What is the difference between topsoil and loam?


Getting the right kind of soil to ensure that your garden flourishes, is so important, and one of the many questions we frequently get asked is to explain the different between Topsoil and Loam Soil – and how to know which should be used in a garden.

Every gardener knows that for their plants and flowers to have the best chance of success the soil they are planted in must be rich in organic matter, free from harmful chemicals, kept moist, and turned over as much as possible.

Many gardeners who feel their soil needs a little boost will simply head to their local garden centre and buy only topsoil to try to improve their soils nutrient level and help their garden grow.

The problem with this, however, is that to take care of your whole garden you must dig a little deeper. Loam and topsoil are often banded together, however, while they share some similar qualities they are not the same thing, and it is important for gardeners to understand the difference. So, what is the difference between topsoil and loam?


In your garden (as you may guess by its name), Topsoil is the uppermost layer of soil, or rather, the first 12 inches. Topsoil will be dark and rich in organic matter due to leaves and other vegetation that will have decomposed on the surface. However, topsoil can also contain sand, clay, and silt.


Loam is a classification given to soil rather than a standalone type. When soil is described as loam soil, it is because particular qualities it contains – a mixture of sand, silt and clay. You can also get different types of loam depending on the percentages of sand, silt and clay found within it. You may hear soil being referred to as ‘sandy loam’ or ‘clay loam’ for example because it has a greater percentage of one material then normal.

When it comes to commercial Topsoil and Loam Topsoil, Topsoil tends to have a looser consistency – this is to help with draining so when you water your plants the water will quickly reach the roots and retain a great amount of moisture, but also drain away well so as not to build up and drown your plants and flowers. Good quality topsoil often contains decaying organic matter, rich in nutrients to feed your soil. Loam soil contains little or no organic matter, however, it is popular with gardeners, landscapers and green keepers alike because of its ability to retain water and nutrients.

What is important to remember is that when you ask for topsoil in your garden centre, you may be given something that is not loam soil as well – and therefore not as beneficial to your garden as it could be! A mix of organic matter plus the benefits that a loamy soil provides is ideal..

So, now you know, next time you buy, make sure to be clear so you can rest assured you are getting the very best kind of soil to help your garden grow.

At Bury Hill, all our premium grade topsoils and loams are blended using high-quality natural soils, selected sands and grits and organic compost from known sources. So whatever your gardens needs, we will be happy to help!

Bury Hill Gardening Calendar – January Gardening Tips

Gardening tips in January

January gardening tips

A chilly start to the year…

January can often be the coldest month of the year, and your garden may well need some love and care to keep it from being damaged by the unforgiving weather. Snow and frosts, blustering gales and torrential downpours are all possible in January.

Give your garden the best chance of holding its own by securing any stakes, and other supports and checking them regularly (particularly after adverse weather). Move plants to where they are most likely to get sunlight and consider covering your soil to protect any bulbs and plants from damaging frosts.

What to do in the garden in January

Plants and Flowers

If it’s a particularly cold January consider moving more delicate plants inside to keep them safe from the frost and snow. Conservatories are a fantastic way to give plants a lot of light whilst keeping them warm, but if you don’t have one placing plants on windowsills or other areas that get natural light will do the trick too.


Give your fruit trees a makeover and prune them back to keep them neat and tidy, and ready to flourish when the warmer weather kicks in. It’s a wonderful feeling to quite literally reap the fruits of your labour and you can maximise your yield with good pruning.


While not much planting is advisable during January, it is the perfect time to start considering what you’d like in your vegetable plot this year. A well timed planting plan will mean you can enjoy a variety of veggies throughout the year.

Top 5 January Gardening Jobs

  • Recycle your Christmas tree  - you can shred it and use it for mulch to help your soil stay nutrient rich, or simply take it to your local recycling centre.
  • Organise and clean your greenhouse and sheds.
  • Plan your veggies for the coming season.
  • Create shelters for more vulnerable plants.
  •  Get your lawn looking neat and tidy.

