It is an essential step to incorporate soil preparation into your landscaping approach when establishing new gardens.  Knowing your soil type and taking the necessary steps to enhance it could be the difference between your plants thriving and failing.  Ensure you check the pH of your soil once you are ready to plant and make any adjustments required.  Imported soils from Landscaping Supplies should be checked for suitable pH which should be around 6.5.


Correcting your soil type with good soil preparation.



Heavy Soil - ClayThe dense, heavy structure of clay soil is very slow to drain when soaked with heavy rain and dries hard and solid like concrete due to its sticky tiny particles.  Prepare for planting with the application of gypsum, a mineral powder, spread liberally over the soil.  To help the process dig the product in & consider adding some sand & or compost to help keep the soil open. The gypsum acts to break clay up into lumps, over a longer time, aerating soil and allowing plant roots to grow and uptake nutrients.  Mulch after planting to continue to aerate the soil by encouraging worm populations whilst providing shade for the soil, reducing competing weeds.


If your gardens are located on heavy clay, rocky shale or sandstone, raised garden beds are the answer.  Build garden beds with treated pine sleepers, sandstone blocks, concrete sleepers or if your in a hurry to get planting, just dig an edge to separate the lawn.  Add new soil, purchased from a good landscape supplier, or layer composted manures, sand and home made compost before allowing the beds to settle with an application directly to the heavy soil before you start.  This technique of horticulture is used to create an ideal environment for plant growth.  Mulch with a non acidic mulch after planting to provide an even soil temperature, shade against weeds, slow released nutrients and added water holding capacity.



Sandy Soil

Have larger particles and so are loose in structure, aerated and well drained, though this means they don’t hold water or nutrients well.  Before planting, dig in organic matter such as compost and composted manures, to increase water holding capacity, and apply slow release plant nutrients over the growing season.  Mulch after planting to continue to add nutrients and water holding capacity to sandy soils.  Mulching regularly will be the key to supporting your sandy soils and will allow you to grow many species that you would otherwise not be able to enjoy.



Loam Soil


Congratulations!  Loam soils are the best and will save you time in soil preparation, allowing you to plant out garden beds quickly.  The mix of clay, humus and sand means the composition of the soil structure is looser allowing for good aeration, growing root space as well as water penetration and nutrient holding capacity.  After planting, mulch for all the good reasons mentioned above.