gardeningnovicenick
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Location: Nottingham

Help - advice on turfing and levelling garden

Hi Everyone,

New to gardening and new to this site and looking for advice.

I'm a gardening novice and have no clue what I'm doing so I am reaching out to you knowledgeable folks for some help and advice.

I have a section of garden that is approx. 115ft by 16 ft, this section of garden has been neglected over the years but I am determined to make it a usable space (see attached pic, sorry about the low res). I am wanting advice as to what I should do in terms of clearing the weeds and levelling it (it is really uneven with the first part much lower than the upper part). I am wondering whether to rotivate it and then turf it? I am not fussed about it being well manicured or landscaped just for it to look presentable and for the kids to be able to play on it.

I would really like to level it, but I can't get a small digger into the garden because it is tiered and there are steps. I would like to turf it and so any advice on that would be great. The section of the garden is weedy and has some rubble in the soil (from the previous owners).

Thanks very much in advance for any help.

Cheers, Nick

garden pic1
garden pic1

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ElizabethB
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Location: Lafayette, LA

Re: Help - advice on turfing and levelling garden

Nick - welcome to the forum. first how about updating your profile? Information about where you live would be very helpful. Not just your USDA zone but your actual location. Judging from the picture you have a major project on your hands. If you are not adverse to chemicals use Round Up on the weeds. Remove any debris - rocks, roots. You will need to bring in a LOT of soil. Sodding would be your best bet. If you seed the necessary watering and any rain will wash the seed and erode the soil. The type of sod depends on your region and what grows best there.

Good luck
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

gardeningnovicenick
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Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2014 1:19 pm
Location: Nottingham

Re: Help - advice on turfing and levelling garden

Hi Elizabeth,

Thanks for the welcome and for replying - very much appreciated.

I was dreading the words "major project", but confess I knew it would be the case. I'm thinking of just turfing it or putting down some astroturf, I feel at a bit of a loss with it. I will take your advice.

Thanks again,

Nick

ps I will update my profile

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ElizabethB
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Location: Lafayette, LA

Re: Help - advice on turfing and levelling garden

Even if you opt for Astro Turf you still need a level surface to lay it o which means bringing in soil. If you decide to go with a synthetic yard go with a high end product. Not the stuff you get at a big box store. I was recently at La Berge du Lac in Lake Charles, La. When you walk out of the hotel to the pool area you see what looks like a beautifully manicured Zoysia lawn. It is artificial turf. You have to look closely to see the seams. Natural turf would be my choice but if you have children and pets artificial turf may work for you. If you have dogs set aside an area of natural turf, fenced on 3 sides, for their poop area.

Good luck
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

PaulF
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Location: Brownville, Ne

Re: Help - advice on turfing and levelling garden

It took me a while to figure out that in England your word garden and my word garden are a bit different. My garden is vegetables or flowers. Your garden and my term "yard" are closer together.

Your space may be a candidate for a two or three level area. It looks like a third of the way down a retaining wall could be installed. The top section level to the top of the wall. Then somewhere near the bottom another step down may be necessary. Lots of work and maybe that is not what you want to do. Kids and dogs may not like the levels.

What is the drop from front to back? Bringing in fill dirt could get very price prohibitive depending on the slope. I have the same sort of area and have put off doing anything for years much to my wife's dismay. Good luck.
Paul F

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Help - advice on turfing and levelling garden

You can get cheap fill dirt by the truck load delivered, pretty inexpensively. It isn't good for very much but raising the level but you can do that. Once you get it close, then get one load of good enriched topsoil and mix in a bit of compost/ manure/ peat moss, etc. The grass only needs a couple inches of good soil.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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ElizabethB
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Re: Help - advice on turfing and levelling garden

I like the idea of terraces. Each section would be level making it easier to sod or seed. I think RBG used terraces in her sloped yard. You may want to send her a PM and get more information.

When I had my landscaping business I terraced a yard for a client. A MAJOR pain in the butt and I was able to bring in a mini back hoe with both a loader attachment for moving soil and a box scraper attachment for leveling and smoothing the terraces. AND I had a work crew.

I would have liked to have created the retaining walls with loose laid stone for a natural look but the client wanted locking block for the retaining walls. The property was steeply sloped on the river. The natural stone would have looked much better in that setting.

No matter what you do you are in for a lot of work. Get friends and family to help. Pan your project for a weekend. Have supplies and tools on hand. Feed your helpers and have beer on hand for the end of the day.

Can't wait to see what you do. Good luck
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

gardeningnovicenick
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Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2014 1:19 pm
Location: Nottingham

Re: Help - advice on turfing and levelling garden

Hey Everyone,

Thanks so much for your advice and suggestions - very kind of you all.

I like the idea of splitting it into sections, this could be the way to go - though the amount of work puts me off a little. The drop in level from the top to the bottom of the garden is about 2/3 feet, so sectioning it seems a good plan and something I hadn't considered. Will give it serious thought!!

As an aside I have a section of garden (not pictured) roughly 12 metres squared which is clay soil. I want to turf it,any suggestions for turfing on clay?

Thanks again,

All the best, Nick

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DDMcKenna
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Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2014 5:10 pm
Location: Florida, USA, just north of Daytona Beach

Re: Help - advice on turfing and levelling garden

gardeningnovicenick wrote:...The drop in level from the top to the bottom of the garden is about 2/3 feet...
I know there may be some illusion in seeing it two-dimensionally in a picture, but I don't understand the above statement and I realize that is only because I'm very limited with my Florida dialect. I am sure it makes perfect sense.

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grrlgeek
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Location: Southern California Desert

Re: Help - advice on turfing and levelling garden

I immediately thought of something like the picture below for the back section of the yard.
Garden-Landscaping-Ideas-100.jpg
Garden-Landscaping-Ideas-100.jpg (65.99 KiB) Viewed 1095 times
Of course, the retaining wall and plantings should be proportionate to the space, but it would reduce the size of the turf area to a lesser incline and make the job to level the turf space more manageable. You would only need to square off the face of the elevated part and put up the retaining wall. Maybe give over 1/3 of the yard to the elevated area. Steps would allow access to a little garden oasis at the back of your yard.

You could create a pathway through the turf, and perhaps even planter beds on the side, that you could step up as elevation increases. That would give you less turf again though, but would allow you to use the incline as part of the design. Also depends on how much you want to keep for a play area.
contemporary-landscape.jpg
contemporary-landscape.jpg (57.34 KiB) Viewed 1095 times
Please do update us, with photos of the finished project!
Zone - USDA 8b / Sunset 11

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