How to Dig Flower Beds


The daunting task of adding a flowerbed to your landscape involves the inevitable use of a shovel. Digging a flowerbed involves removal of existing grass or plants as well as proper preparation of the soil. In order to have a healthy garden, increasing the nutrient levels in the soil will help protect your investment. Learning how to dig a flowerbed simply involves the willingness to get your hands dirty and perform some heavy labor. Adding various garden beds to your landscape becomes quite easy after you learn the basics.

Step 1

Pick a location for your garden and outline the area using a can of spray paint or twine. Designating the edge of your flowerbeds prevents unwanted expansion and helps remind you to keep the dirt inside this perimeter when excavating.

Step 2

Place the shovel on the edge of the garden, step down and lift an area of soil. Remove existing grass by shaking the dirt from each shovel full and disposing of the grass. Continue excavating until all grass is removed.

Step 3

Dig up every visible weed and dispose of properly in yard waste bags. New flowers compete for soil nutrients and moisture with weeds so try to limit the incidence of these garden pests from the outset.

Step 4

Turn over the entire flowerbed by digging down 6 inches with the shovel and flipping over the soil. Proceed through the entire garden until you've turned over all soil. Turning over a flowerbed breaks up compacted dirt than can limit root expansion.

Step 5

Break of clumps of dirt using a chopping motion with the shovel. Smooth the garden surface with a rake.

Step 6

Water the flowerbed lightly until moisture depth reaches at least 1-2 inches.

Step 7

Pour peat moss across the entire expanse of the flowerbed to a depth of 2 to 3 inches. Peat moss acts to break up tough soils and improves soil drainage capabilities. Peat also adds essential nutrients to the soil to benefit plants.

Step 8

Use the shovel to turn over the soil to mix the peat moss. Dig down to at least a 6-inch depth to loosen soil in the deeper reaches of the garden. Many plants spread roots 1/2 foot below the soil surface. Root spreading is much easier for the plant if the soil is loose and moist.

Step 9

Level the garden with a rake and water lightly. Allow the soil to sit for a few weeks if possible before planting.

Things You'll Need

  • Paint
  • Twine
  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Peat moss or compost
  • Mulch


  • University of Georgia
  • University of Illinois Cooperative Extension
Keywords: flower beds, dig flower beds, prepare flower garden soil

About this Author

Currently studying for her Maryland master gardener certification, Sharon Heron has written professionally since 2006. Her writing includes hundreds of articles on a wide range of topics including gardening, environment, golf, parenting, exercise, finances and consumer how-to articles.