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Raised Bed Advice Please

Hello All,

I'm new to the site and new to gardening really!

I completely re-designed our garden "space" last year and have created a patio and lawn area which was completed last year.

In addition to this, I have created a raised bed to the border around 400mm deep.

The plan is to populate this with various shrubs, bulbs, climbers etc, all of a hardy nature.

The current task is to fill the raised trench with suitable soil.

I have calculated that I need around 9.6m3 of "soil" & am looking for advice on what best to use/where best to bulk buy.

I had researched that a layer of compost, newspaper, topsoil, compost was a good bet.

Any advice on depth of these layers would be very much appreciated and any advice on how best to buy this amount of soil....then I'll be able to strat on the fun part at last!!!


  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    I'd make it soil, paper, soil, compost, to keep the best of the nutrients in the top layer. If it's only 40cm deep I wouldn't even bother with layers just soil and compost, the paper won't add much.

  • Eric RossEric Ross Posts: 12


    The beds are raised about 600mm from the lawn and penned in with sleepers, I had some topsoil left over from the lawn which I have partially filled them with already, there's about 400mm left.

    I'd heard the paper was good to prevent any existing weeds growing through (the topsoils been there for a few months already)

    I'm happy to go with a mix of the topsoil & compost, what kind of ratio would you recommend?

  • Eric RossEric Ross Posts: 12

    Don't want to put too much compost in there, but also don't want it too "dense" which I think I may have done with the lawn

  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    Weeds germinate whatever you put on the topsoil Eric, I really wouldn't bother it's a waste of effort. You say 9 cubic metres of soil, it must be a long raised bed for that much. Even so a top dressing of good compost is all that's needed, 2 inches at most, that's what most in fact nearly all gardeners use (50mm), will give you a good start. If you want to improve fertility, then wait till you see how anything planted does. You will probably find most things will do well anyway. There's no need to over feed in fact doing so weakens plants. Fill the bed with soil then fork in the top dressing. Water it well and start planting when the weather warms and the soil isn't cold to the touch.

    Feel free to come back to the forum for any advice and no question is daft or lame, everyone will help.

  • BluebaronBluebaron Posts: 226
    I will be making some raised beds up soon. Could I use turf on the bottom or should I let it rot down first.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,935

    You could put turves in the bottom, but put them upside down image

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

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