soil ,so hard

now the front garden is finished ,we started doing the back garden, but wow the ground is brick hardimage we tryed soaking and soaking it but no luck ,front garden wasnt like that ,need say house is a new build so garden blank canvas apart from grass and want dig borders ,houses were knocked down before ours was built so might be reason why its so hard ,my brother whos fab at digging gardens couldnt even do it eirther ,any help and ideas would be great




  • Steve 309Steve 309 Posts: 2,753

    ...and I fear that you might find little or no topsoil over a pile of builders' rubble image

    Raised beds?

  • can you use a fork on it? get some holes in the soil going? my dad told me to do this on my garden,id just moved in and it was a mess, he said it was what they call pan,i think,solid soil. I put the fork in as far as it would go,and did this all over. but maybe yours is too far gone?


  • amberspyamberspy Posts: 182

    havent tried with a fork will need try that or other wise will try the axe to try break it up ,not looking forward to itimage

  • Try a mattock -  I had very compacted soil after major renovations at my house and this was great - if hard work - at getting through the hard soil and breaking it up enough to then fork over..... the down pour of rain 2 days later helped even more!


  • amberspyamberspy Posts: 182

    great i try that 

    would i be better with mini mattock and or full size one ,was thinking full size might be too heavy for me

  • I have a full sized one - the weight of it helps it to go into the hard soil. My other half says I don't use it properly but I don't have the strength (or the nerve!) to do a full swing.  I use it from shoulder level.and crouch down a bit - sounds weird (and a bit back breaking) but works.  I literally 'chipped' away at the hard soil taking only 1-2 cm at a time and I did the job in small chunks - 5 mins of hard activity then off to do something gentler!  It depends upon how strong you feel image  Hope that helps.

  • amberspyamberspy Posts: 182

    cheers sharon ,yeah im like you i crouch over and sit on my kneesimage,that how i did the front garden border ,taking turf off with sharp garden sort of knife tool bit by bit then digged soil over ,wish the back was that easy ,oh the joys .....image

  • madpenguinmadpenguin Isle of WightPosts: 1,782

    The one thing you need with a garden like yours is plenty of time!

    My back garden was so hard and compacted (new build house) that I could not dig more than a small section at a time,some bits were paved over in the end.

    Some parts were so hard I resorted to using a lump hammer and chisel.

    The soil which is heavy clay still gets very hard in the summer and gets large cracks.Some plants have thrived and others not survived,all trial and error.

    I did dig in a lot of compost over the years and that has helped.

    Good luck with your garden!

    This is the garden when we moved in:-


     and this is how it looks 12 years later:-




    “Every day is ordinary, until it isn't.” - Bernard Cornwell-Death of Kings
  • Fabulous work madpenguin - I too have resorted to hammer and chisel on occasions!

    Good luck amberspy.... image

  • Steve 309Steve 309 Posts: 2,753

    If it's real soil you're hammering into, maybe you could spread a thick layer of well-rotted manure or compost on top and let the worms do the work for you?  Try it in a small area?  I doubt if they'd make much impression on concrete though!

    That looks like a wonderful transformation, madpenguin.  (I used to know a lad in my Scout troop called Penguin...)

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