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How to build better soil than clay?

6 years ago
last modified: 6 years ago

I have bay area clay soil and want to pull out my lawn and put in a Piet Oudolf inspired perennial landscape. I was thinking I'd work on the soil after ripping out the lawn in 2 weekends.

I am planning on having the contractor excavate about 1 foot down of dirt so I rebuild with good soil. Is that the best way to build good soil before I put in a perennial bed?

I sometimes read about professional landscapers who excavate and then rebuild soil. For example, Beth Chatto took her 1 acre parking lot and excavated several inches down to rebuild soil for her Gravel Garden in a way that once it was established it became a totally water self sufficient. No additional water aside from rainfall was needed. That's where I'm headed with this.

I'm sure you can tell but I am completely novice. I do some things well, like propagate and graft, but I've "built" good soil. Feel free to dumb it down if you can.

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