While starting a flower bed requires some planning and forethought beforehand, it's not as difficult as one might think to build a flower bed from scratch. There are many types of flower gardens, and no two are ever quite the same. You can plant a flower bed any way you like – big or small, curved or straight, raised or flat – whatever. Flower beds can also be changed as time goes on or as space permits. First, let's look at how to create a flower bed.
How to Create
So you want to build a flower bed. Where do you begin? Before starting a flower bed, you need to plan. Take a stroll around your property and choose a suitable location. Take note of available light and nearby structures. Determine the whereabouts of any underground utility lines and the nearest water source.
Before you plant a flower bed, you should make a sketch. This is important, as it allows you to play around with ideas, like the size and shape of the flower bed. It will also make it easier when choosing plants, as these should always be compatible with the area. Next, use a hose, spray paint, or flour to mark out and shape the bed. If building a raised bed, determine the type and amount of edging material as well.
How to Start
Once you know how to create a flower bed, you're ready to build it. Depending on its location, size, and whether or not containers are used, starting a flower bed often begins with removing grass. There are several ways to accomplish this – dig it out, apply herbicide or smother it with cardboard or newspaper.
If you choose to dig out the grass, it will be easier to use a flat shovel. Dig down about 4 or 5 inches (10 or 12.5 cm) around the bed's perimeter. Include sections inside the bed as well, especially for larger ones. Then carefully lift out or peel back the sod. Clear out any debris and loosen the soil, working in organic matter. Add some plants, water thoroughly, and mulch generously to keep out weeds. Don't forget to add an attractive border to define the edges.
Most people prefer the no-dig approach. It starts with eliminating the grass, as we did in the digging method. While using herbicides can effectively kill grass, it may not be suitable for planting until much later, as herbicides are not environmentally friendly. However, you can easily smother grass quickly and effectively without using harmful chemicals simply by using cardboard or newspaper.
You can start the no-dig bed in early spring for summer planting or build a flower bed in fall as the grass begins to go dormant. Fill the area with cardboard or several layers of newspaper and saturate with water. Add about 6 inches (15 cm) of compost or fertile soil on top with another layer of organic mulch (like a straw) on top of this. Using the no-dig method, you could plant a flower bed right away if the grass were dug out or within the next season.
- Plantpedia: Browse flowering plants by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, or Origin