Raised Bed / Clay Soil and Edging Problem Part 2

2 May 2008
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United Kingdom
I've had some very helpful replies and thank you for those, but I have a new issue now.

I want two borders, one either side of my 50 foot garden. The borders will each be around 27 foot long and curved.

I have BAD clay soil. Terrible waterlogging in wet weather, dry as a bone in heat. My original idea was to dig it all out to 1.5 feet and chuck it, refill with new topsoil. This would bring it to ground level and then I'd Add 12 inches more to create a raised bed. Obviously this would need edging and I didn't want pay out for a wall to be built, I don't like sleepers, bricks, concrete and needed a material that would work with the curves. I thought of log roll- yes, it wont last more than a few yrs but I rent and don't imagine being here for more than a few yrs . I would have gone with the proper full rounde log palisade rather than the half log, (which only has pointed spikes to wedge into the ground at each end of the 1m length- not enough. Full log palisade has spikes on every log)

Trouble is the bloody costs ! For 18m of full log palisade I'd be looking at around £162!!!

So, how about this-

Dig out clay soil to 18 inches as before, fill with new topsoil.Raise it a further 6 inches only instead of 12 and then for edging go to the beach and find big HEAVY boulders/stones for free ! Set these into the ground a good 4 inches with a further 4-6 inches above ground level.Wedge gaps with smaller stones or possiblly a little cement where it can't easily be seen. Boulders would be sturdier and last and work with the curves.

My main concerns with my plans is to provide adequate drainage. Would a raised bed of just 6 inches of new soil/compost etc sat on top of a trench filled in with 18 inches of new soil/compost on top of a layer of shingle do the job ? it surely would be a hell of an improvement to what I'm currently stuck with (3 inch puddles when it rains).

I can't realistically hope to find boulders big enough to support a raised bed a FOOT high - I'd end up with huge stones which would be way too wide and look a bit silly in my garden, which is not a big garden (50 foot long, 16 foot wide)

AND ONE MORE QUESTION- can you STAIN stone with some kind of dye ? I'd like them to be a shade of dark blue.... LOL

thanks for your patience with me........:)
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I have a feeling you have never dug out heavy clay to a depth of 18"

go and dig a sample trench, them come back and tell me how much more you plan to do.
for edging go to the beach and find big HEAVY boulders/stones for free

Free until you get spotted taking them - beaches and shoreline are covered by byelaws making it illegal to remove stones and/or sand, and the fines are hefty !
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Hi John

I have a long existing bed in my garden which I dug out 2 yrs ago so actually I do know how hard it is ! I am changing the shape of that bed though. When i originally dug it I found that I could not get down any further than about 18 inches in some places, before i hit what felt like a brick wall. That's why I mention only going down to 18 inches and then filling it with top soil.

As for beach stones, well there are ways and means . I'm sure I'm not the only one to do it and we have a beach not far away where you can pak your car quite literally a foot away from where the stones begin so on a quiet evening or early morning....
And you can always dump the clay at the beach so you are giving as well as taking :D ;)


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