Raised beds with Clay soil

Hello, 1st postimage

We moved to our house late last summer so only got to move our pot plants to our new garden, I want to get started on the garden early in the spring and I am aiming for a green tropical look with lots of Bamboo and other tropical plants. Our new garden has raised beds which have never had any plants in just very clay soil a weed barrier and then bark, I planted a few plants last year and they seem to be ok, however these where only cheap plants, I want to transfer some of my bamboo and other plants to these borders, how best should I go about this please?



  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener LeicsPosts: 6,356

    In order to improve the structure of clay soil, you can add organic matter like compost and grit/sharp sand, but it is a lot of hard work.  Clay soil is naturally very fertile so no need to add fertiliser.  One problem with weed membranes is that while they do stop weeds growing they also prevent the normal process of worms taking down leaves, and other organic matter which collects on the surface, into the soil.  Personally, I'd remove the barrier and put a few inches of compost on top of the soil as a surface mulch.  Over time this will become incorporated into soil by worms and as you plant things.  As long as you replace the surface mulch with more compost after planting, and as it is gradually taken down by worms, it will help to keep weeds at bay.  "Lazy mans" gardening if you like, but a very natural process!

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Cheers Bob, I will remove the weed layer thanks, I think the last owner wanted a maintainence free garden. I will remove the bark and turn the soil over as the clay soil is very compacted.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,043

    Hi Conbrue. Did the last owner move when he realised there was no such thing as a maintenence free garden?



  • As a disabled gardener my family thought it would be good if we moved to a bungalow

    They found one that looked perfect

    On moving in we found the wettest clay garden possible

    So built a raised bed for our veggies

    Still have one problem - once on the remaining lawned area - my wheelchair sunk ito the wet clay, making it impossile to move

    Thinking of concrete and painting it green - lol

    Seriously, has anyone any ideas that could help making it possile to manovre a wheelchair over the lawn


    Many thx for your time

  • The raised beds I think I can handle, but as Smurfing says above my grass is a mess. I am going to start a new topic abiut how best to go about sorting my grass.



  • What about synthetic grass?  I finally gave up on trying to keep mine mowed short enough not to impede my stroller that I paved it Over with a big raised bed in the middle.  I should have done it ages ago!  Now I can garden!

  • I would agree about the synthetic grass, other than that i wonder if it would be possible to grow grass through those tough plastic grids that are often used for gravel? Would be a fair amount of work tho image
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