For helpful tips and advice throughout the year you can Download our full 12 month calendar here

The Best Trees For Small Gardens

Find the perfect tree for your cosy outside space

As all experienced gardeners will tell you it’s not the size that matters, it’s what you do with it that counts. Having a small outside space doesn’t mean you can’t turn your garden into a little piece of paradise all of your own.  Just as with any garden, it takes carefully planning and a little bit of research to find out what works best and how to make the most of it.
Many people may fear that a beautiful blooming tree is but a pipe dream if their garden is a little on the petite side. However, they need not worry. There are plenty of small tree species available that you can stick in a corner or even a plant pot that will provide leafy shade, beautiful blossoms and generally look pretty fantastic.

It was National Tree Week at the end of last year.  This first came about in 1975, and is the UK’s largest tree celebration officially launching the start of the winter tree planting season. To celebrate these life-giving plants, if you have always wanted to grow a tree in your small garden, now is the perfect time to do it.

Here are 5 of the best trees to buy for a small plot.

The lovely Japanese loquat is ideal for small gardens, it stays relatively compact in size as it grows, and you can prune it back to suit your space.  It’s evergreen which means it will stay looking lovely in your garden all year round. In summer it produces glorious yellow fruit which you can eat. Be aware that it is not a huge fan of the cold so try to plant it somewhere sheltered and protect it from frosty winters.

A strawberry tree is another excellent choice that will provide you with tasty fruit that you can make into jam (if the birds don’t get to it first of course!) and bursts of delicate white flowers come autumn.

Acer griseum AGM which is otherwise known as the ‘Paperbark Maple’ is another smart choice. This beautiful small tree is particularly noted for its bark flaking and curling which creates a rather appealing textured effect. These trees tend to stay narrow making them perfect for smaller gardens, and you can expect a rich and colourful burst of foliage come autumn which will cheer up and outside space. In fact, there are many varieties of AGM

If you are looking for a tree that will be the pride of your garden come summer try the Koelreuteria paniculata ‘Coral Sun’ AGM which grows to about 6m high and 3m wide. This tree will bring a ray of sunshine into your garden when the weather is at it’s warmest with gorgeous yellow midsummer flowers. It’s yellow and orange leaves come autumn are also very appealing.

For a tree that is easily kept in check, the Prunus ‘Amanogawa’ is a good choice. Delicate pale pink blossoms appear in spring, and the columnar shape of the tree means it won’t take up too much room in a small plot.

Of course, there are much more different types of trees to buy for a small garden. For more inspiration, why not take a look at some advice on trees for small gardens from the Royal Horticultural Society?

When buying a small tree, there are some considerations to take into account. Measure your garden space and think about how much room you want your tree to take up – height and spread are both important factors.  Consider your neighbours and factor in any other buildings nearby which might impact its growth or damage the property. Think about seasons and how your tree can complement other plants and flowers in your garden depending on when it blossoms or when its leaves change colour.

Whatever you decide making sure you garden is ready for its new arrival is important. If you are planting your tree in the ground give it the best start in life by making sure your soil is in the best condition it can be. At Bury Hill we offer a range of top quality topsoils,  specialist soils and compost and mulches to keep your garden flourishing all year round!

Winter Gardening Tips

Winter Gardening Tips

Winter is a strange time for gardeners, while it is perhaps the least satisfying season regarding tending to and nurturing your garden, there is still plenty you can do to make sure that it stays healthy and in excellent condition for early spring planting. It is also a time where you can change your focus, helping winter wildlife thrive in the most challenging months of the year, and preparing and planning for new exciting planting opportunities next year too.

So what are the things you can do over winter to ensure your garden continues to look great and is kept in tip top condition ready for next year? Here are our winter gardening tips:

 Take care of your soil

Hopefully, you already broke your soil down into clods before the colder weather hit. However, if you haven’t, then it is best to leave it now until temperatures start to rise again. Frozen soil is difficult to work with, and treading and compaction will only push more air out of it – try to avoid treading on the soil where possible and keep kids and pets off it too.

