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Lining a non-raised bed?


We have non-raised bed next to a 6 foot brick wall, behind which (outside our garden) are growing a load of tall shrubs and trees. This combination has meant nothing seems happy to grow in this bed - we think all the large plants outside the garden are taking any moisture from the bed, plus it is in permanent, but not heavy, shade from the wall.

We dug out the soil from this bed down to a depth of about a foot. It was full of roots. I am wondering if it would be a good idea to line the excavated bed with a semi-porous liner before we re-fill it with compost, with the hope of limiting water loss to the established plants outside the garden and allowing us to grow a wider range of plants in the bed.

Has anyone done anything similar and can advise?

Many thanks, Sharon


  • barry islandbarry island Posts: 1,614

    It must have took some digging to get all those roots out so well done on that, when you say a semi porous liner what did you have in mind? Also what sort of compost are you going to fill the bed with because most shop bought composts are too light to retain much water so a good helping of soil and manure would be a better option for a good rich bed.

  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053
    I think it would be easier to work with what you have - dryish shade - and choose plants that are suitable. There is quite a lot that will do well in that situation. Just google plants for dry shade.
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • cornellycornelly Posts: 968

    barry island, is right, proprietary composts don't last long, no body to them, normal soils with manure or garden compost would do a better job, don't believe a liner would achieve very much, I have next doors leylandii hedge as a boundary to one side of our garden, roots come through but doesn't affect our garden.

  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 21,539

    You could try something like this, using the existing soil but just not adding so much water -


    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • Thanks for the responses.

    In terms of a liner, I don't really have anything particular in mind, I was just hoping someone might have done something like this and could advise. I was thinking possibly pond liner with holes pierced in it, like on pansyface's link, but worried that will retain too much water.

    No I wasn't just planning to use compost, I was just trying to be brief - we'll add manure and soil too.

    We did have a Japanese maple and a hydrangea in that bed before we excavated it. They are now waiting in pots until we decide where to put them. I was hoping to put them back in the bed once we re-fill it, so we'd use ericaceous compost if we do that.

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