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split level garden landscaping

Hi all

I've just purchased a property and I'm considering landscaping the garden, the house and land is all one level and has a 6ft fence around the boundary, I like the idea of different levels in the garden, I can't raise the level due to surrounding properties being on the the same level, so is it possible to lower the level by removing 3 ft of soil and having a retaining wall 2ft in from the fence to retain the neighbouring gardens and prevent my garden filling up with water, I undersrand that the amount of soil to be removed would be pretty vast for a garden but I like a challenge and I've got a big spade and a builders barrowimage...... (lol or maybe I'll get a mini digger) the idea I'm proposing possible and can anyone forsee any other problems besides sewers and cables?..... the end result should in places leave me with what looks like a 3ft high wall with a 6ft fence above it, then other areas of the garden will be left at the original level, so in essence I will be walking down steps into the garden from the house.....sure you get the idea ......Thanks.....any advice would be much appreciate.



  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,544

    This is such a bizarre suggestion I'm having trouble imagining it.

    Without any photos or a plan it's a bit difficult. But in essence I think that you are proposing digging a very, very big pit, assuming you have neighbours's properties on three sides and your own house on the fourth.

    Why on earth would you want to have a garden set in a depression? Do you want to feel overlooked? Do you like shade? Are steps, slopes and trip hazards exciting prospects for you to think of in the dark? Do you yearn for waterlogging problems in winter?

    Taking off the topsoil will expose the unproductive subsoil so, in order to form your lower layer, you will have to dig extra deep in order to allow yourself the depth needed to replace the top soil.

    I find the whole thing bewildering.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • Steve 309Steve 309 Posts: 2,753

    Hello, VW, and welcome to the forum.  You'll find us all very helpful and understanding here, and we have an awful lot of experience between us (and a lot of awful experiences!).

    However, I have to say I agree with Pansy here - I suspect you ought to have bought a house on a hillside image

    Edit: Maybe you could build a mound in part of the garden, perhaps with the soil you dig out of a pond?

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 79,310

    If you dig below the water table it will fill up with water, whether or not you have a wall around it - it will be like a sump. 

    Tell us more about your garden, show us some photos, and maybe we can come up with some suggestions about giving the  impression of a change of levels and other interesting features it would be possible to create in your garden image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Steve 309Steve 309 Posts: 2,753

    ....that could be a big pond then...

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 32,364

    I think pansyface has said everything I'd have said .

    I'm a fully qualified garden designer and I'd not tackle such a project.

    " back to the drawing board" springs to mind.

  • we're all agreed then!!....not a good idea.....????.....oh well.....I'll think of something else then, thanks for all your advice though. If i get any other bad ideas, I'm sure you'll all set me straight image..cheers

  • Steve 309Steve 309 Posts: 2,753

    If you definitely want different levels, you could go for a largish pond with a low boggy area at one side of it and either a mound, perhaps with a tree or three to emphasise the height.  I'd certainly have some raised beds too, for veg.

  • KornoKorno Posts: 99

    3 foot down the way? that seems pretty mental !

  • Singing GardenerSinging Gardener EssexPosts: 1,195

    I'm not sure how big your garden is but perhaps one way to create different levels would be to put in some raised beds. I did this in a previous garden by building a low brick wall around a part of the garden at the house end. If the garden is largish you could create multiple levels doing this but you'd definitely be better building up rather than digging down (except for a pond or a bog garden maybe).

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 79,310

    I've been thinking of the old Blue Peter Garden that Percy Thrower created - it had a sunken garden with a pond in the middle of it - but I wouldn't do anything like that without putting in some proper drainage. 

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

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