Have a garden overhaul

Forget spring cleaning! Winter is the best time of year to give your garden a good clear out. Get rid of any stacks of plastic plant pots you never use, clear out tool sheds and check your gardening tools to make sure they are all working and in good condition. There is still time to pop something on your Christmas wish list if not! You can care for your tools and increase their lifespan by using a good tool sharpener, keeping them clean to prevent the spread of disease and oiling regularly to prevent any stiffness.

Look after your lawn

You can prepare you garden in the winter months and lay out new lawn turf and seed from the end of January. Use the winter to check your lawn, note and rectify any potential drainage problems and give any plants or trees – particularly fruit bearing trees that grow in the grass, a good feed with a top quality fertiliser.

Check your structures

Winter is an excellent time to check out your structures too. Inspect your greenhouse, conservatory, and any wooden structures in the garden. Repair any damage while also cutting away any dead material from summer climbers.

 Get Pruning!

Take the best care of fruit trees, shrubs, rose bushes and hedges by giving them a once over with the secateurs. Cut so that water slopes away from the bud and can’t collect on it and make sure you use razor sharp secateurs for nice clean cuts.

 Salt pathways and driveways

If frost and snow are making it difficult for you to walk up your garden path or park in your driveway make sure you salt these areas using a high quality rock salt to prevent any slippages or accidents!

Look after local wildlife

Winter is a tough time for wildlife, so do your bit for the environment by helping to protect and conserve local wildlife, and give them a boost until the weather turns warmer once more. Leave food out for birds – food with a high fat content (for example fat blocks, finely chopped bacon bits or grated cheese) is most beneficial. Remember if you start to do this the birds will return – so it’s important to leave food out regularly otherwise it’s a wasted trip burning vital energy which they cannot afford to lose.

If you have a pond that freezes over try gently breaking up the ice or melting a hole in it so wildlife can still use it to drink from. Be careful not to hit the ice however as the shockwaves can actually harm wildlife living in the water underneath. If you do not have a pond why not provide a water bowl in your garden for other visiting wildlife?

Insects can also suffer during winter, but you can help them out by providing an ‘insect hotel’ in your garden. You can buy one or build one yourself out of bark, pinecones, stems and leaves. Frogs, ladybirds, and other insects will all benefit from the insulation and shelter it provides.

So, as you can see, there is plenty to keep gardeners busy over winter. Following these tips will ensure you garden remains in excellent condition while also giving a helping hand to animals that visit your garden too – it is the season of giving after all!

For more gardening top tips and advice, take a look at the rest of our blog.

Christmas Garden Ideas – Make Your Christmas Garden Sparkle

Ideas for your Christmas Garden

It’s that wonderful time of year where Christmas is right around the corner, and it’s about time we got right into the Christmas mood! Xmas decorating can be lots of fun and is an ideal activity to get in in the festive spirit.

However, it’s a sad fact that many people tend to concentrate only the rooms inside their homes and forget about the garden! We think this is a shame. The garden is a wonderful space to create some extra festive touches and add a little Christmas sparkle to the holiday season.

So, if you want to go all out this year, then why not get some mulled wine on the stove, wrap up warm and head outside to see how you can make your outside space extra magical this year with our Christmas garden ideas!


Fairy lights give your garden an immediate festive feel. You can wind fairy lights around the edges of your garden, about the branches of trees or in shrubs and bushes. The more lights you use, the greater the ‘magic winter garden’ effect! For a classic and elegant look use all-white bulbs, however, colourful lights create a fun atmosphere and are sure to delight the kids too!


Christmas lanterns are a straightforward and easy way to add a touch of festive magic to your garden. You can put your craft skills to work and create your own, using glass jars as your starting point, or invest in some which have Christmas-related cutouts such as snowflakes, Christmas trees and even Santa himself!


