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Levelling Garden


I am levelling my (small) garden. It is going to be lower than it was originally to ensure the level is flush with a new patio. 

The area I am levelling is going to be grass (t previously had patio slabs on it which have now been removed and top soil added).  

2 questions:

1. I have a tree where some of the roots come above the new (lowered) level of the garden. Any idea on what to do here? Ideally we could remove some of them so the grass can go right up to the tree trunk, but is that likley to destabilise it? Another thought we had was building a raised bed around it (although we don't want to do that if we can avoid it). 

2. What do I do about the concrete that the fence posts are in (which are now higher than the grass level). Do I need to chip away at current concrete, dig further down and pour in new concrete at a lower level to ensure it is secure? Any other ideas?

Photos attached - any other suggestions very much welcome (I am a novice!)

Many thanks in advance



  • B3B3 Posts: 27,015
    Is there a particular reason that you need the garden to be level? 
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 12,173
    Welcome to the forum :)

    With regards to the tree, l wouldn't have the grass right up to the trunk , as not only will they be competing for moisture, it will also make it difficult when it comes to mowing (unless you plan on having one of those robotic mowers). 
    I'm not sure how much damage trimming the roots will do to the tree itself, but hopefully someone can advise about that. 
    It might be worth considering some kind of low edging around it, as opposed to a raised bed, as l think burying the trunk in topsoil might not do any good. Something like this.

  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,565
    I would create a low raised bed along the fence, so the tree and the base of the fence are within it at the original level. I guess you would run the bed in line with the stone pad in the corner (the one the barbecue/fire pit is currently sitting on). That tree is a wonderful benefit to your garden, and I would not want to damage its roots any further than you already have done.
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,490
    Hello and welcome 😊 I’m afraid its not a good idea to remove soil and expose the roots from around the base of a tree. They will now be dried out and you are at risk of undermining your beautiful tree. So whatever you decide, I would suggest an emergency intervention..

    Get those chopped roots covered asap to the same level as before. Even if you just pile the soil back on top to the original level and hold it in place temporarily with some hastily cut and nailed together timber. Then give it a really deep water, two or three bucketfuls poured slowly so it is fully absorbed, to help it recover from the exposure. Then top the soil back up again to the original level as the soil will settle once watered.
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • B3B3 Posts: 27,015
    Probably a bit late as I think you might have disposed of the topsoil but I would construct a low retaining wall and keep the soil at the original level. It would only involve a shallow step up and your patio would have a  slight sense of enclosure
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • You could possibly be lining yourself up for problems in the future if you leave the base of the fence and the base of the tree exposed. Both will loosen in time as rain washes away more of the soil and wind rocks them. You will have the fence falling over into your garden and the tree could possibly die.
    I would agree with the suggestion of having a small step-up from the new patio to the original garden level, the step could have been a feature. 
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,490
    A couple of other things to consider..

    If you are concerned about losing future lawn area, it would’ve been better to create a raised bed on the right of the photos, to incorporate the tree and sacrifice the raised bed you are constructing on the left.

    Another reason for that is it doesn’t look as if there is a gravel board at the base of the fence on the left, so the fence is liable to rot from the ground up behind the raised beds, unless you have installed a vertical damp-proof membrane behind the brickwork. 

    Grass has a ‘volume’ in terms of roots and top growth, so you really need the soil level, once compacted and raked over prior to sowing seed/laying turf, slightly below the level of your patio, otherwise the grass will end up being proud of the patio, not flush.
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
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