Preparing New Beds

Straight up, I'm really quite new to gardening, but enjoying my weekend adventures as much as I can.

2 years back I moved into a New Build house, which the builders really kindly decided to help shift my top toil soil miles away from the house. I'm now having to buy it back via my local garden centre. grrrrrrr

I sit here on very heavy, generally wet, clay, so I have spent as much free time as I can digging out about a 3/4 spade deep to remove the clay. This wet winter, the water has hardly moved from the surface, so I feel good change of growing conditions was needed.

I need help from those more in know about reintroducing good soil back into those beds. I was thinking the following:

1) Break up as much of the remain clay at bottom (ie: loosen it up)
2) Throw in some grit and lime to help separate clay layer a bit
3) Good depth of compost with added John Innis (seems more gritty?? )
4) Add some bagged treated top soil.

Am I getting the right idea about giving the plants a chance?



  • CeresCeres Posts: 1,492
    I've experienced a few new builds and know how little top soil you can get in the garden......just enough to keep the turf growing until the builders move off site. You might have to invest in a bulk buy of top soil to get things started then you can gradually improve the soil by adding home produced compost over the years and let the worms do the hard work for you. With clay sub soil you are always going to get a bit too much water in the winter.
  • I can't walk on my lawn was its usually wet unroll summer I have thought t o put land drainage in and buy top soil as its just a lot of clay in the soil it's expensive to have done but hubby is going to try any ideas how to its a triangle shape 

  • Hi Stellaimage we moved into a new build it was previously a lorry repair unit on the edge of  a compound of other units the new lawn looked fine until the winter. we are not on clay but compounded oily dug up tarmac. The  lawn turned into a smelly mossy bog. Hubby decided to dig up the lot and remove as much of the rubbish as possible and put down perforated drainage pipeline (cost a packetimage) it did fix the problem but now years on it is still mossy but not smelly. In hindsight he thinks that putting down gravel drainage under  new turfs would have been more successful. I'm going to do this on the parts that I might want to walk on during the wet season.also I think the garden mole might be using the hollow pipe as a shortcutimage Another of my ideas is making bigger border s and veg raised beds I'm doing this gradually so he doesn't lose too much of his lawn at one timeimage much more fun than walking up and down pushing a mower.



  • I found the best thing to break up the clay was manure, and plenty of it. I left mine over winter and I now have workable soil. I've added compost too which seems to help further. Its not bee cheap, but compared to heavy clods of clay sticking to the spade, the first 6-9 inches is now looking pretty good. Not quite a loam but its certainly not solid clay. Plenty of worms in there too.

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