Decorate plant pots to make your garden a Christmassy dream! If they are in a sheltered area, you could wrap them in wrapping paper. Alternatively wrap with tin foil, or spray them silver or gold, or use a stencil to create suitable Christmassy scenes!

 Festive statues

Elves, reindeer and even Santa himself could be hiding in your garden! Delight your children by investing in some outdoor Christmas statues and challenge them to find them all!

 Santa’s Grotto

Got a garden shed at the bottom of your garden? Why not turn it into the ultimate Santa grotto? Fill it with fairy lights, Christmas decorations, and Christmas presents – now all you need is someone willing to wear that Santa costume!

 Fake Snow

Let’s face it, we can’t rely on the weather to give us a white Christmas this year, but then, who needs to? Turn your garden into a winter wonderland with fake snow. You could use artificial snow blankets, snow spray on branches, or go all out and get yourself a snow machine!

 Ribbons and bows

Ribbons and bows tied to stems, branches and plant pots effortlessly create a great festive look. Buy ribbons and bows in festive colours such as reds and golds, and you’ll instantly turn your garden into a cosy and bright Christmas space.

Of course, you can also find plenty in your garden to decorate your home too! Pine cones look great when spray painted for a festive display and holly leaves, berries, twigs and leaves can all come together to make a lovely hand-crafted Christmas wreath!

Decorating your garden at Christmas is a great way to get into the festive spirit, and the whole family can get involved too. So what are you waiting for? Wrap up warm, grab a hot drink and a cheeky mince pie, and let your imaginations run wild!

For more great gardening tips and advice take a look at the rest of our blog.

The 10 Most Common Gardening Questions Answered

Common gardening questions

Gardeners are a lot like cooks. Some follow the ‘recipe’ exactly, they read all the instructions carefully, and never fail to stick to their watering and feeding schedule. Others just like to scatter a few seeds here and there,  chuck on a layer of compost, and hope for the best.

The truth is that when it comes to gardening you can never guarantee complete success – so when gardeners stand aghast at their wilting wildflowers their drooping daisies and their failed fruit plants despite having done everything ‘right’ they can feel more than a little hard done by.

However, there are some pieces of practical, functional gardening advice that have stood the test of time.  So here are some useful answers to some of the most common gardening questions – ones that you won’t find on the back of a seed packet.

How Can I Find Good Design Inspiration?

If you are serious about perfecting your garden, then you can’t beat checking out how the professionals do it in real life. Visit celebrated gardens, go on garden tours, and ask the experts for advice. Of course, if you are short on time and money then go online and follow influential gardeners, check out social media sites such as Pinterest for design inspiration, and buying a good old-fashioned gardening book can also give you loads of great ideas as well as practical advice on how to achieve them.

How Can I Make Sure I am Utilising My Outside Space To Its Full Potential?

A great garden can feel like an extra room in your house, and no matter how little outside space you have, if you are clever with it, you will find it a comfortable and calming space to relax and enjoy throughout the year. Gardens should be colourful and bright and have places to sit and socialise. Even the smallest of patio gardens can achieve this so make sure you chose your furniture and plants carefully to make the most of your space and work with it rather than cramming it full or neglecting it altogether.

How Often Should I Water My Plants?

This question is widely asked and of course there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. But the truth is however resolutely you follow each plants instructions the only real way to tell if your garden needs watering is by checking it. Stick your finger in the soil – if it’s dried out then your plants are thirsty, and it’s time to get the watering can out. If you try to plan your watering schedule you could easily end up overwatering or under watering your plants – nature is unpredictable, so you just have to go with the flow.

Should I Feed My plants?

Feeding your plants tends to be a good idea, in fact, feeding plants regularly can help them to flourish. This applies in particular to plants and flowers you are growing in containers. Feed them every 4-5 days for the best results (despite what it says on the plant labels). However, remember only to do so when your soil is thoroughly moist – putting food directly onto dry soil can damage your plants.

Are Cheap Plants More Likely To Die?

