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I'm in the process of regrading a garden bed adjacent to my foundation to slope it away more from the house. Hopefully this will solve the drainage issue I've been seeing.

As the bed was sloping slightly towards the foundation, I dug up a few inches of soil from the area furthest from the wall and leveled out the surrounding area. I need to clear some more debris and weeds and also move around some existing plants so I've placed the dug up soil aside so I can redistribute it around, tamp it down, and slope the bed gradually up to the wall tomorrow.

When I dug up the soil to create the lower level of the bed, I brought up a bunch of stones. Some small but a lot are larger and round, about the size of 1-2 fists, and flat, about the size of a hand.

When I backfill/spread out the soil on top, should I also include the rocks or just the dirt? Or mix them in to the bed further below the ground? Ignoring any later problems with planting stuff in the bed, would this help with stability/drainage/erosion control in any way?

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2 Answers 2

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Stones mixed into soil don't really change the drainage or runoff quality of the situation. That would only be true if the fill was all stones, leaving gaps between for water to flow through.

So that just leaves the practical concern of finding enough replacement volume. If you don't have enough, bury the stones deep where they won't complicate planting.

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I think it depends whether or not you have another source of fill. Note that (assuming the bed has been there for a while) whenever you dig up soil, it's hard to compact—to make it fill the same volume it did before. So even if you eliminate the rocks, odds are you'll end up with about the same volume.

Having said that, IMO it depends on the purpose of this garden bed. If you'll need to dig it up again, I'd leave the stones out. If not, I don't see any harm in using the stones as "fill" next to the house, as long as you spread them out, i.e. don't just throw the stones in a group.

You may find that your bed settles over the years and requires additional garden soil to maintain grade.

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