My project & rocky soil

Discussion in 'Garden Design' started by Anonymous, Jun 8, 2005.

  1. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Good Morning,

    My problem is i am hoping to plant some grass and grow a good looking even lawn but previously the soil had rock cemented over it and over the years and after removing the cemented rock many small rocks have been mixed into the soil it also contain many pieces of small plastic, glass and metal. What is the quickest way to get rid of this? They aren't big rocks that you can pick up in handfulls, they are mainly small and mixed in with the earth, LOTS of rocks. Does it realy matter as long as i get rid of most of it? any ideas?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated, more details below...




    18yrs old, first attempt at gardening, trying to turn a garden that looks more like a forest/rubbish dump into a good looking garden.

    I am a very new young gardener with a massive job on my hands. My great aunt's garder has been left un-touched for about 4 years now apart from a quick clear out about a year and a half ago, just flattening the weeds. On return about a week ago i found weeds with gigantic roots, average height of the weeds were about 6ft and the garden looked more like a forest. I managed to flatten most of it in about an hour or 2 although the 'tree-looking' weeds took longer, still digging a few i left in. Have now diverted my attention to lifting up all the rock slates as i feel it will be easier to just work my way through the whole lawn with these out the way and have managed to lift all the rocks up. The garden is about 20x5 meters. I have also just used 3 sachets of weedol2 weedkiller on the soil area (14x5) which is atleast 4x the amount i was supposed to as it just seemed to pour out too fast, next time ill use a lower concentration.
    Anyway the plan is to turn this garden/forest into something that i can relax in. I am hoping to lay lawn on the top level soil (14x5 area), build a shed from scratch, build a rockery, cement new brick for the few steps, cement a wall on the lower ground to section off a small area about (.5x6) in which to grow veg or anything else i decide to and section off an area on the top lawn (.5x14) so i have a specific area to grow mainly flowers. Hmm what else. Also a seating area made of the rocks i take up about .5m out from the corner of the wall. Also thinking of installing a water feature in the middle, although I may have to settle for the bird bath i allready have. I am also hoping to install or build a barbeque and 4 hooks at the top of the garden tied to trees above on which i can suspend a waterproof sheet when needed.

    So anyway it sounds massive but it's mostly for fun and im enjoying it. I mainly used a metal stick to demolish most of the weeds but am obviously now digging them up. I am 18years old and this is my first attempt at any real gardening.

    What i am thinking is i will keep people on forums upto date on my progress (I have pictures if you wish to see) and if anyone cares or can be bothered to read it maybe they can give me tips along the way.

    Anyway next steps are ripping up the rest of the cemented rocks, digging up any rubbish and weeds in the lawn and trying to lay some grass if i haven't contaminated the lawn with way too much weedkiller. With regards to laying the grass, once the soil is as clean as i can get it i am going to simply rake it, spread to the seeds (left to right, top to bottom) and rake it again and cross my fingers, any ideas on anything would be great.

    Thanks again,

    Oh, I am also painting an old bench, rigging up a washing line to my room on the 1st floor and possibly building a table.
     
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  3. eileen

    eileen Resident Taxonomist Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    GOSH!!!!! :eek: I'm tired out just reading what you've got to do in your garden. :D

    OK where to start. Well..... here's what I did when we started off this garden. First of all there is no way you can put down grass at the moment not with all that weedkiller in the ground so let's forget about the grass for the time being. Btw does it say on the pack how long the weedkiller is active by any chance?
    While you are waiting for all the weeds to die and the weedkiller to become inactive roughly plan out your garden - you know - where to put the whisky still - where to have a LARGE flatscreen telly, plenty of seating for all your mates to loll around on after they've had too much to drink etc. ;) ;) :D :D
    Next tackle all the hard lanscaping jobs. Please do only one at a time though or you'll just become disillusioned and frustrrated with lots of half done tasks staring back at you every time you go outdoors. Once you have all the structures built into your garden it will be easer to see exactly where you want to put your plants and grass. They will have to be the very last things to put into your new garden - you'd only flatten them anyway while doing all the other heavier jobs.

    Ok let's say everything is now ready for your lawn to be laid. Nip off to your local B&Q or wherever and get yourself some bags of of topsoil - put about 2-3" of it down on top of all your remaining stones. Nip off again and pick up some rolls of turf and lay this on top of your newly laid (and raked level) soil. This will give you an 'instant' lawn but will also ensure that your grass is well rooted from the very beginning. Now all you have to do is water it well for the next few weeks!!! :) You can make a third trip to that garden centre now and pick some yummy, wonderful plants to create, height, shade, ground cover, colour - whatever you fancy!!!! 8)

    Lastly and THE most important step - sit down with a large (preferably alcoholic) drink and loads of friends (essential as you want to bore them rigid with EVERY little detail of what you've done) in your new and absolutely gorgeous garden and enjoy the benefits of all that slaving away and the cuts, bruises and backache!!! SIGH, now wasn't it all worthwhile???? :p
     
  4. Frank

    Frank GardenStew Founder Staff Member Administrator

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    :eek: Wow impressive stuff mbwest and Eileen! Absolutely great reading for a beginner.

