The Q&A Archives: Fixing my yard

Question: Is there anything to do to a yard that was once a gravel parking lot?

Answer: There are several concerns - first, I'm sure the soil is quite compacted with vehicles driving and parking on it. Then there's the gravel to deal with - not only will it be compacted as well, but it may be several inches deep. A final concern is that there may be spilled gasoline, oil, or other engine fluids within the soil. The best course of action would be to scrape out all of the gravel plus a few inches of soil and replace it with fresh topsoil. This might be a rather expensive project and perhaps more than you care to invest. Another option would be to construct raised beds in the area and use the existing gravel for walkways. You can build raised beds with concrete blocks, timbers or even plastic timbers. Fill with fresh topsoil and you won't have to be concerned about drainage or contamination. You could start small, with just a few raised beds, and add more in the future.

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