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The realization of a garden
The basic steps to follow when you plan to realize a new garden

by: Christoph Kieffer, published the: 2004-02-26

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This article talks about the basic concepts to have in mind in the moment you plan to prepare a new garden. It does not comment the principles of design and is based on a garden that is totally new as it could occur after the termination of the construction of a new house, so it will be not necessary to preserve any plantation o concrete form of garden.

The cleaning of the terrain

Once the construction firm has finished to construct the new building and the garden is perfectly delimited, it is necessary to proceed with the cleaning of the terrain, which will be the base of the new garden.

It is necessary to eliminate all the elements that should not be present in a garden for the following reasons:

Because of their size: Big river rocks (part of the drainage of the building), pieces of bricks o roof tiles, blocks of cement or reinforced concrete, rests of iron bars or wood planks.

Because of their chemical composition, harmful for the plants: concrete dumpings, cements or lime, that is all types of construction material which are highly harmful for the normal growth of plants in a garden.

Liquid dumpings: If the dumping is of liquid nature as there could be machine oil or any other chemical elements in pure form or dissolved in water which could have drained deeply into the soil, it would be necessary to remove as much affected soil as is needed or possible.

Oxygenation and leveling of the ground

Once we have cleaned the terrain thoroughly, process during which we will have probably turned over the majority of the soil, we will proceed to finish turning over the rest of the terrain to oxygenate the soil and loosen the ground which could have been compacted by the construction machines. Depending on the size of the garden this can be done manually or with the help of a motorized plough. Once the soil was loosened and oxygenated we start to level the terrain crumbling the compacted clay balls, creating a loosened and even surface. If the terrain has to be raised for design reasons this has to be done in this moment.

Layout of the terrain

It is presumable that exists a particular garden design and a scaled ground plan was realized, so we can extract the exact garden measures of every zone in the garden. With the use of stacks, cord and other useful elements we proceed to mark the different zones, as there are flower beds, lawn zones, the situation of particular elements (ie. banks, stairs, rain systems aso.)

Dig the ditches for the rain system and electric lines

Once we have decided where will pass the water and cable pipes, where we will place the case for the magnetic valves which will control the water flow, where will be the hydrants and where we will set up the garden lamps and other possible electric elements, we can proceed to dig the ditches placing the soil near as we will need it to fill the ditches again once we have placed the elements in them. Please keep in mind that some of the soil will be needed to fill up the ditches again, the rest should be spread over the rest of the terrain.

Installation of irrigation elements and electric lines

In the moment the garden was designed we should have planned the placing of all the elements that compose the irrigation system of the garden. This comprehends the valves with their cables connected to the irrigation programmer, always placed near the water source, and the water hydrants or trickle irrigation which will have to cover the whole garden area.

We should now set up the pipe system which will connect the different irrigation sytems using the ditches as a template. We can use hard PVC pipes which are more difficult to handle but are very resistant, or flexible PE pipes which are easy to connect but are not that resistant.

Install all the elements which will hold the hydrants by standard threads.

Every circuit will be connected to its valve and the water source of the garden. The valves will be connected to the programmer and the electric line; before you fill up the ditches again the whole system should be tested on leakage and function.

Install the electricity pipes and insert the cables. Protect the terminations until all elements are connected. Once the functionality of the elements and electric elements are checked you can proceed to fill up the ditches. It is always a good advice to place the pipes on a sand bed.

Functional elements, divisions

The functional elements are stairs, stone walks or a tiled terrace. The divisions are those elements which separate zones of different characteristics as there could be bricks which separate the flower beds from the lawn. It is in this moment when these elements should be put in place, before you begin to prepare the flower beds, plant the plants or sow the lawn zones. If possible, it should be avoided to use concrete to put the different elements in place, but instead you can use river sand to place them firmly.

Preparation of flower beds, planting

Once the functional elements are in place, you can proceed to form and prepare the flower beds. The first step should be to give them the desired form, possibly already marked by the divisions made before. The next thing to do is to mix the existing soil with abundant organic material to improve its quality. In last place, you can plant the different plant formations using the floor plan as guide. Again, use plenty of organic material to improve the growth of the roots.

Lawn

The last thing to do in our new garden is to plant the planned lawn zones. You can use seeds or carpet lawn (lawn rolls). The final choice depends on how much money you want to waste (carpet lawn is quite expensive but you have grown lawn in a moment) or in which season you will plant the lawn (in summer you cannot seed nor use carpet lawn as it wont take root). In both cases you should prepare the soil covering it totally with organic material; you can also add a special fertilizer to improve the growth. If the soil contains much clay it is advisable to add river sand to improve the drainage. On this base you can now seed the lawn in a homogeneous way or place the lawn rolls assuring to to not leave to much leap between the different rolls. If you chose the lawn carpet you can now use a heavy lawn roll to firm down the carpet. You are done.

If you have chosen to sow the lawn you must now cover the seeds with a fine layer of organic material and firm it down lightly. That's it.

Final irrigation

The garden is finished, the only action left is to irrigate the whole garden thoroughly taking special care with the lawn, process that should be repeated with care during the following weeks.

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