Creating a new garden can be a very laborious process but with good planning is always a worthwhile venture. I’ve always been fond of the expression measure twice cut once. This applies to cutting your garden bed as well. Decide where the garden bed will go and draw a plan on paper. Consider the plants you hope to feature and their eventual mature size. This will help you decide how large the bed needs to be.

Outline the areas of your garden plot that you want to clear. When defining the edges straight for a square or rectangular vegetable plot, stretch a string between sticks and mark the line with chalk. If you’re creating a curved flower bed use spray paint to mark the edges measuring from key distances to create dimension points then curving the lines to connect the dots. You can also use a hose or rope to create a smooth curve. The outline can be cut by hand or in my case, in a new subdivision a sod cutter was used to cut the shape out of our lawn.

Clear the surface by first removing plants, weeds, brush, and rock. I recommend digging out the existing plants and sifting through any weed parts and roots that may try to make a reappearance next year.

Once you’ve removed any debris you can consider applying a covering to smother any remaining weeds and create a barrier to encroaching grasses, a good quality landscape cloth will be invaluable.

Rototill and add soil and compost material to your new bed. If like me you have a great deal of clay it’s best to add at least 12” of good quality soil to the bed. Proper soil and organic material will assist with drainage and nutrients for the plants you will add.

All done? Consider adding a border with landscape stone or even a rolled plastic edge. A clean edge is the cornerstone of an elegant garden and will help with maintenance long term.

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