How to Fill a Victorian Garden Well

Written by aurora lajambre
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How to Fill a Victorian Garden Well
Convert an attractive garden well into a raised plant bed. (Dynamic Graphics Group/Dynamic Graphics Group/Getty Images)

Victorian garden wells offered elegance and convenience to gardeners when they were first installed over 100 years ago. Today, an empty dry well is a hazard to children, adults and pets. You can preserve the aesthetic charm of a Victorian well by filling it in and converting the top into a raised plant bed. Filling a well is laborious and requires professional equipment, but it's the best way to prevent dangerous falls.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Chisel
  • Sand
  • Tamper machine
  • Gravel
  • Top soil
  • Flowers
  • Mulch

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  1. 1

    Check that all working drainage systems and pipes do not filter into the well. Any seeping water will destabilise the well.

  2. 2

    Pry the first two rows of blocks from the well and let them fall into the well if you do not plan to convert it into a raised plant bed.

  3. 3

    Pour sand into the well until you are within 12 inches of the top.

  4. 4

    Use a tamper machine to compact the sand until it is firm. Compacting the sand prevents it from shifting over time. If you don't own a tamping machine, you can rent one from a home improvement store.

  5. 5

    Add a 2-inch layer of gravel over the sand for drainage. Fill in the 10 inches that remain with native top soil.

  6. 6

    Plant a bed of miniature roses or low-growing flowers in the top soil. As a nod to the Victorian era, you can arrange flowers in a geometric pattern or plant clusters of pink and pale blue flowers to resemble the lush fabric used in Victorian homes.

  7. 7

    Spread a 2-inch layer of mulch around the plants to prevent weeds from growing and retain moisture in the soil.

Tips and warnings

  • You can purchase sand in bulk at local nurseries and home improvement stores.

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