Friends, have you ever simply given up on an are of your yard? You want it to look nice but no matter what you’ve tried it just falls flat? I think I’ve finally found the answer to the pain in my side and I’m excited to show you the 8 Steps to Create a Weed Free Flower Bed of your own.
This little strip by the front door has had everything planted in it over the years. It will look nice for a while but then, Meh! Weeds seem to over take it. More so now thanks to the stupid wild turkeys who have invaded our neighborhoods the last few years.
Clover, not the short stuff that make a great lawn, but tall gangly stuff is everywhere. It pulls up easy but it seems for every one you pull two more clumps appear.
You know I love succulents and I tried them out here as well. They did ok but apparently the unlabeled multi pack I bought was mostly ground cover types so there was no height interest.
And, the clover was taller than the ground covers. Since this month’s At Home DIY Challenge is titled “Pretty It up Outside” I finally said enough was enough and knew this area was my target.
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Weed Free Flower Bed Supplies
- Round-point Shovel
- Garden Hoe or Cultivator –
- Bow Rake
- Gardening Trowel
- Work Gloves
- Tamper (optional)
- Weed Block Fabric
- Painters Tarp
- Cardboard or Floor Protector Sheets
- Rock or gravel (I used this rock)
- Wheelbarrow (optional)
- Green waste bin, Garbage Can, or Bucket
- Planting Mix and Cactus/Succulent Mix
- Flower Pots
- Path lights
I’ll run you through the steps I took to turn this boring space into a beautiful Weed Free Flower Bed. And I did it all one afternoon.
Clear out the flower bed
Follow this step for anything you want to salvage from your flower bed.
Step 1: Remove existing plants
- Lay out the painter’s tarp near the flower bed to protect your lawn.
- Put on your oh so sexy work gloves. This is optional of course but dirt can be amazingly drying to your skin.
- Using a shovel or garden trowel remove all the plants from the flower bed.
- Carefully transfer anything you want to keep to the painter’s tarp.
- Compost, give away, or toss anything you don’t want to replant elsewhere.
Preparing the dirt
Step 2: Turn the soil
With the old plants removed it’s time to rid the dirt of as many roots and weeds as possible. This step is important, you want to give your weed block the best chance of working possible.
It’s easiest to do this in the spring when the soil is still moist. You can water the area first to make this easier, but you don’t want to work with mud.
- Use your shovel to turn the soil.
- Using the tip chop at the clumps as you turn them to break them up.
Step 3: Clear the roots
- Using the cultivator, rake it through the dirt to capture roots.
- Do this in a few different directions several times.
It’s amazing what the 3 prongs on the cultivator catches.
- Toss the roots and debris into a bucket or onto floor protector sheet that can easily be taken to the green waste bin.
- Keep working the soil with the cultivator or bow rake until you’ve removed the majority of the roots.
Step 4: Level the dirt
- Using the Bow Rake spread the dirt in the flower bed so that it’s smooth and level.
- If you have a tamper use it to compact the soil a bit.
- You could also use the back of the shovel or your feet to compact the soil.
Your flower bed should look something like this before moving to the next step.
Notice the level of the dirt is slightly below the lawn area. This is to accommodate the rock I’m going to add so that it’s contained and doesn’t spills onto the grass.
Step 5: Apply weed blocking medium
- Starting at one end lay down the roll of weed block and unroll it over the dirt area.
- If you’re covering a large space make sure to overlap the edges.
- If it’s a breezy day hold in place with bricks or rocks.
- Using scissors cut the weed block a few inches longer and wider than your bed.
- Wait to do a final trim.
You may want to use a different weed blocking method, and I respect that. Over the years we’ve tried newspaper and cardboard and honestly it’s not worked well for us living near so much open space.
Rock or gravel
If you want to plant in the ground you’d do that now by making holes in the weed block and planting your flowers. I’m trying something different this time.
Step 6: Add a layer of rock
Depending on the area you need to cover it might be cheaper to call a local garden center and have some rock delivered. I got mine at home depot and here are my tips.
- Measure the area you want to cover and determine to what depth.
- Purchase or order enough rock to cover the area.
- I used 6 bags of Mountain Granite
- Open the bags and pour them into the bed.
- or use a wheelbarrow and shovel
- Spread them evenly with the bow rake.
- Tamp them in with the flat part of the bow rake so they settle.
- Trim excess weed block allowing it to wrap up the sides of the flower bed.
Add Plants and Interest
This flower bed has been a pain over the years but one thing that seems to do pretty well here is succulents. Even though it’s mostly shaded and the soil is clay. In summer it gets some good sunlight.
We’ve had a giant jade tree growing in a pot in deep shade for about 10 years. So my plan was to go with succulents (and some flowers) in pots.
Step 7: Gather potted plants
I really needed some height in this bed to break up the long expanse. I scored some beautiful but cheap pots years ago at a clearance sale so I gathered them from various places and transplanted a few of the succulents I dug out of this bed.
- Clean out previously used pots of all old dirt
- Cover the weep holes with coffee filters or screen to keep the dirt in.
- Mix dirt with water absorbing crystals to extend time between hand watering.
- Add your plant and fill in all around, pressing to compact as needed.
- Water the plant well and keep moist until established.
While I was at Home Depot I grabbed three coleus but realized I didn’t have 3 little pots they’d fit in. Then I remembered thre Dollar Store tin containers I bought a few summers ago.
They were really meant for flower arrangements but they are perfect for this project. They just needed weep holes.
- Turn them over and use a Scratch Awl or a screwdriver and your hammer to poke a few weep holes in the bottom.
- Turn them right side up and press down the sharp edges with the hammer.
- Lay coffee filters or screen over the weep holes before adding the soil and plants.
Step 8: Add a water feature
For even more height interest add a bird bath or even a fountain to your beautiful new flower bed. I went with a homemade birdbath.
I’ve had this beautiful bowl for several year that was originally part of an indoor fountain my husband and daughter bought me from a local artist. It’s held so many things but the inside is too pretty to cover.
In the backyard I also had a tall skinny pot I picked up when I got the others. I decided to put them together to make a great little bath for the plethora of feathered friends we have around us.
The bowl is a bit deep for the little birds so I added a simple terra cotta saucer that sits in the bottom. Since nothing is attached it will be easy to dump the water and clean it out regularly.
It looks really great sitting above the smaller pots. The succulents I repotted might eventually get taller but at least they’re easy to move around. I had to temporarily stake the jade because the roots were too shallow.
You may have noticed that I only attacked half of the long flower bed in the front of our house. I wasn’t ready to deal with the area under the camellia bushes.
As soon as I was finished with the left side of the new weed free flower bed my husband said, “hey, I think you should continue it all the way to the other end.”
Have you ever raked camellia blossoms and leaves from a gravel flower bed? I think this might be the leverage I need to convince him to finally get them out of here.
I’ve never cared for them (except when they’re in bloom). I’ve asked many times to just get rid of them. So far he’s resisted and hey do disguise the water and electrical meter (what dummy builder thought it was a good idea to put an ugly electrical meter on the front of the house?)
But I still loath those bushes and we’ll find another lovely way to disguise them. I’m thinking of something similar to this Utility Box Cover would work nicely.
Keep your fingers crossed for me.
LOVE IT, PIN IT!
And now don’t forget to go check out all the other “Pretty it Up Outdoor” projects by my blogging friends. There’s a ton of great project to get your creative juices flowing for outdoor updates.