Start a new thread

1 to 19 of 19 replies

We just moved into a house. The back lawn is going to be re-turfed. Have created bedding sections around the lawn but there are loads of rubbles, bricks, half bricks. I have also just seen a huge old patio about 12 inches down.

My question is how much of this stuff do I have to extract, should I leave it to the professionals, and if I do remove it how far down do I have to clear it. 
Also, do these bricks help with drainage in any way and should I leave any of them there?

Many thanks


Personally speaking I'd get it all out before going to the expense of turfing.

 It might be ok to leave the 'sunken patio', if you're only going to turf over it and it really is 12" down and you're sure you're never going to want to dig a flowerbed or a pond there, or plant a shrub - see what the others think .... 


half bricks are no problem. my garden is based on rubbish like that. But a solid patio might create some drainage problems. O,r if it's not a lawn, root problems

If the bricks are nice ones you could save them for use later. Edging or anything you need bricks for.

Take them all out! You want at least 12" free from rubble, Ideally 16". I know it sounds a lot but it really does show in the vigour of your lawn. There are so many lawns out there covered in huge weak yellow patches which just scream 'RUBBLE' to anyone who looks at them. Unfortunately it's common practice for builders to dump all the waste in the garden and turf it over, but this just never works properly or sort itself out and needs to be dealt with.

You are in a 'Lucky' position where you dont have an established lawn in place, and can take the rubble away before turfing, most people have to put up with it or go to great expense sorting it out. Don't waste your money turfing before you sort it out

With luck the bricks will match those the house is built from, so potentially can be used to build raised beds and other features around the garden. 

Many thanks



If you can, then get rid. We have taken over 30 tons of  rubbish like this from the garden (and yes I do mean 30).

However, many of our grass paths still have a thick layer of broken brick etc. underneath them. You cannot put a fork in , in a lot of places without hearing the dread, 'Clunk' as you hit something solid.

Also there is a largish area, covered now in Bamboo, where there is a layer of about 18 inches of top soil over a solidish concrete surface. The Bamboo may now have put its roots through cracks and in to the whatever is underneath.



hollie hock

Can't help at all on the practical side of things............. you could make some lovely things for the garden with bricks, the older the better

thanks for all your advice

Presumably there is no problem in housing concrete rubble for drainage under topsoil in raised beds? Nothing that will contaminate the plants?


Providing you've got sufficient root depth, the only thing to worry about that I know of is lime content which would preclude you growing lime-hating plants. 

Okay, that's great.

thank you

I keep getting the dreaded 'clunk' when I'm digging in the flower bed I inherited when I moved in - broken bricks, lumps of concrete and bits of broken china.  The worst thing is that the weeds (bindweed in particular) just love to bury their roots under the lumps of concrete


Id get rid of it all if you can. I think you would only be storing trouble up for later.


But if he's using rubble rather than buying in shingle, gravel etc for drainage at the bottom of a deep raised bed ...?


I've often had to garden on rubbishy ground. As long as there's enough depth of soil for whatever you want to plant, it's usually fine. If you've got established planting which would be very hard work to remove completely, the best thing is to mulch well with decent compost regularly, which will gradually raise the depth of soil. If it's possible to remove the planting, but you want to leave the rubble, you can increase the planting depth by making more of a raised bed with brick,stone or timber edging, and then adding more soil/compost etc. to fill it up before replanting. 

From my point of view, it's a new wall I've had built to establish some extra planting as a raised bed. As Dove Above says, it's to save buying in gravel for drainage and to spend less on topsoil.

Appreciate comments fro Fairygirl about depth of soil and compost replenishment.

Jude14 as in female Jude, by the way







Hi Jude - I directed my reply mainly to DE which is why I mentioned the raised beds, but you've already got those in place! Concrete can be more of an issue than general rock or  stone, as Dove has said, but providing there's enough soil I don't think it will be a major problem. I've sometimes put landscape fabric over rubble before adding soil. It helps to stop all the soil washing down through it, but it's a good idea to add a bit of finer gravel or stone to fill the gaps in first. I did that last year on some of my new raised beds - for the same reason as you! 

It depends what's under the patio if it's mot type 1 or sharp sand then it can be left in. But if it's cony it's got to be broken up and taken out.

The bricks have to come out as the grass will go yellow

In 3 years I bet I've taken 3 tones of rubble out of the garden.

Hi rich - I think you're replying to the OP about his patio, from last year.

The recent poster has raised beds and is using rubble to take up a bit of space at the bottom to save on soil and compost etc. I'm like you though - I try to dig out concrete whenever possible but sometimes it's not feasible, and if there's enough soil coverage it doesn't cause major issues. I've dug lots of concrete blocks out of this garden over the last year as well as big lumps of it - usually in exactly the spot I want to make a new planting area  

It's amazing what builders and workmen just cover up! 

I have lot of builder's sand and rubble made of small stones in the garden. Are they plant friendly? Can I just dig them in?

Sign up or log in to post a reply