Stone work adds character to virtually any garden setting. It can be made even more attractive and interesting with the addition of well-located plants and flowers. Using an old stone wall as a backdrop for a flower bed will enhance both the wall and the plants. When choosing flowers for your project, consider the amount of sunshine and shade the bed will receive. Select flower varieties that match the light conditions.
Draw a sketch of the bed outline to use in planning the flower arrangement. The back one third of the bed should be planted with tall flowers with deep colors such as purple and indigo. This will accent the stone wall nicely. Medium-height flowers with shades of red, light blue and purple should be chosen for the middle of the bed. Smaller varieties with bright yellows and oranges should go in the front third of the bed.
Lay the garden hose along the grass by the wall to mark the desired outline of your bed. Small flower beds look better with curves. Don't make the curves too small or the effect will be too busy. The best visual effect is achieved by making deep, sweeping curves.
Cut into the turf about 4 inches deep with the spade along the length of the hose. Do not pry the turf out. Cut another line 1 foot back from the first. Make cuts about 1 foot apart between the cut lines so that the sod is cut into squares. Use your garden fork to lift out the pieces of turf and lay them face down to one side. Continue until all the turf has been removed from the bed.
Place the turf face down back into the bed at least 1 foot away from the edge. Lay extra pieces on top toward the center of the bed. The upturned turf will decompose and become fertilizer for the flowers. Loosen the soil on the underside of the turf with the spade. Spread at least 6 inches of mulch over the entire bed and allow it to sit for three to four days before planting.
Dig the mulch into the soil lightly before planting. Follow the directions on the seed packets or the bedding plant tags to determine the spacing and planting depth. Water immediately with a fine spray and keep the seeds or new plants well watered until germinated or rooted.