Boy is this cool weather perfect for digging in the dirt.  Because of the intense summer heat, I forgot how therapeutic and productive it is to get dirty and garden.  Well, fellow gardeners we have lots to do before the first frost.  Add this one to your weekend yard to do list.

Now, I know I should plan better…and in a way I kind of do.  Since I am new and my yard is really a blank slate, to avoid getting overwhelmed I pick one section at a time.  Like during the summer…I went all tropical and really honed in on 1 existing bed and created 2 others from scratch(where there was really little clearing to do).

With a little more garden confidence, and renewed energy from taking a break during the summer…I am ready to tackle a bigger clearing project.  So I started this weekend.  I bought plants first…which is probably not ideal.  It kind of puts the pressure on to get it done though. Anyway.  I am working on a wild corner of my backyard–remember I am concentrating on my backyard, because that is more for me…the front is for others…no quite ready to share yet;)

What my bed looked like before I cleaned it up...lots of my nemisis..English Ivy.

Take these easy steps to build your next garden bed.

  1. Make a decision. Pick a section and assess if you can do it by yourself.  As much as I hate to admit it…giant trees are something a professional might be best to call.
  2. Gather your tools. Here is the list I used: Fiskars clippers, bow saw, shovel, wheel barrow, round up, cardboard and garden gloves
  3. Identify the big items you need to tackle Use the clippers and bow saw to cut down the larger saplings. Collect and haul off to your compost site, or street-side pick up location.
  4. Roll up your sleeve and start pulling.  It is best to pull weeds or invasive plants like English Ivy after a good soaking rain storm.  The dirt is loose and roots are more likely to come up with a little pull. Remember, as you pull you must get the roots…or you will be coming back a few weeks or months later to pull again.
  5. Spray round up on the sapling stumps. Sorry guys, I tired the vinegar and boiling water for my sweet gum trees and holly but round up was the only thing that worked. Now you will need several treatments of this and wait for the stump and roots to rot before you can dig it up.  I didn’t have too many of these and could move forward with my bed because of their placement in the area.
  6. Evaluate the soil. Mine is all rooty clay, so I am going to start from scratch.  If yours is a little  better, you may need a tiller and some dirt and compost to work in. You may want to till up the layer below just to improve the drainage bit.
  7. Lay a cardboard layer to start your bed. (This is a great way to recycle your cardboard). Plus it helps keep weeds at bay as you begin.  I tried the landscape screening, but found that many of my spreading plants wouldn’t spread because of it.  The cardboard breaks down over time ad still keeps a lot of weeds away.
  8. Shovel conditioned top soil. I do a 2-1 compost ratio with a slow release fertilizer.  Add enough topsoil to raise the bed by 1-2 feet. Depending on how tall you want to go.  The taller the more root space.
  9. Figure out your hard scape to border in order to prevent grass invasion.

Voila…that is how you create a garden bed.  Depending on the light and moisture, you can decide what plants you want to put in.

This is my new bed. Still need to add some more dirt, dig holes for my new plants, mulch and water. But, MAN, what a difference!

I just created mine this week, although I still have a little bit more work to do.  Yeah, it takes some time and energy, but the reward is grand.

Happy Gardening.


After you have your new bed set up, check out how to plant shrubs or find plant recommendation to add in your new garden bed.