Hi, I'm looking for some advice cos I am a total novice at gardening!
I'm getting decking put down over the old concrete base where our garage used to be (it was demolished last year). There is a one meter space between the side of the old garage base and the neighbours fence. I'm keeping this area undecked and plan to grow shrubs there so we can get our privacy back (neighbours can see right into our garden since the garage was demolished).
From what I can see there is barely any soil is this area but only leftover bits of hardcore that the builders dumped there (we had an extension built) and this is on top of blaze (spelling?), which is that orange stuff that's on school football pitches IYKWIM. I was planning on digging down a bit but I'm not sure of the following:
A) how far do I dig to plant shrubs? B) how do I know if the area is well drained or not? C) what type of soil do I put in this area to grow shrubs? D) I have lots of veggie bed soil leftover that I bought last month, will this do? E) what types of shrubs are best for growing bushy and thick to about 2m in height for privacy?
The area in question has full to partial sun for about 4 or 5 hours a day.
I'd grow buddleia there, most varieties will grow with minimal soil, it is great against a fence as you prune it hard every year meaning you can paint the fence easily when needed. It attracts lots of butterflies and moths and you can get quite different varieties.
A fig might establish and most Mediterranean herbs and lavenders would grow well. I would choose plants that can cope with what is there rather than be having to constantly top-dress, feed and water whatever you plant.
To see if it's well drained dig a foot-deep hole and pour in a bucket of water. See how long it takes to drain away. If it disappears in seconds it's very well drained; if it just sits there you have no drainage and will have a swamp in winter.
Shrubs need to go in at the level they were in the pot but you need to dig a bigger hole than the pot so they can get their feet down. Although figs/buddleia will manage in a fairly constricted space