Providing you buy plants that look healthy, regardless of whether you get them in your local supermarket or at a fancy garden centre, the chances of them flourishing are down to you. Plants at bargain prices aren’t necessarily ‘worse’ however it is important to remember that local plant shops and garden centres might have to put their prices up to survive the competition! It’s also important to look to your garden to provide you with plants and flowers year on year. Take cuttings and save seeds for next year and you won’t need to keep buying new plants every time the sun comes out.

What Are The Best Plants For Pots?

If you don’t have any areas in your garden to sow seeds you can still create a brilliant outside space by using plant pots. You can grow pretty much anything in a pot. Often novice gardeners get put off attempting anything too ‘exotic’ as they think they won’t be able to survive in our less than tropical climate(!). The good news is that you don’t need a greenhouse or even great weather to grow all sorts of exciting plants, fruits and vegetables and flowers. If the weather turns cold, simply bring your more delicate pots inside to keep them warm and protected from the elements. Of course, during the colder months, plants tend to retreat, and having a bunch of bedraggled or barely there plants in your house might not be appealing. However, if you can store them in the basement or a secure shed you can leave them to it over winter and then start to water, feed and tend to them once the warmer weather returns and watch them bloom once more.

How Can I Get Rid Of Weeds?

Weeds can be a serious problem for any gardener, and your focus should be on eliminating them altogether rather than treating them as and when they appear.  A usually successful method is to dig a trench around your garden plot and line with sheet plastic. The trench should be a good foot wide and as deep as you can make it. In this ‘sealed’ area you can treat pesky weeds in a variety of ways such as blocking out the light, cutting off any flowers as soon as they appear to prevent the spread of seeds, and using a non-persistent weed killer.

How Do I Tell What Kind Of Soil I have?

The type of soil you have can have a significant impact on the success of your garden. The consistency of your soil, how acid or alkaline it is, and how well it holds and drains water all affect how well your plants will do. Knowing your garden’s soil means you will be armed with the information you need to tackle any issues that come with your soil type. To discover which type of soil you have to take a look at our recent blog, The Different Kinds of Soil Explained

My Garden Doesn’t Get Any Sun, Will Anything Grow?

While having a sunless garden can be limiting, there are plenty of plants and flowers that are well-suited to the shade and will do well here. Well known bedding plants such as Fuchsia, ‘Bizzy Lizzy’, Begonias and Lobelia will all flower without being in the direct sunshine. Rhododendrons and Hydrangea shrubs don’t need a sunny spot, and snowdrops and ‘Dog Tooth’ Violets also do well. There are plenty of places to find extensive lists of plants that love the shade. For a start, try here: https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=100.

What Plants Work Well For A Fragrance Garden?

There is nothing nicer than stepping into your garden and breathing in a lungful of delicately perfumed air. Fragrance gardens are sweet-smelling and beautiful, and there are plenty of low-maintenance plants and flowers that you can grow to make your garden smell gorgeous. Try Rhododendron luteum, (which has the added benefit of looking rather stunning with its candy yellow flowers), gives off a sweet and fragrant scent until late spring. In summer bring out Evening primrose, lavender, roses and lilies, and you can even keep your garden smelling fantastic in winter with Daphne bholua or Chimonanthus praecox – otherwise known as wintersweet.

There is no one overarching formula that ensures your plants will flourish, or a little-known secret that will suddenly make your garden beautiful. However, as experienced gardeners know time patience and practice are what will help to make your garden great, and understanding the answers to some of the most common gardening questions is an excellent start!

At Bury Hill our team of experts are always happy to help gardeners with tips and advice as well as supply a whole range of high quality gardening and landscaping materials to create your perfect outdoor sanctuary!

The Benefits of Planting Wildflowers in Your Garden

Sowing wildflower seeds in your garden

Planting wildflowers in your garden comes with a whole host of benefits. However, actually caring for these flowers, and getting them to grow in the first place, can be a little tricky.

A wildflower meadow in place of a stretch of lawn can look glorious. Many gardeners assume however, that because of the collective name ‘wildflowers,’ that they can simply sow the wildflower seeds and let nature take its course.

