New home old weeds

Hi there,

I hope to benefit from your experience.
I have just moved house and have a very small front and back garden. The soil is heavy and compacted with clay less that a foot beneath the topsoil, it doesn't look as though any work has been down in the garden for years.

The fron garden is overgrown with bulbs, helebores, valerian and heuchera, but it looks goood in a wild way, the back garden is my biggest problem.  I want to get it looking nice but am finding it such hard work.  Though a young man with a lot of enthusiam (if not much sense) for gardeningI have a back injury that means crouching, reaching and digging become very painful after 10 minutes or so. I find I am most comfortable sitting on a low stool working the ground in front of me.  However, the borders in my garden are completely given over to weeds and grass and the soil is heavily and compacted.  I want to remove the grass and weeds to start almost with a blank slate into which I want to plant rose trees to be the main feature.

I want to encourage birds and bees and butterflies into the garden and have a plan to dedicate a corner to herbs that will attract them and have a culinary use too, but I want to avoid using pesticides and weedkiller. In my attempts to clear the border I am digging and turning the earth in the hope that exposing the roots or turning the tufts of grass upside down will kill them.  I also hope that the rain will soften the clumps of earth enough to break them down.

I am using a garden fork and spade for this work.

Can anyone suggest simpler, easier ways or removing grass and weeds with different tools or other techniques?


  • NeanNean Posts: 2


    I would remove any plants you want to save and then dig the border, turning over the soil so that the spade-fulls are upside down.  This should kill the weeds as they won't get any light.  Turning the soil will also help break it down.  You may need to do this a few times until all the weeds are dead.  Then add as much well composted horse manure into the soil.  Over the coming months this will be taken in by the worms.  When the soil it looking better you can add some plants, with plenty of compost.

    Hope this helps.  That's what I did and it looked better almost immediately.

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