Need ideas for filling a space next to the house where a large tree's roots don't allow me to dig holes for planting

I have a large Bradford Pear Tree that was planted about 6 ft from my house. I prepared a place (3x12) beneath the tree along the side of my house to put in a flower bed full of shade tolerant plants. The problem is the roots to this tree are so pervasive that I can't dig a hole anywhere in this space, the roots are just too tough. What in the world can I do to fill this space since I am unable to plant? It's so bare!! Any suggestions? *I'm a beginner to outdoor decorating/landscaping btw*
Submitted by RYANANDKENDALL

Hi,

 

Thanks for writing! Resist the temptation to add soil by creating a planting bed; if you do, you could harm or even kill your tree by smothering its roots. (Tree roots need a little air; the deeper the soil, the less air they get.)

 

Another option is to probe around for small spots where you can dig a small hole and plant groundcovers in those spaces. Keep them well watered and the groundcovers should take off, eventually covering the area for you.

 

If you can't dig holes at all, I'd suggest growing plants in containers that sit on top of the soil. You can create a lovely arrangement with a few large pots, for example. That's really the only thing you can do if you're unable to dig holes.

 

---Justin, Senior Garden Editor, BHG.com

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Build up the soil. If you build up the soil by adding a mixture of compost and soil, vermiculite or perlite and get a base of about 12-18" then you can plant your annuals or perrenials. Good luck.
Submitted by jpoato