Unfortunately it is not that easy. But with some care and attention you can grow a wildflower meadow without too much hassle! As with all of our products, we provide top quality  and flexible delivery services for the highest level of convenience – and this, combined with the following tips, means you can grow a successful wildflower garden in no time.

Plan your wildflower garden

By planning and preparing your garden before you start planting, you can enjoy a natural, bright and colourful wildflower meadow right outside your window, and once you have got it right you can enjoy it for many years to come.

But why bother planting wildflowers?

Wildflowers are in decline, and research has shown that the decline in these native species of flower has a direct correlation with the pollinator decline.

Essentially, these beautiful flowers allow for bees and other pollinators to continue to thrive – which is very important as this process is vital to the success of many food crops and wildflowers.

A lot of plants and flowers we buy these days have been specifically bred to be low maintenance and do well in our gardens, however, because of this they are not always the best for the insects and wildlife that rely on them.

What are the other benefits of wildflowers?

Wildflowers not only look fantastic but they are tough little flowers that can do well with very little human intervention.

Wildflowers attract and sustain a substantial number of wildlife species, they are also great composter’s and can help to regulate water filtration systems. They support a huge range of different living organisms and do all this while looking pretty glorious too!

However, getting the planting right will make all the difference. Use small plug plants which you can buy from trusted growers for a more thought-out look, or, alternatively use a mix of wildflower seeds and simply scatter over your lawn.

Strangely, if you are hoping to create a wildflower meadow you should try to plant your seed in areas where the soil is poor and the grass on your lawn is patchy and thin.

You also have to be very patient with these flowers and may not see much happening in the first year. If you can’t wait try poppies and cornflowers which usually grow very quickly.

Wildflower maintenance

Once your wildflower meadow is flourishing make sure you wait until the flowers have ripened before you cut them. This usually takes place at the beginning of August. You can then cut them again just before the colder months set in.

Try to introduce as many different varieties of wildflower into your garden as possible. The more diverse your meadow the more species of wildlife will appreciate it and the more colour and texture you will add to your garden too!

So if you are thinking of planting some wildflowers in your garden then go for it! You’ll be doing your bit for the environment as well as making your outside space truly special as well.

Browse our wildflower seeds and order with flexible delivery options to start growing your garden today!

How To Use Decorative Stones To Enhance Your Garden

Decorative stones for gardens

Spruce up your garden this summer with decorative stones!

Decorative stones can be a fantastic way to give your garden a quick makeover, and there are a huge number of different styles to choose from. This quick and simple garden fix can help give your garden a newly landscaped feel, no matter how big or small your outside space is.

Decorative stones can add a different layer to your gardens look, they provide textural interest and can create a sense of space, divide areas, or lead they eye in a certain direction. Garden stones create contrast and depth and work wonderfully with gardens which are bursting with colour and foliage, creating a rustic yet modern look.

So just what can you do with decorative stones?

Here are some ideas:

Create A Garden Path

Landscaping stones can be wonderful for creating a garden path which can cleverly elongate your garden, and guide visitors to different sections within it.

Larger paving stones are an ideal safe flat service if you want to place pot plants, garden furniture or even a fire pit or barbecue on them. Smaller stones can also create a textured, striking look – coloured granite can work well for this.

Garden Gravel

Garden gravel can be a fantastic low-maintenance alternative to a lawn or driveway which requires regular watering and maintenance.

Coloured slate can provide an interesting alternative to the usual grey coloured driveway and can really set off brightly coloured plants and flowers in your garden, either side of the pathway, or even as a flattering contrast to the exterior of your house.

Ponds or Water Features

Decorative stone can work well as a border for a water feature or garden pond.

Using decorative stone around the edges of a water feature draws attention to it and also clearly marks its edges – which of course is useful too!

You can also use garden stones such as natural cobbles to enhance water gardens – the water trickling over the stones brings the countryside right to your doorstep!

