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Landscaping soil for garden.

edited 29 June at 12:10PM in Greenfingered MoneySaving
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homeless9homeless9 Forumite
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edited 29 June at 12:10PM in Greenfingered MoneySaving
Hi,

Question is in bold if you want to skip over my story/situation. Thanks..

Story/Situation:
I have just bought a new build home with a garden that is approx 14m x 6.4m. 60% of it is a ditch. The ditch is just soil, mainly clay based, no weeds, flowers, or grass. The rest of the garden, the other 40%, is a flat strip of grass running lengthways above the ditch. The ditch is very steep and the bottom is 6 feet down. I have thought about putting a raised decking above the ditch that you can walk out onto from the grassed area. I have thought about retaining walls and infilling with soil. At the end of the day I don't want to spend lots of money.....

I am thinking about buying a truck load of soil and just tipping it down there and then raking it all out, not to fill in the whole ditch, but to make the slope less steep, likely creating a wavy slope which can then have grass seed sown on top. The aim being to make the garden look better, green instead of brown. Make the garden look bigger and make the slope so that I can mow/cut it, as currently it's too steep to mow if I just laid turf or sowed seeds now. 

What types of soil can I get hold of in the truck load, ~16 tonne to ~20 tonne, that are good for landscaping and creating banks etc? and do you know of any companies I could use? I need a delivery of many tonnes of soil for landscaping. Is top soil ok for what I'd like to do? as I'd be adding the soil to a slope and I'll be creating a slop, but just less slopey. + the depth I'd create with this soil will be about 2 feet.


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  • MovingForwardsMovingForwards Forumite
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    Can you take a photo of your garden so we can see what you have, are trying to work with and can then comment better as I'm sure members could actually come up with some good, budget conscious ideas rather than having to keep referring back to your other posts to see what has already been suggested.
  • edited 29 June at 12:38PM
    DavesnaveDavesnave Forumite
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    edited 29 June at 12:38PM
    I'm not saying anything without a picture. This the 21st century!
    As things stand, people will  turn up and start arguing about whether it's a vital bit of the estate's drainage system, as they did on your other thread. A picture's worth a thousand words. I'm wondering, for example what happens when this ditch meets your boundary.
    And if you show me yours, I'll show you mine, as I'm doing something similar right now.
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  • edited 29 June at 5:36PM
    homeless9homeless9 Forumite
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    edited 29 June at 5:36PM
    Can you take a photo of your garden so we can see what you have, are trying to work with and can then comment better as I'm sure members could actually come up with some good, budget conscious ideas rather than having to keep referring back to your other posts to see what has already been suggested.


    Lines show new height / shape of soil once dumped into the ditch.

    Currently the slope is too steep for a lawn/turf to be put down. By creating a 's' shaped bank it will make it more suitable for a lawn as I could then at least step down onto the stepped / flatter bits to mow if the sloped bits are still too steep to stand on / mow on.

    As far as my quick research goes I have seen a delivery of 20 tons of topsoil is £700, then me raking it around for free and sowing some £30 box of grass seed and bobs your uncle I have fixed this ugly void. Whereas decking would be £1000+ I guess and retaining walls etc would be even more.

    or I could just throw down some wild flower seeds and just let the whole area be a wild meadow for £25.
  • MysteryMeMysteryMe Forumite
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    I'm no expert but I wonder if some hard core with soil on top might create more stability then just a load of top soil?
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  • MovingForwardsMovingForwards Forumite
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    You will need to put something down the bottom to stop your soil vanishing behind the metal fence, if that's what you decide.

    What's the structure that appears in the top right of the photo?
    How much sun / light does that section get?
  • DavesnaveDavesnave Forumite
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    This is where I'm doing something similar below some woodland we've planted. I first of all dump rubble and clay then overlay with better soil. If you just throw soil down, there is a danger it will slump. Building a 'shelf' here on the slope is taking a long time, so the material I place here has time to settle. Altogether, I estimate around 150+ barrow loads of material have gone in so far.
    There will be no need to build a retaining wall, but when the re-profiling is finished, I'll stabilise the slope by planting into it.
    Most of the material I'm using could be obtained free from Freecycle or putting an ad/reading ads on Gumtree. It just happens that I generate quite a lot from work in the garden....7 more barrow-loads today.
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  • homeless9homeless9 Forumite
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    You will need to put something down the bottom to stop your soil vanishing behind the metal fence, if that's what you decide.

    What's the structure that appears in the top right of the photo?
    How much sun / light does that section get?
    I guess I'll need to use something a bit more heavier / compacting than top soil.

    What is there at the moment is clay based soil. I have sculpted out a ledge a couple of feet from the top of the ditch as you can see in the photo. That was not there a few days ago.

    I think the thing you are talking about is an oak tree branch. There is a woodland the other side of the fence. Amount of sunlight is ok, but not great, though the sun does rise and set the house side of the garden, if that makes sense. The woodland only blocks sunlight in late evening.

    For now I think I'll just see what I can do my sculpting the ditch some more, making another step/ledge lower down. Then decide if I want to buy a truck load of soil..... or just sow some wild flowers.

    Would be good to know the best stuff to buy to landscape this out so I can assess costs.

    I have a list so far....

    - Hardcore has been mentioned.
    - Clay rubble (try gumtree). Though I think I am going to need a lot of whatever I buy and I'd need it delivered in a truck.....
    Are there people out there that are offloading this sort of stuff with truck delivery?


  • Spider_In_The_BathSpider_In_The_Bath Forumite
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    I have not ordered soil, but we have had gravel delivered by dumper truck (10 tonnes) when I created our large garden from scratch and I needed gravel for paths in the back garden.

    One thing to consider.  Where will the dumper truck park to deliver their load?  Our driveway has a heavy duty hardcore base that could take the weight of the truck and load with enough space (rural property) for the truck to reverse in the drop its load on the driveway.  20 tonnes of soil is going to be one large lump of soil and you cannot have it delivered on the road.
  • Spider_In_The_BathSpider_In_The_Bath Forumite
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    Instead of thinking about the garden in terms of it starting at the flat level near the house and falling away down to the metal paling fence.  Thing about it running from the back of the photo to the front of the photo (I hope this makes sense).

    Design some steps to start at the flat part near the house.  The first two, or three steps should step directly down towards the metal fence.  Then turn the steps to the right by 90 degrees and have the rest of the steps/ path running across and down the slope.  So after the 90 degree turn the path / steps would start at the top left of the photo and end up at the bottom right of the photo.

    Create some retaining borders on each side of the path / steps to keep the soil back and to make areas of planting and then add a bench too.

    I struggled to find a photo, but this one has a path near the front of the photo sort of showing what I mean, but on a much large scale.






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