Soil removal area

(Question)

Small Downtown backyard. Want to fill with limestone and gravel, so that paving stones are placed, and have potted plants. Would like to know who can take soil. Have tried the bin or bag method, however lane way cannot be interrupted for a long period of time.

Would like to have handled in the moment, such as park, pickup and leave. Can you suggest where I should look for help ?

 

(Answer)

Thank you for writing. Doing the math, your project sounds to be a substantial undertaking— both in scale, and weight, of the material to be disposed.

Garden waste bags are picked up from homeowners by the City of Toronto, but sod, soil and grass clippings are on the prohibited list. The same would apply to the green bins. But speaking of bins, have you considered contacting a landscape service, who would be able to rent a suitable bin, and manage delivery and removal to an approved site according to Toronto by-laws. Here is the  City information page regarding this: http://www.toronto.ca/311/knowledgebase/59/101000038859.html

Toronto Master Gardeners can suggest that you be in touch with Landscape Ontario: their site will guide you to a variety of garden and landscape professionals you could contact for the help, and advice, you need, in your area. http://www.landscapeontario.com

While you haven’t specifically asked for help with your actual backyard concept, the question comes to mind as to why you feel you need to remove all the existing soil to an 18″ depth: has the soil been contaminated, or is it in very bad condition? Is the area open to sunlight, or shaded? What is growing in the neighbouring areas? You don’t specify what type of plants you want to grow, but, if you’re referring to annuals, please be aware that in Toronto’s weather-hardy zone of 5b, plants you grow in these pots will not, generally speaking, thrive into the following spring. While it seems like you’re aiming for a very low-maintenance area, you still may wish to consider modifying your back yard plan to include a combination of gravel/paving stones mixed with good quality open ground, or built-in planters to hold perennial vines, bulbs or even small evergreens.

There are always many good solutions to everyone’s landscaping/ gardening issues. Our TMG’s site contains many, many answers to gardeners’ questions specifically regarding “Container Gardening”  http://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/?s=container+gardening.  We sincerely hope that some of our questions, and suggestions, will be helpful to your project.