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Advice Needed

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Old Monday 29th September 2014, 08:05   #1
Himalaya
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Advice Needed

I have a small back yard about 5metres by 3 metres minimum covered with stone flags. I want to pull up all the flags and make half of it green. A small lawn, bushes, flowers?

What do I need to know and do to make it best for wildlife and the environment? Once the flags are pulled up...what do I do, what would we need? What type of soil if any should I put on? What should I plant which would be great for birds, bees, butterflies and other insects all year round.

I live in East Lancashire so hoping for good native plants
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Old Monday 29th September 2014, 09:00   #2
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There are plenty of sites on the Web for research like this one http://www.rspb.org.uk/makeahomeforw...ly_garden.aspx

Just google "gardening for wildlife".


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Old Monday 29th September 2014, 14:39   #3
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Good site but I am starting from scratch. Once I dig up the stone flags do I put a layer of soil on? Is the soil underneath good enough for growing grass, shrubs? I know no one will be able to answer without seeing it but as a general rule?

Last edited by Himalaya : Monday 29th September 2014 at 14:46.
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Old Monday 29th September 2014, 15:09   #4
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Originally Posted by Himalaya View Post
Good site but I am starting from scratch. Once I dig up the stone flags do I put a layer of soil on? Is the soil underneath good enough for growing grass, shrubs? I know no one will be able to answer without seeing it but as a general rule?
The flags should be on a concrete base, and/or there will be rubble underneath, so you'll probably be best advised to dig out as much as you feel able to, then start with soil and improver to suit what you want to plant. If you have horses nearby you may find some free manure lying around, and a small amount of rotted leaves could be mixed in. Probably stating the bleedin' obvious, but if you're leaving some flags down, leave the ones closest to the house, and you may also want to leave a strip down the middle (leading directly away from the house) to walk on.

Personally I wouldn't bother with a lawn as you're starting from scratch; some wild grass OK, but not something you'll need to mow, too much like hard work, and you'll need to buy and store the equipment!

Good luck!
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Old Monday 29th September 2014, 16:05   #5
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If you have a look at our sister site, Gardener's Forum, you will find several threads about gardening for wildlife under the appropriate board, which should give you some ideas.
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Old Monday 29th September 2014, 17:36   #6
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Originally Posted by Himalaya View Post
Good site but I am starting from scratch. Once I dig up the stone flags do I put a layer of soil on? Is the soil underneath good enough for growing grass, shrubs? I know no one will be able to answer without seeing it but as a general rule?

5x3mt is not that large a plot to play with and if you lawn half of it you may not have much left for the "wildlife".

First thing to do is get some graph paper and draw out the plot. Then you can create some templates of plants and shrubs and lay them on to get a pleasing design. Then the hard work starts!

You can probably download some gardening design software from the internet if you want to go that route.

As a suggestion, if the stone flags are sound you may want to leave them in place and just lift a few selected ones to create planting pockets. You can add decorative pots in the bare areas and plant them to provide colour and variety, and include some feeding stations as well. Again though, do a design first to see how it looks.

A couple of others things to consider. Firstly, your location ....... are you trying to create an oasis in the middle of a concrete jungle or is there already plenty of "greenery" around you? Secondly, is the planned area fenced in or hedged or open? And thirdly, take into account the spread of shrubs and bushes, they start off small but after a few years can become huge so giving them space to grow is important.

Good luck!


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Old Monday 29th September 2014, 18:07   #7
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Some excellent advice there from Shane.

You could also have a wander round your local area to see what plants others are growing - this might give you a clue as to whether your soil is acidic or alkaline from the plants they have chosen.

Do try and pick native flowering and berry producing shrubs to attract the widest variety of wildlife possible in your area.
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Old Monday 29th September 2014, 18:21   #8
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I would say if you're going to plant wildflowers, then don't import soil; they will want a poor soil to avoid competition from grasses. This site has some good advice, http://www.wildflower.org.uk/guide-t...ow-seed-mixes/
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Old Monday 29th September 2014, 18:50   #9
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I am on my mobile so can't respond to each one individually and thank all individually.

Firstly it is a terraced house and in an area with not too much greenery around. In the vicinity are Robins, Tits, woodpigeons, Magpies, Goldfinches. I have not noticed many insect's around but hoping all this could change.

Secondly, it is not a very big space but I do want to try to make the effort. I may have a choice between small lawn patch with shrubs and flowers or one or the other.

Thirdly, the area is walled in. I have no idea about the soil or quality to be honest.
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