The house we just bought had a goldfish pond in the back yard, which has been removed, leaving a hole roughly 1.5 meters squared, by 1 meter deep. I wish to fill in the hole, and plant a flower/vegetable garden over the current spot.

What is the ideal way to fill in this hole, to avoid sinkage, allow proper drainage, etc? I see this question, which is related, but somewhat narrower (focusing simply on whether filling with bricks is appropriate).

What's the proper way to fill in a large hole? What types of materials should I use at which depths, and how, if at all, should these layers be treated (should I tamp each layer as I add it? Add dirt and water to fill in the gaps, etc)?

I have already at my disposal some medium-sized rocks/bricks, as well as a large quantity of dirty landscaping gravel, which I can use as filling. I expect I'll need to buy some topsoil for the top layer. Should I also buy sand, or any other materials, for part of this project?

  • When they grind out large tree stumps around here, they fill the hole with dirt a foot to two feet (0.75 meter) above the ground surface. Let it sit for a year, and the dirt self compacts to fill the hole nicely. -Whatever dirt you use is going to compact. Without driving a buldozer over it, you're going to have to wait for that. Apr 8 '18 at 15:44

There is a permaculture practice of burying logs underground called Hugelkulture. I haven't personally tried this before, but the idea is to start with very large logs or whole trees, followed by thinner and thinner branches moving upwards and then adding a top layer of leaves and grass clippings and if desired covering the whole thing with a layer of soil. I've heard of it being used both underground or raised up like a raised bed. Since the pile will shrink overtime, you might want to build one that is overflowing the pond hole, that way as it decomposes it will end up at soil level.

The main benefits I've read about is that the logs are excellent at retaining water so you won't have to water the plants after the first year. The logs will compost over several years which can provide long-term nutrients for plants. The composting of the logs can even release heat which may extend the growing season. Hugelkulture beds don't require tilling since soil aeration increases as branches break down.

If I had a large hole to fill this would be my go-to method of starting a vegetable garden.

Here is another resource if you want to read more about hugelkulture.

  • 2
    This is an interesting approach I would otherwise never have considered.
    – Flimzy
    Apr 9 '18 at 20:28

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