How to Dig a Flower Bed


Creating your new flower bed correctly saves you work down the road. Nutrient-rich soil, plenty of sunshine and the ability to hold onto water without holding on to too much are all necessary for a healthy flower bed. If you dig your new flower bed and amend it properly initially to supply everything your flowers need, and all that will be required over the years is standard maintenance. Dig new beds in fall for spring planting or in spring or summer for fall planting.

Step 1

Split open heavy duty black garbage bags so they lay flat. Place on top of the area where the new flower bed is to be dug and weigh it down with rocks. Leave in place for four weeks so all the weeds and grass underneath is killed.

Step 2

Remove the bags. Dig up the top layer of soil with the sod in it and place this layer on the compost pile. Alternately, till into the soil using a power tiller, though this may cause weed issues the first few years of your garden.

Step 3

Loosen the soil to a 10-to-12 inch depth using a shovel or power tiller. Remove any large rocks, roots or other debris.

Step 4

Lay a 5-to-7-inch layer of compost on top the bed. Dig or till in the compost into the top 10 inches of soil to improve drainage and soil nutrition.

Step 5

Lay a 4-inch layer of straw mulch on top the flower bed to prevent weeds from taking over. Remove the mulch when you ready to plant.

Tips and Warnings

  • Use garden edging around your bed to help contain it and prevent neighboring lawn from over-growing it.

Things You'll Need

  • Garbage bags
  • Rocks
  • Shovel
  • Power tiller
  • Compost
  • Straw mulch


  • University of Wisconsin Extension
Keywords: flower bed preparation, digging planting bed, creating a garden

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.