Building a Flower Bed

Overview

Flower beds give your landscape a variety of colors, forms and flower types. Flower beds do not have to be formal in layout. You can build your flower bed along fences, buildings, pathways, walkways or patio edges. Make your bed circular, square or irregular. Once build, you can fill it with annuals, perennials and flower shrubs. Begin building your flower bed the fall before you plan to plant your flowers.

Fall

Step 1

Remove all grass, weeds and debris in a planting site with well-draining soil.

Step 2

Dig the soil up to the depth of 8 to 10 inches with a shovel. Remove any large rocks and buried debris. Pull out any large roots still in the soil.

Step 3

Spread a 2- to 4-inch layer of well rotted manure or compost. Use your shovel and turn the soil over to mix and bury the organic material. Enriching the soil prepares the flower bed for sturdy flower growth.

Step 4

Let the prepared flower bed rest for the winter. This allows the incorporation of the organic material and lets the soil settle.

Spring

Step 1

Remove any weeds and grass that have invaded the flower bed over the winter.

Step 2

Till the soil as deep as you can with a mechanical tiller. Repeat the tilling until the soil is even in texture and size.

Step 3

Spread a 4- to 6-inch layer of peat moss, manure or sand over the soil. Use peat moss to add drainage and organic material to the soil. If the soil is infertile, use manure to increase the soil's richness. Clay soil does not have good drainage, so use sand to improve the drainage.

Step 4

Till the flower bed again to mix the amendments into the soil. Rake the surface smooth and level. Your flower bed is now ready for plants.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not work the soil while it is wet. Digging and tilling wet soil pushes the air out of the sticky soil and creates compacted soil. Once the soil dries, it will set as hard as concrete.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Manure
  • Tiller
  • Peat moss
  • Rake

References

  • Kansas State University---Garden Center Guide: A Perennial Flower Bed Design
  • AZ Master Gardener Manual: Flower Bed: Perennials

Who Can Help

  • AZ Master Gardener Manual: The Flower Bed
Keywords: building flower bed, preparing garden soil, building garden site

About this Author

Karen Carter has spent the last three years working as a technology specialist in the public school system. This position included hardware/software installation, customer support, and writing training manuals. She also spent four years as a newspaper editor/reporter at the Willapa Harbor Herald.