I love creating new garden beds. When I divide my perennials I hate to throw them away so I just create a new garden bed to move them to. I’d much rather have more garden beds and less lawn! When you want to turn an area of your lawn into a new garden bed you must get rid of the grass.
There are different ways to go about this, some methods give you quick results while other take a bit longer. There are four basic ways to go about this.
Digging a new bed. This method produces the quickest results and allows you to plant your garden immediately. It also takes a bit of hard work. Using your spade or fork you must remove all the sod.
If the sod is in good condition you can use it elsewhere in your yard. Use an edger or a sharp spade to cut small sections of the sod. This makes it easier to remove. If you don’t plan to move the sod and are just going to compost it try to remove as much of the soil as possible. Inspect the soil for any hiding grubs and decide whether or not you want to add any compost before planting your garden.
Another method to create a new garden bed is to break up the sod with a tiller. One advantage of using this method is that the organic matter is retained in the garden as the sod is turned under. You can also add compost or manure before tilling. This bed can also be planted immediately but you may have to do some weeding as you may have turned up some weed seeds.
A third method to try is smothering the sod or unwanted plants.
I have used the first two methods but I have never tried this. You just cover the grass with plastic, newspaper or cardboard. Depending on the type of material you use this method could take several months. The newspaper and cardboard will decompose but the plastic will have to be removed eventually. This is relatively simple; lay your material down over the sod you want to eliminate. Cover it with grass clippings, mulch or compost to hold the layers in place. You will want to lay down six to eight pieces of newspaper, use only the black and white sheets. Your objective is to eliminate light, causing the chlorophyll to break down. Once this happens, photosynthesis stops and the grass will die. After this happens you can begin to plant your garden, if you’re using cardboard or newspaper just plant your plants into holes that you have punched through the paper to the soil. When we were out hiking earlier this week I happened to spot this garden. A perfect example for smothering the weeds!
The last method I will mention but I wouldn’t recommend it. You can also use herbicides to kill the grass. The downside of this method is that you may injure or kill nearby plants; it can also result in environmental contamination or harm beneficial organisms if used improperly. We have kept beehives near our gardens and for this main reason we do not use this method.
I have been working on expanding a garden on the east side of our house. It is shady and the existing garden had a curve in it which was hard to mow. I wanted to increase the garden bed, transplant some hostas and have less lawn to mow as well as having the existing lawn easier to mow. First I marked off the new garden area.
I dug up the hostas I wanted to divide and transplant.
Used some river rock to edge the new garden bed.
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