.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


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