How To Redo Flower Bed – When I first heard how to make a bed right over the grass … I just blew up. Then there was skepticism… it CANNOT work… right? Although this sounds too good to be true, the method I’m about to explain actually works. I use it all the time and actually have less weeds in my beds than if I cut the grass and till the soil.
So let’s look at how to create a brand new flower bed without digging up all the grass.
How To Redo Flower Bed
Before we get started, I should mention that even though this is called the “no-mining” method, you actually have to do a little more digging. But trust me when I say it’s a LOT LESS than if you did it the other way.
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No-dig gardening is a method created by… well… nobody knows. However, it is believed to have originated many centuries ago! If you want to learn more about this method, Charles Dowding is your man. He spent years and years testing the results of a no-dig garden versus a soil garden. The results are actually amazing.
The theory behind this method is that when you garden, you’re actually affecting the soil structure and growing a lot of weed seeds and stuff. If you keep the soil intact, it’s actually better for all the microorganisms and living things in the soil…all the things that help make the soil fertile and good.
You can learn more about the no-mining method from Charles Dowding himself in this very quick YouTube video: No-Mining Explained in 3 Minutes.
And although Dowding talks about this method mostly related to horticulture, the same methods can be used to create a completely new flower bed in a flower garden almost anywhere. This is a great method if you want to create a new garden bed where there isn’t one already. For example, in the lawn.
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Here are some great resources I’ve written if you’re really interested in all the mechanics of improving your soil. This will help you understand why this method works so well.
Not such a bad list of materials, right? Please note that I have not included landscaping fabric. This method is better than using this crap. But… basically I didn’t include it because you CANNOT use it for this method. The tissues do not allow the decomposition of organic substances in the soil. And so we make a great, nutrient-rich garden bed.
So if you are currently using landscaping fabric…your soil is probably in rough shape underneath. And most weed seeds fall off the top with birds and wind, so you’ll still have weeds. Try this amazing method instead.
Still interested? Great… now let’s just find a patch of grass where we want our new flower bed to be and we’ll be started. Here is a short list of steps that I will cover in more detail in this post.
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The first step is to figure out how big your new flower bed will be. Measure the length and width of the space with a tape measure or flexible horizontal tape measure (I use the one from Komelon).
With measurements in hand, check out this website to determine how much compost and mulch you’ll need to fill your new garden bed. This will also give you an approximate cost associated with the materials.
For example, if you have a bed that is 10 feet long and 10 feet deep, the website will give you the following information:
A word of advice: before we start this project…if you’re new to gardening, you should read this post first to discover the answers to questions you didn’t even know you needed to ask…for now. Then you’ll really be ready to get down to business. 2- Clean the bed area
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At this stage, you need to clear the area in the flower garden. To be honest, I often skip this step…especially if I’m only covering grass. However, if you are working on a rougher area, you may need to remove noxious weeds (ivy, blackberry, Bermuda grass, oxalis, etc.) to get a better start. Also remove all large sticks, stones and other objects from the area.
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This is the only thing you’ll need to dig for, so let’s get that out of the way now! All you need to do is create a border around the perimeter of your garden bed.
Using a sharp shovel, cut a straight line around the bed at least 4 inches deep. Then, on the inside of the bed, cut a diagonal line at least 6 inches from the perimeter to the depth of your first pass to create a V-notch. This will keep all your soil and mulch in your garden. It also helps prevent grass from sprouting in the bed.
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After measurements, the perimeter of the bed should be swept with a shovel. Not me by the way… and not my garden. It’s just some random guy.
Some proponents of this method recommend creating a “trench” about 3-4 inches deep and about 8-12 inches wide. This way you can make the trench wider if you want. Creating a trench will allow you to increase the height of the inside of the bed without applying mulch, soil, etc. on the lawn.
Before covering the area with cardboard, it is necessary to “pre-plant” any larger trees and shrubs. I’d say anything 5 gallons or more you can plant right now (yes, right in the grass). Be sure to plant these trees and shrubs just above soil level because you’ll be adding about 4.5 inches of organic matter to your garden later. Also keep mulch away from the base of your plants or the trunks of trees and shrubs.
This is also a good time to wet the entire area with a hose. This will allow you to water all the plants you just planted. This will start the whole process.
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It’s finally time to put down the paper. If you are using recycled cardboard, it is better to do two layers as it is much thinner than recycled cardboard boxes. I like to do it in a crosshatch pattern. So arrange the rows horizontally, then do the same vertically.
If you use recycled cardboard, make sure it is uncoated. Also remove any shiny plastic or tape. I would recommend using heavy cardboard if you are worried about weed pressure. However, you can also use uncoated newspaper.
I do one layer of thick cardboard, or 8 layers of newspaper, or a combination of both. Whatever paper you use, make sure your materials overlap by at least 6-8 inches. Make sure every square inch of your new bed is very well mulched to prevent weed pressure.
You may be wondering if the ink on your cardboard boxes is safe…but rest assured that the industry standard ink on cardboard boxes is soy-based and won’t harm your plants or soil.
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Place 4 layers of newspaper or a layer of cardboard over the grass to start a no-dig flower bed.
Moisten the paper layer with water. This will hold it in place and start the decomposition process. At first, the water may roll off the paper. If this happens, wait a few minutes, then come back and saturate it again. Repeat if necessary.
Then you simply spread the compost directly onto the cardboard. I usually try not to walk on the bed much at this point. I would start with the compost in the middle and work towards the ends. Apply a layer at least 1.5 cm thick. You can use even more compost if you like. And if there are a lot of weeds in the area when you start, you can make a slightly thicker layer to keep them under control.
This is what it looks like after you cover the paper with a 1.5 inch layer of compost. Not too shabby, is it?
Pricing Guide For Flower Bed Mulching • Special T Landscaping
Now we will add mulch to the top of the pile. I usually apply a layer of mulch 2-3 inches thick if I’m just covering the grass. Again, if you had a lot of weeds when you started, you can make them thicker.
This is what it looks like in the end. A layer of paper, then compost, then mulch and you immediately have a no-dig flower bed.
The use of coarse mulch is recommended for this process. You can try using an arborist or mulch to trim the trees. This is usually a mixture of sawdust and leaves and will work very well. Another option is pallet mulch, which you can usually find at the hardware store. It is made from untreated pallet wood and is either painted or left natural. Then soak the mulch layer with water.
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