Building a beautiful flower bed is well worth the time and effort it takes to get it going. And when you know how to do it, it’s really not that hard at all! Read on for a handy step-by-step guide on how to make a flower bed you can enjoy all season long.
Before doing any sort of digging or planting, the first and most important step in how to build a flower bed is to survey the space where you will grow your garden. Don’t rush this step. Take several days to really look at and assess the land. Study the sunlight patterns, check the soil for moisture, pay attention to water access. It is even important to look at the slope of the land. Is it on a hill that will make watering difficult? Is it at the bottom of an elevation where spring rains may flood plants? Each of these considerations will be important when planning and planting your garden.
Remember that size matters, too. It is important to know how big a planting area is before choosing plants. Overcrowding a garden bed with small plants that will eventually grow much larger is a sure way to make them struggle as they end up vying for light, water and food.
Assessing the soil is important too. It is necessary to have a full understanding of soil type before choosing plants and flowers. Plants all have their own needs when it comes to soil. Performing a simple soil test will determine the soil’s pH. From there, it is simple to amend soil before planting if needed. The desired pH will depend on what will be planted, but a basic range for most plants (though not all) is 6.5.
Soil falls into 5 main types:
Choosing plants is the fun part of creating a flower bed. Be sure to think about sunlight and soil type when deciding what to plant. Also consider whether a perennial or annual should be planted. Perennials will come back year after year, whereas annuals die back at the end of a season and do not return the next year. You don’t always have to grow difficult-to-maintain plants to have a beautiful garden. There are many hardy low-maintenance plants that are great if an easy yard is the goal. Some of the easier plants to grow include:
Increase your chances of success by using the companion planting method. Companion planting is the idea that certain plants will help one another when planted in close proximity. For example, marigolds will help nearly any nearby growing vegetables, particularly tomatoes. And Zinnias attract ladybugs, which are well-known to help control cabbage flies.
Watering a new flower garden properly will help new plants become established. While each flower and plant can vary in terms of water needs and drought tolerance, a good rule of thumb is to water just 1” of moisture each week. Account for rainfall in that measurement and be sure to water a bit more during unusually dry spells or heat waves.
Watering newly planted flowers is critical to how well a plant will do. Water too much and root rot is likely. Water too little and you can expect wilting. In worst case scenarios, a new plant that doesn’t get the right amount of moisture may die.
Knowing when to start planting flowers depends on the type of flower you are going to plant and what zone you live in. Some plants are more sensitive to frost, so it is important to know the last and first frost dates in your zone. When it comes to planting, everything is dependent on these two dates.
You can turn any grass area into a flower bed by removing the grass in the space you want to plant. Once the lawn is gone, till the area 8 – 12” deep, completely breaking up the soil. Edge the area or add a border to keep surrounding grass from creeping into your new flower bed.
How deep you should dig a flower bed will ultimately depend on the types of flowers that will be planted. The minimum depth should be at least 6” as the majority of plants will need a depth of 6-12” deep. 12” is also a safe bet.
Edging a flower bed requires a half moon edger or a sharp flat-blade spade and some weight. Facing the bed, make sharp slices in an even line all the way around the bed. Do not remove the edged turf until the end. Turn, and with your back to the bed this time, cut into the turf at an angle to slice the grass clods you originally dug. Lift out and compost the clods.
Making a flower bed is rewarding and can be fun. With the right tools and knowhow, it is just a matter of time until you are ready to sit in your garden and enjoy the flowers you have grown.
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