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Laying a patio with plants in

Can anyone help me fairly urgently? Landscapers have laid a membrane and some sand down for a patio. I want to plant an olive and a few other shrubs in planting holes. Should I cut the membrane and do the planting now before stones laid or wait and ask them to leave me big enough holes to plant into? They aren’t gardeners and I don’t wNt them doing the planting. 

Any advice appreciated. 


  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 23,069
    Years ago when our patio was laid I spoke to the builders and drew out a plan of where I wanted beds. You really should be there when they are doing it if you can to prevent mistakes. I planted when the work was finished.
    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,348
    I would say you're asking for trouble if you plant before the landscaping is done.
    Apart from the obvious problems, the ground will be very compacted, so you need to have a basic plan drawn out, with clearly marked areas where you want to have beds.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,863
    I would want to prepare the planting area thoroughly before the stones are laid … just digging a hole and planting will risk creating a sump which will never drain properly. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • I can clearly draw out but harder to dig and prep the soil then. Also I’ve said will need holes much larger than plants but have had a strange look back. Wondering if I stick to pots but that gives it a different feel. I simply cannot be there as they do it. I guess it’s safer tho. Thanks for comments snd advice. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,348
    I see in your post they've already put down membrane and sand. If you use some string/pegs, or lengths of wood, or anything similar to mark out the areas you want left clear, that will be the best solution, but I'd agree - you need to be there to make sure they don't ignore that. 
    If you wait until the paving is laid, you'll have to then remove it to make beds, which isn't ideal in any way. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 22,682

    Buy the biggest you can find, enormous ones, with holes in the bottom, raise them on pot feet to give good drainage and keep them well watered from day one.

    By the time they have grown too big for their pots they will either be in the wrong place anyway, boring you to death, or you will have moved house. 😊
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze Posts: 5,261
    Do you live in the South of the UK? I am not sure it is wise to plant an Olive in the ground at this time of year. Last winter November was very wet December very cold.
    Cordylines, Hebes, Phormiums and Ceonothus were among may of the more tender plants that suffered. 
    Looking forward to my new garden with clay soil here in South Notts.

    Gardening is so exciting I wet my plants. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,348
    Yes - don't plant now. Once the beds are created, concentrate on improving the soil in them. Lots of organic matter added, after breaking up the soil as already said. 

    What you plant will always depend on your location and climate, as well as the type of soil.   There will always be failures/losses in gardening, so it's always worth doing the research as to what suits your conditions, especially if you intend buying mature specimens of anything. Olives certainly fall into that category. 
    Planting anything too risky at this time of year is always a gamble.  Anything reliably tough and 100% hardy, that's already a good size and acclimatised, would be ok if the ground isn't frozen, but otherwise planting is best left until spring. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • coccinellacoccinella Posts: 1,177
    I am with Pansy on this one. 

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 23,069
    I had pots as well as the beds I mentioned above because I forgot beds near the house for climbing roses, then I wanted pots of annuals. That was in SW France and they needed a lot of watering in the summer. Easier with plants in the ground. My daughter has an olive tree in a big pot which I gave her years ago. It's in a sheltered place but she has had some cold winters and it survived, maybe drainage is the answer for an olive.
    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
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