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We have a slightly sloping front garden which we intend laying to gravel/chippings from grass. We have removed the grass and loosened the surface. We intend covering it with strong weed killer and digging it out to a depth of about 2 - 3 inches. We would like to tier it and would welcome advice on how this should be done. Once suitably prepared, we intend covering the surface with weed control fabric and then our choice of gravel/chippings. Is it ok to use the weed control fabric immediately after using the weed killer or should we cover with plastic first temporarily to prevent airborne seeds taking route? Thanks in advance for any responses.
If you are using weed control fabric you should find that there is no need for weed killer, especially if you are removing 2-3 inches of soil.
Use the soil removed from the bottom tier to form the top tier. Or vice versa. This covering of soil + the fabric will stop any weeds.
I would also not spray weedkiller if using weed suppressor. You will need it in a year or so as gravel makes a great germination spot for many seedlings.
Tiering - remove the lawn then dig down and level as to what you want it. For protecting each tier I use treated decking boards nailed to fence posts cut to size for a nice finish. Leave a gap to put rubble between the wood and soil as that slows rotting.
We have gravel and originally put it over weed suppressor, but because we are in the countryside it didn't work, the weeds just grew through the suppressant fabric and were hell to get out. Therefore, like our neighbours, we have ended up using damp proof membrane plastic - that does work - we still get weeds but they are easy to pull out. I am telling you this because a lot will depend on where you live. If you are town or suburb gardening you will probably be okay, but if you live where there is a lot of fallow land and verges where weeds grow and shed seeds (in the summer we sometimes see clouds of weed seeds drifting over our garden), suppressor is very disappointing. Obviously, using plastic creates a run off problem - you couldn't use it if your garden sloped sharply downwards towards your house, and we only use it here in the knowledge that we live among agricultural land which absorbs all the rain, but we did spend days cutting and fixing the suppressor and covering it with gravel only to have to sweep it aside and replace it two years later.
If you use timber for the supports for your terraces, it would also be worth lining them with black plastic to give extra protection against any soil or water lying against them, especially if they're higher. I built a revettment wall years ago at right angles to my deck which was a couple of feet high. I used marine ply fixed to concreted-in posts, lined it .with plastic then faced it with decking. That ensured it was substantial enough to retain the planted area behind it and would last well.
That all sounds like sound advice, for which I thank you all. I get the feeling this is going to take some time!!
Good luck with it David. A few 'easy to maintain' shrubs planted in there as well would give it some character and stop it being a bit sterile. Something to welcome you home each day
I recommend using a layer of landscape fabric on top of the weed control fabric as the latter can be fairly easily pierced by sharp gravel etc and the woven landscape stuff will protect it from that. It won't cost a lot more but will ensure the areas stay weed-free for many more years than weed fabric alone.