The Q&A Archives: Annual bed

Question: I live in New Jersey and moved to a new house last year. I am planning to put some dwarf global arborvitae in the front bed but don't know how to start. I would love to do it myself. Can you please guide me how to make a staright line, how to cut and start a new bed. Do I need top soil/ fertilizer/ weed wrap/ mulch/stone etc.

Answer: I think the easiest way to start a new planting bed is to sketch it out on paper and then drag the garden hose out and outline the proposed bed. You can move the hose around until you get just the right look in your landscape. Once you've done that, simply cut through the turf with a shovel along the line, or, if there is no turf, simply cut a line in the soil following the outline of the hose. At this time you can install a plastic barrier (to keep the lawn from creeping into the bed) or pour a concrete barrier. After that, spread 4-5" of organic matter over the new planting bed and dig it in to a depth of 8 to 10 inches. You can either plant your arborvitaes and then lay a weed barrier over the top of the bare soil or you can lay weed barrier over the entire bed and cut slits in the barrier to accommodate your new plants. After installing the new plants, water them in well and then cover the top of the weed barrier with decorative stone or bark mulch.

Best wishes with your new landscape!

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