Expert Soil Advice

Exasperated but determined, she took the advice of a soil scientist at her local cooperative extension service and set about removing 2 feet of tainted soil and amending the foot below it with peat moss mixed with coarse sand. She topped that with a mix of leaf humus, sand, and topsoil. "I grossly underestimated the time it would take for one woman with a shovel to do the job," she says.

Shown: A favorite dinner spot, the patio is screened from neighboring houses and nestled beside a rose-covered fence.
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