Preparing soil for planting a new garden bed is not difficult, but the process can vary slightly based on the starting condition of the soil and what you intend to plant. Some types of plants may require specific soil additions to create the appropriate pH levels, for example, but preparing the soil generally follows the same basic steps for everything.
Remove all grass, sod, weeds and rocks from the soil area.
Dig and turn over the top 12 to 18 inches of soil, using a shovel.
Spread 6 to 8 inches of finished compost and mix it into the turned, loosened soil. Add grass clippings, leaf mold, hay, sawdust, fireplace ashes and other organic materials to the soil as well, if compost is short in supply. Add these fresh organic materials in autumn, if possible, so they can decompose over winter and have the soil ready for planting in the spring.