Build a Flower BedTips on how to build a flower bed.
Starting a flower bed isn't to diffucult. If you have a very limited budget, all you really need is yourself, a shovel, a rake and plants or seeds. If your budget is larger, you can rent a sod cutter to remove grass before you dig, hire someone else to dig, and buy large mature plants to put in for immediate results.
No matter what kind of budget you have, you need to first figure out where you want your new flower bed.
Take into consideration what kind of sun this spot will get. This is important, and will impact the choices of plants you will have. Full sun is at least 6 hours of sun per day. Part sun/part shade is exactly that? maybe it will have morning sun and afternoon shade or vice versa.
Shade gardens are always shaded, whether it be from the northern side of the house, several trees, or other obstacles.
Another thing you'll want to know is your hardiness zone. The hardiness zone tells you what plants will live through the winter where you live and what won't. For example, if you live in Zone 8, a hardy hibiscus will survive the winter fine, but its tropical cousin would need to be protected or moved indoors during the cold winter months.
Flower Bed DesignOnce you've decided where your new flower bed will go, you need to decide what it will look like. Do you want a square? A border? Will it be straight, or have a curved edge? Will it be an island in the middle of the lawn?
If you opt for a curvy edge, make the curve large and gradual instead of wavy. It will look better in the end. Use some graph paper and make a little map of your yard, placing the potential garden in a few different shapes and locations until you are happy with it.
Before you begin to dig, mark out your design in the yard. You can do this with stakes and string, the garden hose, a rope or by sprinkling a line of sand or flour on the ground.
Digging a Flower BedOnce you have it outlined, it is time to take your shovel and start a trench around the edge. Once you've gotten all the way around, you can begin to dig the center, or use your sod cutter to remove the grass. All extra soil should be reserved to be put back into the flower bed.
Now that your garden is all dirt, dig it up a bit. If you don't have a lot of rocks, you may want to use a small rototiller to loosen the soil. If you don't have access to one, don't worry. You can do this the old fashioned way with a shovel. Dig and turn the soil from one end to the other. Then do it again.
Break up large clods with the shovel. When you have made the soil as loose as you can, use a heavy garden rake to smooth it out.
Flower Bed Soil SamplesNow is the time to analyze the soil. You can find a soil test kit at many online garden centers , or you can take a bit of soil into your local county extension office.
This will tell you what you need to amend your soil. If your soil is heavy, you can add sand or other ingredients to aid in drainage. If your soil is sandy, you will want to add compost and peat moss to help your soil retain water.
The soil analysis will give you a pH level, and you can choose the right amendments depending if you need your soil to be more acidic or alkaline. Mix your amendments thoroughly into the existing soil.
Tips on Planting a Flower BedNow it is time to plant! You probably have some favorite flowers that inspired you to begin this project in the first place. Set out the pots so you can see what your future garden may look like. If you are starting with seed, read the packets carefully to learn how tall each plant variety grows.
Landscaping basics dictate that you should put the taller plants to the back and the smaller plants to the front, so you can see all the plants well when they are at their peak. However, you can vary from this slightly when you're dealing with a single small shrub or a specimen plant.
You'll also want to include some tall plants or maybe a trellis with some climbing vines to add vertical interest to your flower bed.
So, for example, if you are planting a sunny flower bed, maybe you'll choose a showy clematis to climb a tall trellis. Clematis love the sun, but like to keep their roots cool, so you'd want to plant some smaller plants around the base to provide some protection for those roots. So, you may surround the base with a complementary color of anemones or bachelor's buttons.
Some great ideas for a sunny flower garden includes clematis, iris, daisies, anemones, asters, hollyhocks, calendulas, poppies, marigolds, delphiniums, canterbury bells, lobelia, candytuft, roses and sweet peas.
Some great ideas for a shady flower garden include begonias, impatiens, violets, primroses, astilbe, hostas, bleeding heart, hellebores, and lady's mantle.
Once you get home with your treasures, set the pots out so you can rearrange the plants in a pleasing manner.
Plant them at the same depth they are at in their pots. When you are all done, water thoroughly and then cover the soil around them with mulch. Mulch will help keep moisture in and keep weeds from sprouting.
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