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Creating Landscape Beds

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landscape bed
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BLACK+DECKER B+D Contributor 193 Projects

Planting areas should occupy 40%-50% of your total open yard area, so don’t skimp. Think of it this way: More beds means less mowing. Of course, you’ll add time to your gardening duties, but if you choose low-maintenance shrubs and perennials that blossom like clockwork each season, the time you spend doting over landscape beds won’t steal from other outdoor recreation— like using your outdoor kitchen.

Before you break ground, survey your property and map out where you will place landscape beds. Don’t get boxed into linear designs. Experiment with kidney-shaped beds, and beds that seem to flow like a creek with curved edges. Build in border beds that separate outdoor living spaces, such as a patio, from the rest of the yard. Beds also provide privacy when placed along a property line and planted with screening varieties, such as evergreens. (Landscape beds aren’t just for flowers, after all.) Once you decide on bed location and shape, check the soil quality of the area by conducting a soil test. That way you can add the correct soil amendments to be sure you’re giving plants the best foundation for growth. Most soil will require amending, and you can do so with organic substances, including: sphagnum peat, wood chips, grass clippings (if you do not use lawn chemicals), straw, or compost. Remember, amendments are mixed into the soil and mulch is placed on the soil, after planting.

In the project shown here, you’ll learn how to create a landscape bed with curved edges by using a garden hose to outline the bed shape before you break ground. This bed features plastic edging, which is installed before amending soil. You can choose any number of edging materials for this project. As always, before you dig, call your local utilities hotline first.


How to Install a Landscape Bed

  1. Use a garden hose to outline the planned garden bed area. Remove the ground cover inside the area with a spade.

  2. Dig a trench around the perimeter of the bed using a spade. Place plastic lawn edging into the trench and secure it by driving edging stakes into the bottom lip.

  3. Till amendments into the soil with a spade and shovel. Test the design and layout of the plants. Install landscape fabric over the entire area if desired to inhibit weed growth.

  4. Apply a 2" to 3" layer of mulch over the entire surface. Leave 1 to 2" of clearance for tree trunks and woody ornamentals to prevent insects and pests from attacking them.

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