Though starting a flower bed from scratch will require some planning and forethought, the process can be fun and exciting. Just the thought of seeing a bloom of beautiful flowers that you propagated into a lovely flower bed is worth all the effort.
There are many types of flowers available and you can plant your flower bed any way you like, large or small, raised or flat, curved, square, or straight, whatever you desire! Keep in mind, you can change your flower bed as times goes on or as space permits.
How to make a flower bed
Take a look around your property and select where you want to create your flower. Take into consideration available light and structures nearby. Check the whereabouts of any underground-utility lines and the closest water source.
Before planting your flower bed, make a sketch. You don’t have to be an expert illustrator; however, this step will help you to solidify your ideas and make choosing your flower bed plants much easier.
Be sure to check for buried power lines or call your utility service to find out their location. In addition to utility lines, be sure to identify any irrigation-lines that may be obscured on your property.
Kill-off any existing vegetation. If the area is woody, pruners or a saw may be required. If the weeds are herbaceous-plants, chickweed, or grass, it will be easier to clear them.
TIP: If possible, prep the outline of your bed in autumn. Use a water hose, flour, or spray paint to outline the silhouette of your bed. If you are creating a raised-bed, determine the type and quantity of edging material you want to use.
Once you have figured out the dimensions of the flower bed you prefer, conceal the dirt and plant material with a few sheets of newspaper. Approximately five to six sheets should do. Afterwards, cover-up the newspaper using a solid layer of compost. Two to three inches should work.
Do not use the part of the newspaper with “color” only use the black and white sections. The ink will not harm your soil. Leave your bed alone until springtime. During the autumn and wintertime, the newspaper will obstruct the light, killing vegetation. Moreover, the newspaper will decompose over the months and once spring arrives, a lovely sheet of compost will appear that you can turnover into the soil. Don’t worry, it’s completely-organic and your soil will ameliorate while killing-off any existing vegetation.
TIP: If spring has already arrived you can plant your flower bed sooner by using an herbicide to kill-off any existing vegetation. Make certain to read and follow instructions carefully. Some herbicides stay active in soil for a while, so be sure to keep this in mind when planning your flower bed. You can also skip destroying any foliage and just move to the next phase, digging.
After the current-vegetation is lifeless, use a spade, tiller, shovel, or garden-fork to toss the bed over. Brand new beds can make it hard for your tiller to break into the soil; therefore, try tossing the bed-over with a shovel or spade first.
When tilling the soil, the soil should be damp, “not wet.” Wet soil will clump as you toss it around and you don’t want that. Too dry soil will be too hard to dig and unhealthy for the soil. When using a spade to turnover the soil, it should separate and look moist. The soil should not stick to dripping-water or your tools.
TIP: A tiller will frequently toss the soil to six to eight inches in depth. It’s better to go twelve inches when turning-over a bed, which makes using a shovel more practical. If you have the motivation, turning the soil to eighteen inches is optimum, though it’s more work. This is known as “double-digging.”
After turning- over the soil, spread a sheet of compost or organic-matter two to three inches on-top of the bed and toss the soil over again mixing the compost and soil together. The compost will add nutrition and enhance the soil structure. Shun compost that is “too fine” or anything with a fine consistency like sand since they tend to putrefy too fast. You need something with both large pieces and smaller-particles. Utilize materials from your compost-pile. If you don’t have a compost-pile, check with a nearby garden center. Afterwards, rake the soil surface to level it out.
Turning the soil over will reveal weed-seeds that were buried previously causing germination. This can be controlled by applying heavy mulch such as bark or pine on-top of the flower bed or try nursing your flower bed with a weed-and-feed product to discourage germination. Make certain to read instructions meticulously if you decide to use weed-and-feed as the product can damage roots underneath if applied improperly.
In addition, do not directly sow vegetable seeds or flowers when utilizing weed-and-feed products since they won’t germinate. Weed-and-feed products demolish any germinating seeds not only weed-seeds.
TIP: If you utilize a weed-and-feed product, you should use foliage pre-prepared in pots to complete your flower bed in early spring. By autumn, the chemicals will be broken-down and you will have the possibility to direct-seed if you wish. Alternatively, you can take a break and wait for the weeds to appear and just pull them. However, this will take more time than using chemical products. You may get a good workout though!
After planting your bed, continue adding a sheet of compost on top of the soil. A sheet of compost or mulch on-top of the soil will stop weeds from thriving, looks tidier, and will assist with maintaining moisture.
How to make a flower bed: Rules of thumb
- Let the soil be moist not wet before tilling
- Flip the soil to at least twelve inches
- Add compost of two to three inches and toss it within the flower bed
- Cover the flower bed with a heavy three to four inch-sheet of mulch, or use a weed-and-feed to stop weeds from germinating
- Top-dress with an additional sheet of nutritional-compost to thwart weeds and maintain moisture
TIP: A beautiful plant mixture like Ferry-Morse Annual Cut-Flower Mixture makes it easy. A pack of seeds includes a stunning mix of gorgeous colors. They thrive easily, and you will have fresh flowers from your flower bed the whole summer to place in your home or give away.
Now that you know how to make a flower bed, you have the possibility to enjoy a beautiful bloom of flowers for many summers to come!