Why You Should Build Your Own Beds
Longtime GardenLine listeners and readers of my book, Gulf Coast Gardening, know that I strongly suggest getting a landscape allowance from your builder when constructing a new home. Then, you can do your own landscaping.
Add your own money to the fund if necessary, and hire a trustworthy landscape company yourself.
The pictures here demonstrate exactly why I've been saying this for so long. Builders make raised beds by scraping up whatever is on the site and pushing it up next to the foundation.
I shot the photos on the left of a house in Cypress, and Lemmonhead extraordinaire Robert Short took the pictures to the right of a house in Pearland. Robert's examples show construction debris mixed in with sand the builder used to coat the front lawn.
The examples I shot show a "bed" made of nothing but the clay-based bank sand commonly used by most builders. While that can suffice for laying new grass, you couldn't use much worse for building a landscape bed.
If nothing is added to either of these two examples — like top soil and organic matter — you can be nearly sure the plants being inserted will get sick, dry out, or die in short order.
You know how much I encourage the use of rose soil — an equal blend of soil, compost and sharp sand. Do you think either of these look like rose soil? Any horticulturally minded or gardening-savvy person should be offended by these pictures.
Hopefully, this week's tip will underscore the importance of not allowing a builder to handle your landscaping. This is one of those areas where builders try reduce costs as much as possible — they pay only what they must for a landscape installation, and they'll always go with the lowest bid.
Get a landscape allowance from the builder, toss in a few bucks of your own, and hire someone to build your beds the right way - the GardenLine way!
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