how to prepare a garden bed for planting shrubs

how to prepare a garden bed for planting shrubs

When you’ve acquired a pair hours, you’ll be able to create a new shrub and flower mattress utilizing these 8 low-dig steps! Utilizing a simple layered approach that feeds the soil from the highest down, this creates a border that will get extra stunning via the years.

8 easy steps to a new shrub-flower bed

You're reading: how to prepare a garden bed for planting shrubs

I am excited to share how straightforward it’s to remodel a weedy patch of yard right into a neat and tidy new shrub and flower mattress in simply eight straightforward steps and fewer time than you’ll assume.

Actually, Brian and I had been in a position to full the mattress pictured beneath (roughly a 20 x 8 toes space) in only a couple hours one Saturday! And never solely that, we set it as much as be low upkeep utilizing soakers and our paper-and-mulch system.

Replace: see images on the finish of how nice this complete border seemed just a few years later with nothing greater than some pruning and a yearly topping of paper and compost mulch (that feeds the soil, so no want for additional fertilizers).

Side yard bed before

The mattress pictured above was one of many final, wild areas of our yard, situated on the aspect of our home.

It used to carry a cyclone-fence canine run left by the previous house owners (yeah, it was a gorgeous factor to take a look at, let me inform you). Since our canine does not run away and sleeps inside, we did not want it.

Each time we make a brand new mattress or border in our yard, we take the identical eight straightforward steps, regardless of if we’re beginning with grass or weed-filled floor like this space.

This has labored so effectively for us that I wished to share a tutorial to be able to see how straightforward it may be to make a low upkeep, low dig mattress for perennials, shrubs, annuals – and even bushes. Principally something you’d prefer to develop.

The Vegetation

First, let’s discuss vegetation. We would have liked this space to be easy-care, however look good as a result of it is seen from the visitor lavatory window inside and the gravel patio outdoors.

So we determined to plant principally shrubs on this nook that may assist join it to the remainder of the border across the yard, however not take a lot care. Listed below are the shrubs we planted:

  • 3 Arborvitae (these proceed the sample of an arborvitae at every fence put up alongside the whole size)
  • 1 Doublefile Viburnum (rooting from one other shrub on our property)
  • 1 Variegated Pieris japonica (proceed the border sample of 1 in between the arborvitae)
  • 1 pink Escallonia
  • 1 hydrangea (rooting from one other hydrangea on our property)
  • 1 perennial foxglove (additionally seeded from others on the property)

Selecting a mix of evergreens as a backdrop or all through the mattress to offer winter curiosity is a good suggestion. Then fill in with bigger shrubs to the again, medium shrubs and bigger perennials within the center and smaller perennials within the entrance.

TIP: It is best when you can repeat vegetation moderately than have a mass of singles. For us, the arborvitae and pieris japonica repeated from the lengthy border, and the viburnum and foxglove are present in different areas of the yard.

8 Straightforward Steps to a New Shrub and Flower Mattress

digging out perennial weeds

1. Take away perennial weeds and any massive weeds.

The massive weeds had been straightforward to drag on this space and there weren’t too many dandelions, so this step went rapidly. If it appears overwhelming, use black plastic to kill the weeds a few month earlier than planting after which simply rake them away.

We did should take away a layer of gravel that had been used within the canine run, which Brian is doing above, however clearly, this is not typical.

2. Add a two to three-inch layer of excellent backyard soil.

When you’ve acquired any composted manure, combine it on this layer, although it is non-compulsory and we did not use it right here.

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TIP: We have efficiently used horse manure in constructing beds as a primary layer (which is notoriously stuffed with weed seeds) as a result of it’s then lined with extra layers.

Side yard bed during border creation

3. Place the vegetation, of their pots, the place you want them to go.

Shifting the vegetation round throughout this step is far simpler than after digging holes, as you may guess.

Greatest Tip: Take into consideration the dimensions of the shrub when totally grown and depart satisfactory room.

That is the toughest half, I do know! It appears to be like so naked – however take it from somebody who’s moved too many overgrown vegetation in her room for development.

Perennials I do not fear a lot about – they typically want dividing and fooling with anyway, however shrubs are there to remain, so place them the place they’ll develop totally.

4. As soon as you’ve got selected the place the vegetation go, dig the holes.

Now, as an alternative of digging the entire mattress (which in all honesty, we have by no means executed), simply make the holes for the vegetation two instances greater than the container and blend in a few of the good soil and compost.

This has labored very well for us – particularly with shrubs.

TIP: If the plant has roots circling the pot, use your arms, a trowel, or knife (or perhaps a shovel for actually root-bound vegetation) to drag or reduce them aside to present the roots a beginning probability. In any other case they might simply proceed within the root-bound sample and by no means develop wholesome.

5. Fill in across the vegetation with unique soil blended with good soil.

Tamp down across the plant to assist the roots agency within the soil. Then give every plant a very good soaking with water. If the soil round sinks some after watering, add a bit extra soil.

TIP: It is a good suggestion with new vegetation to go away a circle of soil across the plant that is decrease than the encompassing soil to behave as a catch for water and assist it keep across the roots and never run off.

Soaker Hose Watering flower bed

6. Lay a soaker hose or a drip-type system.

That is for these of us with out sprinkler programs, however it’s key to wholesome vegetation and low upkeep.

Guarantee that the hose is subsequent to all of the vegetation, however it does not have to circle them – solely in case you have sufficient hose to spare.

new flower bed-cardboard under mulch

7. Cowl the whole space with thick layers of newspaper or overlapping cardboard.

You’ll be able to go right here to learn extra about our newspaper-and-mulching system to maintain weeds down.

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Since we weren’t planning on planting anything on this mattress quickly, we used cardboard which lasts a bit longer than newspaper.

TIP: Put the paper beneath the soaker hoses. You may change 6 and seven and lay the paper first, in fact, however I discover that the hose helps maintain down the paper, although I do should hold lifting it up.

new flower bed-paper covered with mulch

8. The final step is to cowl the paper with a 2 to 3-inch layer of compost.

Cowl the hoses when you can, too, to make it look tidier.

What sort of mulch? Does it should be compost?

I like utilizing the stuff labeled “backyard compost” at our native yard merchandise middle. It is black (as an alternative of orange like bark mud), and feeds the soil because it breaks down, offering all of the diet these shrubs will want.

Utilizing this I by no means wanted to fertilize the borders round our home within the 12 years we lived there and so they flourished (take a look at the final backyard tour right here to see them crammed out).

That stated, you should use bark, wooden chips, pine straw, or no matter you need for the highest layer. Simply be ready to fertilize your shrubs yearly.

Earlier than & After New Shrub and Flower Mattress

Weedy eyesore space earlier than…

Dog-run bed before

And completed mattress just some hours later:

Side yard bed after

(Do not thoughts the plastic – the grass was so stuffed with dandelions we determined to kill all of it and begin recent because the border now seemed so good!)

In order that’s it! No heavy digging and some hours of labor and our weedy space was gone without end. Is that superior, or what?


Here is extra of the border just a few years later to point out how they vegetation thrive with this planting methodology (I did add just a few extra vegetation, a-hem):

What areas are you going to sort out?

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Easy steps to a new flower border

This how-to has been up to date – it was initially printed in July of 2012.

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