How To Use Natural Clay in Your Garden

If you have a clay-rich soil, or deposits of natural clay in your garden, then you have a valuable natural resource at your disposal. Clay can be used for a range of different purposes in your outside space. Below are a few ideas to help you make full use of the natural clay in your garden:

Cob wallBuild Garden Structures

Clay is an incredibly valuable natural building material. It can be used along with straw or other organic material to create adobe or cob which can be used to create a wide range of garden buildings, garden walls and other structures throughout your outside space.

Create Paths or Path Edges

Clay can also be used to create garden paths or path edging – either on its own, mixed to make cob or adobe, or used as a material to bind stones or other items together. Clay, like stone and other materials of this sort, is good at storing the sun's energy. Its high thermal mass means that it will help keep plants warm by storing the sun's heat and releasing it slowly when temperatures fall.

pondLine a Garden Pond

A thick layer of natural clay can also be used as an alternative to plastic or rubber liners for a garden wildlife pond or even a natural swimming pool. If you are lucky enough to have a bountiful supply of clay in your garden, it can really help you to manage the water in your garden.

cob ovenCreate a Clay Oven

Clay can also be used for a range of other projects that will enhance the amenity of your garden from a human perspective. For example, clay can be used to make the dome of a clay oven. Built atop a stone base, for example, a clay dome could be used to create a pizza oven which could form the centre piece of an outside kitchen. A clay oven can also be used for firing charcoal – allowing you to make your own charcoal to soak in compost tea to create biochar to fertilise your growing areas, or to use on your garden barbecue.

Clay pot irrigationMake Unglazed Clay Pots for Clay pot Irrigation

If you are feeling ambitious, you could even use the clay in your garden to create a primitive outdoors firing pit/ dome to fire clay pots. Making your own unglazed ceramic pots by heating clay to very high temperatures can allow you to make ollas, or clay pots, which can be used for irrigating beds and borders. Water will seep slowly though these pots, which are buried in the soil near plants, and will be taken up by the roots of nearby plants.

Clay can, of course, also be used for a wide range of other crafty projects for your garden and your home. Are you sitting on an untapped resource in your garden? Why not make use of this natural material to enhance your garden?