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Good Idea or Bad Idea?

Posted by jmckenzie79 Oklahoma zone 7 (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 3, 14 at 16:25

Hi all,
Newcomer here, and after years of fighting with bad soil in the flower bed in front of our house I've come up with and idea I'm not sure about. Every year we try to plant different flowers in the bed in front of our house only to end up with everything dead, except the weeds and the silver lace vines. We've had tremendous success with potted plants in the same areas of the garden so long as they're in potting soil. So the idea we've had is to dig up the entire bed, which is about 165 sq feet. I want to dig down about 5-6 inches, put about a 1" layer of sand and fill the rest up with gravel. Keeping the potted plants either above ground, or possibly concealed in the gravel to provide the illusion of plants in the ground.

So the questions are:
Is this a good idea or bad idea?

Is there any risks of removing 6 inches of dirt from against the house?

What's the best way to quickly excavate the area, I don't want this project to take up more than a day or two?

Are there any other suggestions in changing out a conventional flower bed for a rock garden flower bed?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Good Idea or Bad Idea?

Well you hit on a key item. The plants in the pot with potting soil do better than being directly in your current soil.

So you just need to amend the soil. Generally, that will be just adding compost to your yard soil, but you can do more different things also, such as measuring your soil PH conditions, etc

For adding the compost part, it is sometimes recommended that you can just add it on top, but in your case, since you don't have other plant growth there that you want to keep and you are interested to do some digging anyway, you can till it into the top 3-4" of your soil (a little deeper also if you want to plant plants with deeper roots)

However, I'd suggest to do that this year and go with some casual plants that you don't mind if they die. If this works and your soil can sustain them, then next year, you can try other more permanent plants or perennials.

The other part is to ask if this area is really right up against your house, is it getting any bad water from gutters or lack of sunshine from the house blocking the area?

Rock gardens or xeriscaping is also becoming more popular, especially with the water restrictions that many homeowners are facing. If you're willing to redo the landscape for that, it's a viable possibility also.

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