Sandy Soil – Download our useful guide

Sandy Soil:

How to contend with a sandy soil or free draining soil.


The main problem you have with soils that are fast draining or sand based is that the water drains away faster than most plant roots can absorb it. To compensate, many plants will grow their roots toward the water source, which is more likely nearer the surface; to enable as much root area as possible to ‘catch’ the water as it hits the ground, but this leaves the plant more susceptible to the heat and drying effect of the sun – so the plants wilt faster!


Free draining soils can also be pretty short of plant nutrients too, so your planting scheme has to allow for this, unless you want endless evenings with a watering can and adding copious amounts of manure.


Obviously you can improve the soil conditions to enable you to grow a wider range of plants, and that is fine, but if you don’t have the time or you can’t really improve the soil much, you can still have a lovely garden, but you need to be more selective and realise your garden need to stick a ‘strict diet’ of frugal plants for it to thrive – and there are many….


There are thousands of plant species that thrive in the most inhospitable places (like deserts!) and grow, and before you think, deserts are hot and sunny, don’t forget they are also very cold and dry too. You need plants that are adapted to storing water in roots, plants that don’t lose precious water by ‘transpiring’ so their leaves are tough, shiny, thin and quite often grey. You can choose oodles of bulbs that only party for a short period before disappearing again, there really is quite an extensive list.!

For more information on the types of soil and how to improve your soil – visit our page on Digging


Download our ‘Rule of Thumb’ guide to getting the right types of plants in the right place for your garden.


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Alternatively, If you don’t want to work out which plants to use in your borders, we do have lots of ready made designs you can download for your garden instead. Think of them a bit like recipe cards for the just like we all reach for a cookbook to find something yummy to cook – you can reach for one of our ‘recipes’ and create little plots of ‘happiness’ in your garden too. So have a browse, well; go and make a coffee first and then have a browse!


For lots more advice on soil types, preparing and planting :

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Or if nothing answers your query here, do get in touch and we’ll always try to help out.

You can also download our guides for other soil types too…

Acidic soil  Good Soil 2 Poor soil  Clay soil