Forum home Garden design

Lumpy, uneven flowerbeds

We moved to our first home in August and inherited a wonderful garden but as everything has died back over winter it has revealed really lumpy, uneven flowerbeds-mostly where I have removed large rocks that were randomly scattered about. Water collects to form quite substantial pools in areas of the beds when we've had heavy rainfall.

My mum says I should dig up the plants, buy a load of topsoil and even it all off, digging in manure and then replanting everything but I am worried this will hurt the plants-do you think this is necessary? Or could I just fill in the areas where the water has been gathering?

Hope you can help-I am completely new to gardening!

Last edited: 17 February 2017 09:06:49



  • Mark56Mark56 Posts: 1,653

    I'm guessing you're dealing with clay by the sounds of things. If there's large pools forming at the surface then you first need to dig down as far as you can and remove whatever is below, as you have stated, it's probably big pieces of stone or builder's rubble, then you can look into adding manure/grit to improve the drainage. How uneven are we talking? If you are going to move them all then do it now, as they are dormant and you can divide clumps (free plants for elsewhere). However, if you had no problems when you moved in then they could be happy. I wouldn't leave it much longer if you are to. Manure and grit will be more helpful to you for drainage than top soil alone. 

    Last edited: 17 February 2017 11:45:15

  • HortusHortus Posts: 43

    Are you not able to just rack the soil to even it out?

    Once your flower beds are full of plants you will not see any uneven soil.

    Personally it wouldn't bother me but if you are a tidy gardener then it may. It will not do the plants any harm as in the wild they do not have neat and tidy soil.

    If there is so much rain collecting it could be a drainage issue but if only in these patches it will soon dry out. If you have clay soil it will hold on to the water much longer than other soil types.


  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 21,720

    I came on earlier to say dig in grit, manure and compost to improve the drainage and the soil, but laptop went on strike! Now Mark has said it. I don't think top soil is necessary unless your soil is very thin.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • Mark56Mark56 Posts: 1,653

    Great minds think a-like and all Busy image

  • Thanks so much everyone-wondered if it was just me being lazy, it seems like a daunting task and I dont have a great track record with keeping plants alive (have already somehow killed rhubarb and clematis since we moved in...) will get stuck in though and try to improve the drainage-the pools are huge! Thanks!

  • Thanks Verdun-generally the water has gone by the next day so hoping a bit of grit and manure will do the trick. Can't show you a pic unfortunately as currently away on hols! Thanks for advice!

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,115

    If the water mainly gathers in the areas where the rocks have been removed, it's most probably because the ground's been compacted by the rocks. If that's the case, just loosen the soil with a fork or hoe. image

    If the soil's generally heavy, you can add compost or well rotted manure to make it more friable, but any bare areas in borders will tend to collect water over winter, especially if there's heavy rainfall. It's only an issue of the water's still lying after a long period of time. That can be attended to when the ground's more suitable for working in - probably in a month or two depending on whereabouts you are.

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Thanks fairygirl, we're in Scotland so could be a wee while yet, still very wintery unfortunately... Thanks!

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,115

    Ah - I am too Elspeth - winter eh?  Although it's been a very easy one this year - in the west anyway.  A serious shortage of wet stuff and snow, even on the hills. Tropical compared to normal  image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
Sign In or Register to comment.