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How to Prepare Soil for Flower Beds

Proper preparation and quality soil are two important keys for a successful flower garden. If you plan to spend time and money creating a flower garden, make sure you take the necessary steps to prepare the soil prior to planting the flowers. While the work can be difficult, the efforts you spend in soil preparation will pay you back handsomely when your flower garden thrives and your flowers are the envy of all of your neighbors.

Create the planting space. If there is presently grass growing in the garden, remove it with the spade. Dig the tines of the spade under the grass and loosen the grass roots. Separate the grass in small pieces and toss it into the garbage can. Remove all of the grass in this fashion from the flower bed.

Work the soil with the spade to begin to loosen it. Remove any rocks and other debris and discard them in the garbage can.

Apply 3 inches of compost or manure to the top of the soil.

Work the garden area with the spade again or use a rototiller; work the soil to a depth of at least 8 inches. Break up all clumps of dirt and work until the compost and the soil are completely mixed and the top 8 inches are loose.

Rake the soil so that it is smooth and level.

Mound Up Flower Beds Because Of Poor Soil

Take a soil sample, following the instructions specified in the soil sample kit. Kits are available for a fee from your county extension office. Remove any rocks or roots and break apart large clumps of soil. Apply a layer of compost on top of the soil bed. The amount of compost necessary depends on the quality of the soil and the desired height of the mound, but generally a layer between 6 and 8 inches works well. Turn the lime or sulfur into the soil with the compost. Most flowers require a soil pH between 6.0 and 7.0 so lime or sulfur is only necessary if your soil tests outside this range. Apply these amendments at least two weeks before you plant.


Removing grass with a garden spade and running a rototiller can be difficult and exhausting work. Enlist the help of an assistant and spread the work out over several days to make it manageable.

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