Whilst landscape designers have excellent skills when it comes to designing the layout of a landscaped garden, their knowledge also extends to matters related to horticulture. By that, we are talking about them knowing which plants are suitable within a design and the best conditions for each one.
If they did not have that knowledge, whilst they might initially create a great-looking garden, it would fail due to plants not growing, lawns looking discoloured due to poor drainage, and any other problems that can occur in gardens. Thankfully, most landscapers are reputable and will ensure any landscape design they create will produce a park that is an aesthetic joy and that everything that grows within that garden will thrive.
A garden that thrives is only possible if the soil within it is suitable for the plants that grow there, which brings us to one of those specific areas of knowledge that landscapers have. It is essential to know the types of soil within a garden and, where necessary, what soil needs to be added to allow the plants that are planned for it to have the best chances of thriving.
Although we cannot cover every possibility, we have highlighted below some soil types you might find in your garden and their various facets. This should allow you to compare them to ascertain which suits your garden and your plans.
The main facets of silt soil are that it is solid with dust-like sediment and is usually the result of deposits from weather features such as wind, rain, and ice. It contains mineral and rock particles that are finer than sand. When silt soil is subject to rainfall or watering, its surface becomes slippery and will retain much of that moisture. Silt soil is high in nutrients, so grass, shrubs, fruits, vegetables, and many trees thrive.
Peat soil is usually formed due to organic matter such as vegetation decomposing and accumulating to create what is often referred to as ‘turf’. When viewed alongside other soils, peat soil will be darker, and it also feels spongier. It is highly acidic which can mean it has fewer nutrients, plus its drainage is not ideal, however, several shrubs and vegetables love peat soil more than any other such as heathers and salad vegetables.
Some people do not favour clay soil as its drainage qualities are poor. When held, it will feel sticky if wet and hard and lumpy when dry. Its poor drainage can be overcome somewhat by good cultivation, providing you with soil high in nutrients; thus, anything planted in it will do well. The ideal plants for clay soil are perennial shrubs and fruit trees.
Loam soil has a fine texture, likely due to the balanced mix of clay, sand, and silt which comprise its composition. It is trendy and can be found in more landscaped gardens than any other soil, possibly because it is straightforward. This comes from its sound structure, good drainage qualities, and abundant nutrients. The fact that it helps plants to thrive in all seasons also adds to loam soil’s appeal.
Chalk soil is somewhat of an outlier given that the others are acidic, whilst chalk soil is alkaline. It also contains larger particles and is regarded as stonier soil than the others we have highlighted. As such, it provides excellent drainage for gardens that have it. Chalk soil suits flowers such as lilies and lilacs, but its primary use is in vegetable gardens where sweetcorn, cabbage, and spinach will thrive.