Flowerbeds and Planters

Garden stone can also be used to create stunning contrast in your flowerbeds and planters. Softer chippings often work best here such as Cotswold Buff which has a creamy white colour, and looks wonderful against vibrant greens of plants and foliage and bright and colourful flowers too.

Rock Gardens

Give your garden a Zen-like feel and create your very own rock garden.  Pebbles, stones and boulders all can be used to create different shapes, shades and textures in your rock garden. The best rock gardens are a feast for the eyes and combine a variety of plants flowers, and mosses as well as fine pebbles, and colourful stones.

Using stones in your garden can create a number of wonderful effects, refreshing your outside space with the minimum of hassle or maintenance needed.

At Bury Hill we have a fantastic range of decorative gardens stones and chippings which are naturally hard-wearing so perfect for driveways, paths and patio areas, as well as for mulching and dressing flowerbeds and planters. If you would like some advice on what kind of decorative stones will work best for your garden give our friendly team a call on 01306877540 – we’d be happy to help!

The Different Kinds of Soil Explained

Understanding different kinds of soil

Understanding the Type of Soil You Have in Your Garden Will Help Your Garden Grow

Identifying the kind of soil you are dealing with and being aware of the characteristics of different kinds of soil will help you determine whether it will be a good host to your plants and flowers, and if not, what you can do to rectify this.

There are five main types of soil that gardeners can expect to find on their land. Testing which kind of garden soil you have can be done by looking and feeling the soil, and also by seeing how much water it holds.

Sandy Soil

Sandy soil can spell trouble for your garden. It contains large particles, has trouble retaining moisture and feels dry and gritty to the touch.

Not being able to hold moisture is a problem if you are trying to grow plants and flowers – as naturally they need to be able to suck up water and nutrients from the soil in order to flourish.

The gaps that are created between the large particles means water drains straight through the soil making it extremely difficult for roots of the plants, particularly young ones, to reach it.

There are some good sides to sandy soil for a gardener however. The consistency of the soil means it heats up easily creating a mild and warm environment which plants appreciate, and it is light and easy to work with too.

If you have sandy soil you will be able to tell by adding water to it and trying to roll it into a ball, if you cannot do this and the soil reminds crumbly, the soil is sandy.

Silty Soil

Silty soil feels smooth and silky to the touch. This is a reasonably fertile soil, though still can’t hold as much moisture as one would hope for in an ideal garden climate.

Because of its smaller particles it is easy for silty soil to become compacted, which can result in poor aeration -aeration is important for water and nutrients to be easily absorbed into the soil.

Clay soil

Clay soil has the smallest particles of these three, and has a sticky feel when moist, though smooth and silky when dry.

Because of its small particles, its water retention is good. However, this also means that compaction is an issue and if water cannot easily pass through the soil it can become logged if there is heavy rainfall.

It can also be hard to manipulate if the weather becomes very dry so it is important to keep turning it over in the warmer summer months.

Saying that, clay soil is one of the most beneficial for your garden. It is slow draining, which means it will hold onto nutrients better which your plants can then feed off, resulting in more successful plant growth.

Peaty soil

Peaty soil has a rich dark brown colour and feels soft to the touch when dry, and spongy when wet.

Peaty soil holds plenty of organic matter and retains water easily which makes it a useful option in the warmer months as it will hold water, yet also protect your plants roots when heavy rain is experienced.

Peaty soil is often used to help pH levels in soil and control diseases too.

Saline Soil

Saline soil is usually found in very dry regions so is unlikely to be found in the average UK gardeners home!

Saline soil is very damaging to plants due to its high salt content which prevents water uptake by plants. If you have saline soil you are likely to notice a white layer on the surface of your garden soil.

So which kind of soil is best for my garden?

For general gardening the ideal soil type for gardeners is actually a combination of silt, sand and clay soil.

This soil is known as loam soil. Loam soil retains moisture while also draining well and is also easy to manipulate and keep aerated.