    A BIG welcome to the GardenStew forums mbwest :smt039 . Maybe you can tell us a bit more about yourself here http://www.gardenstew.com/viewtopic.php?t=3

    This would be a great idea and would help a lot of people is a similar situation. A step by step process (like a mini-blog I suppose) with pictures would be a very interesting and exciting prospect. We would definitely encourage you to do that on these forums.

    Welcome again!!!

    :smt026
     
  5. eileen

    eileen Resident Taxonomist Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    Oh yes please!!! Piccies would be wonderful!!! :D
     



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  6. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Ok, pics are on their way i'll have to get themoff my sisters digital camera.

    Eileen, thankyou very much for your advice.

    Only one problem - money.
    I allready have the grass seeds and a few pounds worth should fill the lawn, roll up lawn is too expensive isn't it? It also seems like cheating, i'd like to grow it myself, maybe i can just rake the seeds into that top soil?
    But what about all the little critters eating it?

    Also i agree totally about laying the grass last but that is the only thing i was going to do in the garden till i got out there, also the other part eg. shed building and rockery etc. may take me a while so i'd just like to get the grass down then atleast that way my aunt will have a decent looking lawn even if the shed and other jobs do take me months and i can always plant some extra seeds later, cant i?
    The lawn will also be used for just walking round on and hopefully putting up some deckchairs and wiring up some music to relax to, so i'd like a nice lawn but an untouched pristine lawn will be almost impossible.
     
  7. eileen

    eileen Resident Taxonomist Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    Lawn seed is fine Murray if you get even distribution (and the birds don't eat it) when sowing it otherwise it just looks patchy.
    Tip: mix your grass seed in a bag of fine sand when sowing and you get a better distribution.
    Mix in some hardy grass seed (if the seed you already have is fine lawn seed) rye grass is good. :) This will still give you a good, green lawn but it will withstand more wear and tear. After your seed is sown you must remember just one other thing water, water, water, each day and every day twice a day if really hot). Boring I know but essential. You won't be able to give the grass it's first cut for about six weeks after germination. When you do cut it set the mower slightly higher than normal for the first cut then cut it again two weeks later at a normal level.

    Oh meant to say - turf really isn't expensive - usually around £3 per roll and isn't really cheating - just a faster way of doing things. :)

    Let me know how you get on won't you?
     
  8. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    thanks again,

    I am assuming just normal fine sand.
    Not sure if it is hardy or fine but ill check and mix a bit of the other in if needed.
    When sowing the seeds are they meant to be completely covered by the soil or do they sit on top of it? and if they sit on top wont any little critters e.g. birds just come along and eat it?
    I suppose £3 a roll is ok although i assume i would need atleast a few rolls, anyway ill give it a go with the seeds first.
    Rye Grass? I'll have to look that one up.
    P.S. haven't got a mower but do have a strimmer. I think i will need to purchase one then.

    Still waiting for my sister's digital camera to download and take a few more pics.

    Thanks
     
  9. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Btw does it say on the pack how long the weedkiller is active by any chance? - It is called Weedol2

    "Fast acting weedkiller for use all around the garden (except on lawns). Harmless to soil. Sowing and planting can be done as soon as the liquid has dried. Rainproof in 10 minutes. Packed in measured dose sachets."

    and if my memory is correct it said, inactivated as soon as it touches the soil? - sounded weird to me. Also i did use atleast 4/5 times the appropriate amount. This leads me to my next question, i have 2 apple trees in my garden which produce apples every year which we do eat and those apples are currently about 4cm in diameter, should we avoid these this year? it wont kill my trees will it? :(. The packet did say safe around trees*

    Best time of the day to sow?
     
  10. eileen

    eileen Resident Taxonomist Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    "Fast acting weedkiller for use all around the garden (except on lawns)."

    Obviously the weedkiller kills off grass and as you put so much down I think I'd err on the side of caution and wait a while before sowing your seed. (Maybe a week?)
    You don't need to cover the seed with soil but, in saying that, we have always put down a thin dressing of topsoil over ours to try and deter birds, mice etc. scoffing the seed before it germintes. Remember you're going to need a good layer of seed or it WILL come up patchy.

    The weedkiller shouldn't affect your trees as the roots should be strong enough to withstand it and the fruit will be edable this year.

