I am in the process of putting in a new landscape. What can I do to amend the clay soil?
Organic matter is the key to improving clay, sandy or rocky soils. It helps improve drainage in clay soil and increase the water-holding ability in sandy and rocky soils. Add at least a 2 to 4 inches of compost, peat moss or aged manure to the top 12 inches of soil.
Use organic mulch such as woodchips, evergreen needles or shredded leaves directly on the soil once the beds are planted. As the mulch decomposes it adds organic matter to the soil below further improving the soil.
It takes a time to build good soil, but it is well worth the effort. Some gardeners decide to shorten the process by buying blended topsoil. These gardeners replace the existing soil or create raised planting beds. Shop at a reliable source recommended by friends and relatives. You do not want to spend money for the same or worse soil than you already have.