If you don’t have loam soil in your garden do not despair! You can help treat your soil with a good soil conditioner, or by adding a layer of nutrient rich topsoil to your garden to give it a boost and help your garden plants to flourish!

Bury Hill has a huge range of premium grade soils to suit any garden and gardener. If you would like to discuss your needs, why not give our friendly and knowledgeable team a call on 01306 877 540?

The Many Uses of Bark and Woodchip

Garden wood chips

Woodchips and garden bark chippings not only look great -they are good for your garden too!

Wood chips are a useful, hassle-free way of making your garden look great, and have been a garden staple for both novice and veteran gardeners for many years. Whether you are looking to create a fresh new look, want to create a pathway or border, or need to cover a section of your garden that’s gotten a little tired, wood chips and garden bark are both great options. But what many people don’t realise is they can actually help your garden flourish at the same time!

So what can you do with garden wood chips and bark chips? Here are just some of their many fantastic uses.


Mulching is a fantastic way to keep your soil in great condition. Covering the soil with a layer of mulch helps it to retain water, and also deters and suppresses weeds from growing through the soil and spoiling your gardens well-kept look.

Contract Ornamental Bark is a popular choice which looks attractive in flower beds or garden pots, making them easier to maintain. A screened mixed Woodchip is another useful option which won’t break the bank, and helps to dress beds and keep weeds at bay.

Both of these compost very slowly, and therefore are very economical – they will only need topping up occasionally, and will keep your garden healthy and looking great for many months to come.

In your garden borders

A layer of garden wood chippings around your garden’s border will create a barrier on top of the soil which makes it difficult for weeds to grow through.

Achieving this look couldn’t be easier.  All you need to do is scatter a layer around 7.5cm thick over your borders, on well-nourished soil and you will have immediate protection.

Spring is the perfect time to do this as the chippings will also protect the roots of flowers and plants from being damaged by the heat of the sun, and help prevent the soil from drying out.

Bear in mind that you need to use chippings which have been specially made for mulching – fresh chippings do not work in the same way and can absorb nitrogen from the soil which is needed to allow plants to grow. The layer of chippings also adds texture and warmth to your garden and keeps it looking neat and tidy too.

In the pots

Garden wood or bark chips can also be useful to cover the soil in plant pots and in hanging baskets, though use finer, smaller chippings if you are going to do this.

This will keep your garden looking uniform and the same benefits for your pot plants and hanging baskets will be achieved – keeping the soil protected and moist, which means you don’t have to worry about such regular watering during the hot summer months.

You can expect to see your pot plants, and all those covered in bark or wood chips, grow quickly as the chips help to encourage plant growth as well as nourish and aerate the soil.

For pathways

A pathway of wood or bark chippings can be a great feature in any garden, creating neat sections and helping to give an impression of space.

If you want a garden path, but would prefer to do it on a budget, chippings are an excellent, low maintenance choice as an alternative to hard pathway materials which take considerably more time, money and effort to lay down.

To achieve the look make sure you put down a membrane between the soil and chippings which you should puncture with holes so water can easily drain through. Your pathway of chippings needs to be quite deep – around 10cm is best, so ensure that you have dug deep enough to be able to achieve this.

For children’s play areas

Playbark is a excellent material for children’s play areas. This durable material is easy to install and makes for a fantastic looking space for children to play in safely – helping to prevent accidents or injuries.  Our play bark is a carefully selected, 100% natural British pine with a lovely pine odour. It is perfect for play areas but can also be used to suppress weeds, and keeps soil moist and healthy too.

What kind should you buy?

There is a wide range of bark and wood chippings available, and they come in a variety of colours so you can find one that you feel will best complement your garden’s ‘look.’

At Bury Hill, our bark and woodchips are perfect for creating a natural, rustic look in your garden, and our top quality play bark is perfect for children’s outdoor spaces.

If you would like to buy wood chippings for your garden, and would like any advice on what kind would be most suitable for your project, why not call our friendly, expert team on 01306877540 or drop us an email today?