    Best time to sow - I always get out into the garden as early as possible to do any jobs that need doing so my seed always goes down early in the morning. I don't see why you can't seed the lawn though at any time of day that is suitable to you. It should germinate quickly now that the better weather has finally arrived as long as you keep watering it. Never let it dry out or the seed wil fail.

    There's not a lot you can do about birds etc eating the seed I'm afraid unless you want to net your whole lawn area with fine mesh!!! :( If you have applied a thick enough layer you should be OK.

    A strimmer isn't a good idea for new grass shoots - sorry - maybe you could borrow a mower from someone until you can get round to buying one?

    The sand I mix my grass seed with is fine - I don't know if coarse sand would work as well. I put the seed into a large plastic bag with the sand, give it a good shake to mix it thoroughly and then cut out a small corner in the bottom of the bag and allow the sand/seed to run through.

    Hope this has been of some use to you. Any more queries just ask. :)
     
  11. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Ok, I'll wait a week to sow those seeds!

    "You don't need to cover the seed with soil but, in saying that, we have always put down a thin dressing of topsoil over ours to try and deter birds, mice etc." - I'm assuming this will work and i think i'll try this, topsoil? - Just buy it in bags from B&Q?

    "The weedkiller shouldn't affect your trees as the roots should be strong enough to withstand it and the fruit will be edable this year." - :) - Thankyou!

    "maybe you could borrow a mower from someone until you can get round to buying one?" - Will do. ;)

    Great help, as per usual, thanks again!

    Those pics should be up by the end of the day BUT i don't have any pics of the garden looking like a forest, i didn't take pics until a while after that - pity.
     
  12. Frank

    Frank GardenStew Founder Staff Member Administrator

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    This is such a great topics guys and gals. I'm looking forward to those photos Murray. This should be an interesting transformation (although a slow one - it will be so worth it in the end, believe me).

    Feel free to start topics in the other forums as well Murray if you need any additional info to help you reach your goal :smt020
     
  13. eileen

    eileen Resident Taxonomist Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    You asked about topsoil? Yes you can buy it in bags from B&Q but here's a quick tip on how to pick some up for nowt!!! ;) ;)

    Now you'll need a few bits of kit for this: one hand trowel, one or more carrier bags and a little time.

    Take a little walk until you spot some molehills and pop the soil from them into those carrier bags that you just happen to have in your pocket. It's THE best topsoil for your grass seed and it's FREE!!! :D

    Will look out for your pics in the gallery later. :)
     
  14. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Thanks again for all those tips, i will take them on board. Off out into the garden now for some more hard work and good news:

    The pics were uploaded to this site:

    Bad news: I can't actually see them although it took me 20mins to upload.
    Good news: here are the individual pics but no commentry or structure to them, they are just in order of when i took them:


    Here are some notes to go with those pictures:

    pic3: Just a picture of most of the rubble.

    Pic4: There were three like this at the rear of the garden that had been left un-touched for over 18 months. You can imagine how big the rest of the tree/weed was.

    Pic6: Aerial picture of the garden today (09/06/05 - 15:44). You can see another root that I have dug up in the top right of the picture.
    The branches and leaves have been cleared from the top right of the picture and now I have half of the slabs ripped up from the garden.

    Pic7: Here you can see the soil that was under the paving slabs. To me it looks fairly good from there but a closer inspection would reveal
    a great deal of small rocks, glass and plastic and apparently my great great uncle buried a few animals in there including chickens, dogs
    and cats. I did recently find 2 bones but I'm pretty sure they are from my late dog's dinner - Don't dig too deep.

    Pic8: The bricks you can see at the top of the picture used to be a barbeque and to the right of it you can see one of the many garden
    Tools I managed to break.

    Pic9: What I hope my garden will resemble at the end of all my hard work. The bottom left area will now definitely be a brick wall and I will fill that enclosed area with soil probably for growing veg.
    I know the sketch isn't very technical, it was just so I could keep a picture in my mind of what I am aiming for.

    Sorry about having it all soo split up, i'll try and get it into a proper gallery/website soon.

    Hope you like the pics and find them useful if you have any queries just let me know ;)

    Also remember there are no pics of what it originally looked like, don't be fooled by thinking pic1 was the start ;)
     
  15. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    I just tried that original site again:


    and it appears to work, it just takes a long time to load as there are 4 pictures on it, there is also a link to the 2nd page at the bottom with the other 5 pics on it.

    So maybe go and make yourself a cup of tea and when you come bac maybe it will bo done, although maybe not.

    It appears to take ages on mine if it appears at all and im on 512k broadband.
     
  16. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Oh, i also have two video clips of a tour of the garden which i wil try and upload soon.
     

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