How to establish a new garden bed
Creating a beautiful outdoor space is one of the privileges of having your own home, where you can literally put down some roots.
If you’ve inherited a well established garden, most of the hard work is done for you although you may want to make some modifications.
But if you’re starting from scratch, here’s our easy step by step guide to help you establish your own piece of paradise.
Step by step guide to building new garden beds
Here are our five simple steps:
Mark out the beds
Remove existing lawn and plants
Work the soil
Improve your soil
1. Mark out the beds
Using your plan (or napkin sketch) mark out the new garden beds.
- Use a flexible garden hose to outline the beds. Tweak until you are happy with the shape and depth of them.
- Use a spot marker (paint can) to trace around the hose, marking the outer limit of the beds clearly.
2. Remove existing lawn and plants
There are several ways to clear away existing lawns and weeds; the decision comes down to doing it by hand or using a herbicide.
- Removing by hand involves digging up the garden beds and pulling all the weeds and sprigs of grass from the soil. It is important to get as much of the existing plant material out of the soil as possible, otherwise plants regrow.
- You could also lay black plastic over the new gardens beds and letting the sun cook the plants and heat treat the soil to kill roots and seeds.
3. Work the soil
Using a spade, dig the soil over to a depth of at least a spade and a half. This helps open up the soil to improve air and water penetration.
Don’t be too fussy at this stage, just break it up roughly as the next step will involve turning the soil again.
4. Improve your soil
All soils can be improved with the addition of organic matter.
- Spread compost and sheep pellets over your new garden beds and use a garden fork to turn into the soil. This helps to not only break up the existing soil, but incorporate the organic matter throughout the soil profile.
- Be generous - this is the easiest time to really improve your soil, while the beds are empty.
- If your soil has a high clay component, add gypsum now too. This will help break up the soil and keep it open.
Now you’re ready to plant. Learn more about the next step.