plants. gardens. friends.

digthedirt is about gardening, outdoor living and loving our planet!

learn more »

Preparing a Flower Bed

by Nate Armstrong (n8armstrong)

Whether you're ready to start growing vegetation or perennials, you are going to need to prepare your flower bed properly. Follow these step-by-step instructions to getting your flower bed ready for a healthy and beautiful garden!

Flower beds that haven't been properly maintained can quickly become overrun by grass, weeds, and debris. Preparing a Flower Bed might seem over-whelming at first, but with the proper steps, it can be accomplished in a quick couple of hours.

Identify Your Flower Bed

If it's extremely overwhelmed with weeds and other plants, identifying your flower bed might be a bit difficult. Hopefully it's not too bad and you are able to tell where the flower bed begins and where it ends.


Get Rid of Debris

Either by hand or with a fan rake, start collecting all the loose leaves, rocks, trash, and any other items that are currently residing in your garden bed. Hopefully this will create some organization out of the chaos and make everything seem much more manageable. Discard trash and set bigger rocks aside for later use.

If you have pre-existing sprinklers, be mindful of them and be sure not to damage them as you move things around. If you don't have some kind of irrigation system installed, you may want to think about adding Orbit sprinklers before you begin planting.

Start Picking Weeds

This is the part where you dive into the mess and start getting your hands dirty. Not literally, of course. It is always advised to wear gardening gloves to protect your hands from thorns, bugs, and unfriendly weeds.

When preparing a flower bed, it's easiest to pull the biggest weeds first. Once you've cleared out all the tall ones, you can get down on your hands and knees and pull the medium to small sized weeds one at a time. Grab low and try to get as much of the roots as possible. Don't worry about the tiny weeds right now. You can pull them out once we start tilling the soil.

Till the Soil

Whether you till the soil with a great big till machine or by hand, it is the same. The whole point to tilling the dirt is to loosen the soil and any remaining roots. If you don't have a tiller, you can loosen the dirt with a shovel and/or a hoe. Break up and turn over all the dirt from the surface to about 12 inches deep.

As you till, watch for small weeds or clumps of roots. Some people will shovel a small section of the garden soil into a wheelbarrow, sift through it, discard any and all weeds, and then return the soil back to the flower bed.


Add Soil Amendments

The last step to preparing a flower bed is to add soil amendments. Soil Amendments improve the physical properties of soil and are mixed into the soil to increase water and nutrient holding capacity as well as improve aeration and water infiltration. Soil amendments help the soil, while fertilizers help the plants. Treat soil amendments differently than you would fertilizer. And do not confuse soil amendments with mulch. Mulch is placed on the soil surface whereas soil amendments are mixed into the soil.

Some examples of soil amendments include but are not limited to:

  • Manure
  • Lime
  • Plant-Tone
  • Compost
  • Wood Chips
  • Saw Dust
  • Grass Clippings
  • Bark
  • Peat
  • Vermiculite
  • Perlite
  • Gypsum
  • Hay
  • Straw
  • Leaf Mold

Spread all the soil amendments you plan to use on the surface of your tilled soil, and then turn it over a few times to get the amendments mixed in.

Plant and Mulch

Now that you have prepared your flower bed, you can start planting! Add a nice layer of mulch to protect your plants and to increase the value and presentation of your vegetation and/or perennials.

About the Author:

Nate Armstrong is a 20 year old college guy that enjoys learning and writing about all things landscaping and gardening. If you liked this post, you will love him on Twitter but won't find him on Pinterest.



Flower Bed gardening preparing flower bed preparing a flower bed how to prepare a flower bed begin gardening