The Q&A Archives: Creating Flower Bed in Lawn

Question: I am a beginning gardener and would like to cut out a section of grass to create a flower bed. How do I remove the turf and prevent it from growing back? Also, once I cut it away, will I need to add extra soil?

Answer: Whether you want to reclaim part of a lawn, or just get rid of grassy weeds, the best way is the most labor intensive, but the most effective. Dig the grass out, roots and all. Grasses and grassy weeds spread by underground stems (stolons) so be sure to remove anything that looks like a root or you'll have grass sprouting in your new flower bed. I use a spade and dig sections out, about 1' by 1' square and 6"-8" deep. Turn the section over and salvage as much clean soil as you can from the roots of the grass, then dig around to make sure there are no roots hiding in the hole you just dug. Then dig another one-foot section out and repeat the process. You can compost the sections of sod by laying them root-side up in an unused section of your yard. Sunshine will kill the roots and rain will wash away the soil. After you've dug all the grass roots out of your new flower bed, add some compost to the soil and dig it in well before planting. To prevent the lawn from creeping into the new bed, install some kind of edging as a barrier. All your hard work will result in a healthy, happy place for your new flowers.

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