Making a Shade Garden

I’ve got a slanted corner of me yard that lightly shaded. Over time the top soil has been washed away. What is the best way to build up the soil in order to plant. I’m 75 yrs old so carring heavy bags of compost and top soil would b a big problem for me.
q making a shade garden
  6 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Dec 30, 2017
    Do container gardens instead to make it easier

  • Lisa S. Lisa S. on Dec 30, 2017
    Load up on good spoil. Make a rock border. Plant something to retain the soil - shade loving plants (hosta, packasandra (which someone may share with you - coral bells may also grow, and ferns) . I have similar problems, that is how I solved it. You just cannot grow grass in a lot of shade.

  • Sandra M. Willis Sandra M. Willis on Dec 30, 2017
    Large trees like yours have exposed roots. If you cover them with soil you may kill your tree. Use mulch instead and put some nice pots of ferns around it and call it a day. You can water with a hose and replace them when winter comes or bring them inside. I am close to your age and a nice wagon is my best friend.

  • StacysArtfulHeart StacysArtfulHeart on Dec 30, 2017
    Hi! My Momma can't get to her garden much either due to health issues and it frustrates her very much. I understand the blockade of heavy materials, loading, unloading etc for you! With my back issues also, I can't do the heavy stuff either so we have no choice but to ask/hire someone to do the hard work. Sometimes my fiance does it or a strapping young gent who needs a couple bucks for his pocket. I know that if you do end up putting dirt/compost/amendments directly on top without raising the garden, all those wonderful nutrients will get sucked down more quickly to the tree... and the dirt will get more compacted and hard far more quickly as a result.

    A raised garden does truly help -- just be sure to do a double ring the tree, because soil added and touching the tree bark up several inches or feet will kill the tree slowly. By a ring next to the tree, then your outer ring, you're good to go. Brick, stone, block, rock, are all good choices depending on the look you're going for. Since you mentioned compost, it sounds as if you're already a seasoned gardener, so I wont bore you with any of the amenities etc. My favorite for shade gardens are always the humble, hardworking hosta and astilbe, bleeding hearts sure add some dainti-ness dont they?

    I would love to see if you were able to get to this project and how it turned out. Blessings to you from the Great Pacific Northwest, Lakewood, Washington! Stacy -- #stacysartfullheart

    • See 1 previous
    • Kathy Baker Kathy Baker on Aug 01, 2018
      i have not been able to get started on this because of a heart procedure I had 2 weeks ago. But I’m already getting excited about it. So u think raised beds (maybe 2 stones high) would b the best way to go as long as their not to close to the trees. I also got from your comments that I need to prepare the compacted soil before I put the raised bed on top of it. Is that true, if so how do u suggest I do that. Thank u for your feedback Stacy

  • Jan Clark Jan Clark on Dec 30, 2017
    Howdy, neighbor! I'm in Crowley and have had a few older trees like yours. The best you can do if you don't have a lot of help is run one of those flexible boarders around your tree (doesn't have to be a circle!), mulch lightly over the roots and dig just a few holes and plant a ground cover (I've used ivy) in a few peat pots. Keep the ground cover watered fairly well until it's established. Of course, since we're having a deep freeze right now, do some planning and wait until late February to get going. Best of luck!

  • Jan Clark Jan Clark on Aug 01, 2018
    Kathy, if you're still in need of help, give me a shout out by replying here. I'll be gone the first week of August, but once the weather cools, I'd be glad to lend a hand. What're neighbors for? (I'm only 60, ha-ha)