Planting over cement

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  #1  
Old 05-11-04, 12:10 PM
ilenea
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Cool Planting over cement

I have a cement footing that is jutting out over a foot from the wall surrounding my yard (and it's only about 4" under the ground and 6" thick), and it leaves me only about 12" for planting. I'm concerned that my plants won't have room to grow and, even if I plant very close to the footing, when I water, the water won't get to the plants and the roots will die when they find there is no place for them to grow but around the cement.

I was thinking about just mounding the soil up about 18" in the back and tapering down to the front of the planting area, but I only have about 30" total and I'm afraid of creating a mudslide effect. Does anyone have experience with mounding planting soil?

AND .. how much soil depth do I really need for planting shrubs? Will the roots just grow out more instead of down, or out and then down after they pass the footing if I plant them on top of the footing (with just enough soil for the depth of the plant)?
 
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  #2  
Old 05-11-04, 03:49 PM
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You did not mention what you intend to plant. Mounding soil works well, folks make raised beds all the time. I build it to the desired depth and go from there. If there is room in any direction for the roots to grow, they will go that direction. Twelve inches is plenty of room to plant many things.

Hope this helps.
 
  #3  
Old 05-11-04, 05:08 PM
ilenea
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Mounding and Rooting ...

Thank you for your response!

In the area in question, I'm thinking of shrubs such as Azaleas, Camelias, and maybe some Peonies. I also will be planting some fuchsias in the area, but I can always keep those in pots.

How do you mound? I only have a 30" depth on my planting area, and want the back to be at least a foot higher than the front. Without anything to hold the soil in (like planter boxes or walls) on the sides and front, how do you prevent mud slides? Is there some special technique, or do I just mound it and pack it down a little and put in my bender board around the edges? (Can you tell I'm new to gardening???)
 
  #4  
Old 05-11-04, 07:22 PM
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Azaleas are shallow rooted plants. Most plants will put their roots in the top 8 - 12 inches of soil. So long as there is space laterally, they should do fine. Camellias are going to be crowded if all you have is 12 inches from the wall to plant. Most of them are 3 - 6 feet wide at maturity.

I just mound the soil, round over the edge and pack it with my foot if it seems to need it. I have several of these beds here. It is easier to raise a bed than put it in at ground level. Add mulch to prevent erosion. A border as you mention would be a good idea, too.

As far as mudslides are concerned, a raised bed such as this will drain well and not become sodden as readily as ground level. With a raised bed you can ensure that the composition of the soil is what you want, since you place it in yourself.

Hope this helps.
 
  #5  
Old 05-12-04, 05:41 AM
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why cant you raise the front of the bed with landscape timbers or stackable stones to get the bed to have less of a slope to it? you will be subject to wash out if a big rain comes and you have soil sloped 12-18 inches in a 30 inch wide area.
 
  #6  
Old 05-12-04, 10:44 AM
ilenea
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Raising the Front

I found a real nice bender board that i want to use in the front, so raising the front would make it difficult. I really don't like the look of a "planter box" - primarily because my front patio/yard is so small. I'm thinking of doing one of those mortarless retaining wall/brick things on the ends so I can give more support to the soil on the high part of the slope.

Do you think that would do it?
 
  #7  
Old 05-12-04, 07:36 PM
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The mortarless would do. There are many options here, you just have to choose.
 
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