How to Prepare Flowerbeds

Overview

Flowerbed preparation begins with creating an optimal soil base for your plants. Learning how to enhance soil to improve plant health and limit disease requires analysis and planning. Flowering plants require plenty of nutrients to sustain the roots of many plants within the same bed. Competition occurs as plants mature and expand. The proper basic preparation of a flowerbed provides an equal opportunity environment for all plants to grow and thrive in the home landscape.

Step 1

Remove grass and weeds using a shovel to dig at least 6 inches into the soil to remove the roots. Clear the entire area in this manner to limit future invasions of nuisance plants that will require continual work to keep the flowerbed looking groomed.

Step 2

Cultivate the soil using a shovel (or tiller) to stir up the dirt to a depth of at least 8 inches. Scoop out sections of soil and break up the dirt. Cultivation eliminates the sharp dividing lines between soil layers. Compacted soil layers can impede roots or the free flow of water. Stirring up the soil also allows easy mixing of amendments to increase nutrient content. Soil quality dictates the health of your plants.

Step 3

Take a soil sample after cultivation. Use a soil test kit or take a sample to the garden center for complete analysis. Home use soil tests aren't as accurate as a professionally performed soil analysis. Purchase the needed amendments to increase soil quality based on the soil test recommendations.

Step 4

Till or cultivate one-third volume of organic material into the flowerbed. Pour a layer of compost, peat or humus across the garden surface. Use a shovel or rototiller to stir the organic material into the garden soil. Blend the material deeply into the entire flowerbed for even distribution.

Step 5

Add the recommended amendments to the soil surface based on the results of the soil analysis. Stir these additives deeply into the soil using a shovel or rototiller.

Step 6

Smooth the garden surface using a rake. Add a mulch layer (2 to 3 inches deep) after planting flowers in the new garden.

Things You'll Need

  • Tiller
  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Soil test kit
  • Organic material (compost, peat moss or humus)
  • Amendments (based on soil analysis)

References

  • Texas A&M University: Preparing Soil for a Successful New Garden Bed
  • University of Connecticut: Preparing New Garden Beds
Keywords: preparing flower beds, flower bed preparation, preparing a garden

About this Author

S.F. Heron is an avid gardener with three years of experience in online writing and a working background in aviation and earth and ocean sciences. She is published on various sites, including Helium, eHow and Xomba. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.