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8 Steps to Create a Weed-Free Flower Bed

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.

Completed weed free flower bed with text overlay showing potted plants on rock bed with birdbath.

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.

Before pic of flower bed overgrown with clover. Soon to be week free.
Ho hum, what a boring flower bed.

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.

Clover overgrown flower bed area next to grass and walkway.
The tall clover grows over and through everything.

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. So it was time to get sweaty and DIY my flower bed.

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Weed Free Flower Bed Supplies

I’ll run you through the steps on how to make a flower bed as weed-free as possible. I turned this boring space into a beautiful Weed Free Flower Bed. Well actually it’s more of a gravel flower bed I guess, but it’s so pretty now! And I did it all in 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.
Foot stepping on shovel to turn soil and  dig plants out 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.
Succulent plant removed from flower bed laying on painter's tarp.

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.
Pulling cultivator through soil of flower bed to work out weeds and roots.

It’s amazing what the 3 prongs on the cultivator catches.

Garden cultivator tool with weeds and leaves pulled from flower bed.
  • Toss the roots and debris into a bucket or onto cardboard or anything 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.
Shovel, weeds and plants from flower bed laying on cardboard.
Weeds and greenery destined for the compost bin.

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.

Dirt in the cleared out flower bed ready for plantings
Finally clean of all the weeds and old plant roots.

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.

Weed blocking

Step 5: Apply weed block fabric

How do you keep weeds out of flower beds? You can either pick them, constantly. Or you can prevent them in the first place.

For me flower bed weed prevention is a must, especially if you already have/had an issue. Buy the best weed block you can afford and it will do the best job.

  • 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.
Weed block rolled out over flower bed with brick on edges to hold in place.
  • 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.
  • Open the bags and pour them into the bed.
    • or use a wheelbarrow and shovel
Rock poured over weed block in new flower bed.
  • 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.
Using scissors to trim edges of weed block being held down with rocks.

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 & succulents

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 of you’re not planting succulents.
  • 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 colorful coleus plants but realized I didn’t have 3 little pots they’d fit in. Then I remembered three tin flower containers I bought a few summers ago.

They were really meant for dry 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.
Punching holes in bottom of tin flower pot with a scratch awl for use in flower bed.

You can use just about anything for to create a Succulent Garden. And add some wimsy to your garden by painting Garden Signs from old Fan Blades.

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 years. It 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.

Bird bath in center of flower bed with lime and purple coleus flowers in pots below.

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.

Blue and purple center of birdbath filled with water and blue mexican rocks.

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.

Jade plant and foxtal fern visible beyond edge of bird bath.

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.”

Fox tail fern and jade in green and blue ceramic pots on rock flower bed.

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.

Solar path light next to coleus plant in rock flower bed.

I’ve never cared for them (except when they’re in bloom). I’ve asked many times to just get rid of them. Thankfully seeing how great it looked he agreed and a few weeks later we extended the easy weed free flower bed across the front of the house.

We only left one chamilia bush to camouflage the and electric panel.

Strawberry pot with succulent on rock flower bed.
Birdbath with potted plants on rock of weed free flower bed with solar light.

I’d still love to build something similar to this Utility Box Cover and get rid of the last camilia bush.

Completed weed-free rock flower bed with birdbath and flower pots.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.


8 steps to create a beautiful flower bed collage.

Marsha Getz

Monday 26th of June 2023

Love all the gardening step to a weed free bed. I would like a number of succulents that can tolerate afternoon sun. Or fraught resistant plants. Than you


Saturday 28th of January 2023

I love all your gardening ideas and the beautiful landscapes you have created. I am cleaning out an area in front of my house to make a rock garden with some colorful plants and planters. We live in the Texas hill country with lots of dense wooded areas with many deer. They roam around the neighborhood munching down on plants, bushes, small trees, etc. I need to use plants that don't attract the deer. Do you have any suggestions or ideas for a rock garden landscape with plants. The location for this garden is the main focal point of my home that has a front porch that leads to the main entrance. It sits on a concrete wall base that extends 8 feet above the garden area that I am working on. I was contemplating covering the concrete wall, with something that looks like real stone or river rock. I want the focal point, either a bird bath or waterfall scene, that will be placed on a base to give it more height to fit in with 8ft wall backdrop. I want the garden to be natural looking, rugged landscape untouched by man. (nothing squared off, no level smoothed over areas), lots of curves for the boarder, mounds of soil, rocks scattered around with moss filling in the spaces. If you or anyone reading this can offer any suggestions or ideas please send them my way. Thanks Debra


Wednesday 1st of March 2023

Hi Debra, I'm no landscape architect and what we have done has taken 20 years to "get right" LOL. Not being familiar with your climate in Texas I can't suggest any specific plants. You might check to see if any universities in TX have a Master Gardener program like they have in California. I found this one at Texas A&M - Generally their websites can recommend plants for your climate (even based on zip code) as well as what is Deer and other animal resistent. Good luck, I'd love to see pictures of your garden when it's completed.



Friday 1st of July 2022

I love your rock garden ideas ..thankyou gaye


Tuesday 3rd of January 2023

Thank you, I am really love it, and the weeds are fewer by 10x and so much easier to control when they do pop up. Even the dreaded clover that were still fighting.


Monday 2nd of May 2022

The adds in your post are so big I can’t see your post.


Thursday 12th of May 2022

Hmm, funny, I've never heard anyone else complain about the ads on my site. And you managed to find your way to the comment section so they can't be that bad. Readers seeing a few ads is what allows me to bring you inspirational projects at no cost to you. Running a website is definitely not cheap. Be blessed and have a great day!


Tuesday 29th of June 2021

We just finished our flower beds with rock. We tore out all the old shrubs and cleaned out everything, added some new dirt and then the paper and rocks. It’s a blank canvas right now if I can figure out what to do next . Yours is awesome!