Creating a Garden Bed From Scratch

Do you have a lovely lawn that you want to convert to flower beds? Maybe not even the entire lawn, just that one bit, over there. . .the part that's covered in grass. The one you KNOW is going take so. much. work . to turn into a garden. 

Well, I won't lie, creating a garden bed from scratch, especially over existing lawn, does take some work.  But, maybe not as much as you think, and it definitely can be done without using herbicides!  Here's my 6 step process for creating a garden bed from scratch.

1. Mark the edges of the bed

Basically, draw the bed right where you want it to be.  You can do this with string, or a chalk spray, or anything that will temporarily indicate the shape.

2. Create an edge  

You can watch this video to learn more about creating an edge, but really all this means is dig a shallow trench around the bed along the lines your marked, separating it from the surrounding lawn. That separation prevents weeds and grasses from sending their roots underground into your garden bed!

3. Smother grass & weeds  

If you're creating a bed on top of existing lawn, you need to get rid of the grass underneath.  Fortunately, there's a pretty easy way to make that happen! Just put down a thick layer (or layers) or cardboard, or newspaper, or kraft paper, and secure them so they don't blow away.  

4. Test & amend the soil as needed

Conduct a soil test to see if your garden bed may be lacking nutrients. If you don't have much topsoil, or the soil isn't so great, you can remove the layer of cardboard or newspaper after it's done its job, remove the dead grass, then work in amendments to the soil.  Alternatively, you can add a layer of topsoil or compost above the cardboard, as it will eventually decompose anyway.

5. Plant and Mulch (or Mulch and Plant)

Do this in whichever order you prefer! Personally I find it easier to mulch first, especially if I'm dealing with a large space.  Plus, if I plant first I run the risk of stepping on or otherwise damaging my baby plants as I mulch.  But it is up to you!

6. Water

No matter what you planted, it will most likely need a regular watering until its roots have a chance to grow out and the plant is established.  This might take days, or weeks, or longer, so do you research and figure out what your particular plants need. To make life easier on yourself, and to conserve resources, consider using a drip irrigation system.

Do you have any tried and true tips or techniques you use when creating a garden bed? Share in the comments!