Make a rustic brick planting circle

A brick circle set into a lawn makes an ideal space for growing herbs, small annuals and perennials. Here, reclaimed bricks have been used to give a cottage-garden look that’s more forgiving if your geometry goes a bit awry. Choose bricks in a variety of hues and colours, then
mix them around to avoid placing similar-looking bricks together. Choose a sunny spot with well-drained soil. Mark out the circle and central planting hole before excavating the soil to the required depth. Add a layer of sharp sand to help get a level finish and lay the bricks on top. Then plant up.  

HOW TO BUILD THE CIRCLE

1. Position the bricks This will help you work out the overall size and radius of your circle, and confirm you’ve ordered enough bricks before starting. Use a stick, garden fork or sturdy parasol base as the circle’s centre point.

2. Mark the line in paint Attach a length of string, cut slightly longer than the circle’s radius, to the centre point. Use it to mark out the circle’s circumference with white lawn paint or a trickle of sharp sand poured from a plastic bottle.

3. Dig out the turf Make your turf recess just deeper than brick height: 10-15cm (4-6in) deep. This picture shows the circle with the central parasol base removed. The central lawn circle will be removed once all the bricks are laid.

4. Check it’s level Cut a plank of wood the same width as your bricks to the radius of the circle. Lay a spirit level on top to check the entire circle is level. Then add a layer of sand to help settle the bricks and adjust them easily.

5. Use half bricks first Start by laying half-bricks around the central circle. These prevent large gaps from occurring between each brick, giving a more uniform appearance. Use string to check each row is centred neatly. 

6. Remove some of the bricks This will create neat areas for compost and planting. Dig out the turf from the centre to avoid a tiny circle of lawn in the middle. Either plant it up or infill with paving or tiles.

• This is an extract from The Upcycled Garden by Steven Wooster and Susan Berry (£15.99 Berry & Co). To buy a copy at the special Garden Answers reader discount of £12 please buy the May issue for details.

 

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