The Q&A Archives: New Landscape

Question: How do I begin to prepare a new yard for some flowers and a garden? Do I need to dig up all the grass? Since there has been nothing planted there do I need to amend the soil?

Answer: Here's one method: Start by taking the garden hose out into the yard and laying it out in the shape you'd like your flower beds to be. Move it around until you have just the right shape, and then use a spade or shovel to cut through the turf, next to the hose. Then cut parallel lines in the turf about 12 inches apart. Firmly grasp one exposed end of turfgrass and pull it up. The roots should come right up if the soil is moist. Continue to pull and roll the strips of turf until the entire flower bed area is bare. (Pile the turf in an out-of-the-way place--it will form a rich compost!)

Then spread about 4 inches of organic material such as compost, peat moss, leaf mold or aged manure over the area and dig it in to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. That should give you a good base for almost any annual or perennial flower. Use the same technique for plotting and preparing a space for your vegetable garden.

Good luck with your new landscape!

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