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I need some help. 3 Layers of Dirt, rocks and weed control.

I need some help. 3 Layers of Dirt, rocks and weed control.

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  #1  
Old 09-26-06, 07:46 AM
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I need some help. 3 Layers of Dirt, rocks and weed control.

So, my wife and I purchased our 2nd house last year. The previous owner built the house in 1973 and did a great job of maintaining the house in its original form. This included maintaining the white rocks around all of the flower beds and in the front lawn landscaping.

Two weeks ago, with the help of my neighbors, we began clearing out the front shrubs and landscaping. After the shrubs were removed I began to shovel the rocks out of the bed. However, to my dissapointment, there are multible layers of rocks, each layer covered by a layer of weed control fabric, rocks and dirt. This goes down for three layers.

My wife's goal is to bring in several tons of dirt to build up the dirt around the house and then plant small flowers and annuals in the dirt and cover the ground with red wood mulch. My question to you is this: would it be okay to just cover the layers of rocks with dirt and mulch?

Thanks for the help in advance!
 
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  #2  
Old 09-26-06, 10:28 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Taylors, SC
Posts: 9,483
Yes. Beyond appearance, there would be no reason to remove all the rocks. The landscape fabric won't hurt. It is landscape fabric and not plastic? I would remove any plastic.

Hope this helps.
 
  #3  
Old 09-26-06, 11:21 AM
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Maryland zone 7
Posts: 1,716
Hi Imprez,

You would definately want to remove the landscape fabric as the roots of your new shrubs and plants won't be able to penetrate it to get to the native soil. As Chfite said, you don't need to remove all the rocks, but you might find using a soil sifter could make it easier to separate some of the rocks from the soil. You can even make one of your own.
http://www.gardengrapevine.com/SoilSifter.html
http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/willamette/partnersites/payco/project-highlight/arch-site-circle.gif

Keep in mind that bringing in topsoil could bring in weed seeds. You will want screened topsoil. I would suggest a mix of 60% topsoil and 40% compost. You will need to grade the area to slope away from the foundation. The top level of the soil and mulch should be 8" to 12" below the siding. Here's a compost and a mulch calculator.
http://www.cedar-grove.com/calculator.asp
http://www.atstecks.com/mulch.htm

Newt
 
  #4  
Old 09-26-06, 12:13 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: San Diego
Posts: 103
Newt ...he should be ok as he stated that is wife wants to plant flowers and annuals, not shrubs. The flowers and annuals don't have deep roots so the fabric will never be a hindering factor. The only issue with leaving the layers and layers of rock is if you ever decide that planting flowers each year gets old and you want to install somewhat larger bushes or shrubs that are low maintenance and the dirt you installed over the rock is not deep enough to support larger bushes, not only will you be digging up 3 layers of rock but now you'll also have to dig up the tons of dirt you slapped over the rock. Sounds like that former owner of your house was paranoid with weeds or just liked shoveling rock.

Steve
 
  #5  
Old 09-26-06, 12:26 PM
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Thanks for the responces. There is some plastic in the lower layers. It looks like the previous owner used the bags the rock came in as underlayment. I'll have to dig that up. Well, I'm glad it'll be fine to leave the rocks, or at least some of them. I'm going to to my best to get the top layer off, but I'm not digging down 6-8 inches to get all the small white rocks out. This wasn't supposed to be a big project, maybe 2-3 weekends. We aren't planning on planting any shrubs, bushes or trees.

Newt- We planned on grading the dirt away from the house. However, you stated to keep the dirt 8-12 inches below the siding. Well, our house is brick faced and it goes all the way to the ground. A neighbor couple of houses up has the exact same house and they just mounded dirt up against the house and graded down. Is there any concern with doing this?
 
  #6  
Old 09-26-06, 01:24 PM
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Maryland zone 7
Posts: 1,716
Imprez, you should be fine with an all brick house. I was thinking of siding.

Looks like you'll need to remove those bags. What a mess the former owner made.

Newt
 
  #7  
Old 09-26-06, 04:54 PM
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yeah, I looked at it tonight, they made a mess.

Thanks for the help!
 
  #8  
Old 10-01-06, 02:54 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: united states
Posts: 98
white rock/landscape fabric curse

This is a text book example of why gardeners/landscapers should think long and hard before using any of the non organic mulches such as white rock, brick chips, lava rock, ground up tires, etc.

There is a fundamental contradiction between green and growing things and mulches made of stone.

In most cases the so called permanant mulches are anything but permanant. As time goes by plant sheddings and airborne litter/dust accummulate creating an ideal environment for airborne weed seed to take hold causing bad appearence requiring maintenance or reapplication.

I realize that there are certain situations where the inorganic mulches are desireable but those are exceptional and most folks would do well to stick with organic type mulches.

Best regards, 38 years in the business and still learning...Greensboro_man
 
  #9  
Old 10-02-06, 08:19 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: somewhere down in texas
Posts: 506
be aware of the weep holes at the bottom layer of your brick. do not build soil up to or over these holes or you will regret it. i.m.o. you will be better off in the long run to completely excavate the rock/fabric. lot of work now, but a much better end result and no need to ever do it again.
 
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