how do i start a a new garden

trevor24November 13, 2005

hi i have got a large back garden with two big flower beds that take up most of the garden. what i want to do is dig up the garden and start from scratch i have plans done out but i do not know how do start. should i just dig up the plants and get some topsoil to cover it up and put done grass seed? or should i dig up the beds and even out the garden with topsoil and put down grass seed. can some one help me please

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username_5(banned for no reason)

I don't understand what you are asking.

If I am understanding you correctly you have an existing garden area that is taken up by flowers. You don't appear to want these.

You mention grass seed a couple of times which leads me to believe you want to get rid of the garden and grow grass, but your thread title says "how do I start a garden" and not "how do I start a lawn".

So my question is what do you want to use the existing flower beds for?

    Bookmark   November 13, 2005 at 8:11PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

And Trevor, if you are in the midst of Autumn there, it's late for sowing grass seed; the weather is a little cool for best germination.

A little more info please so we can best help you?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2005 at 1:06AM
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yes that is right i want to get rid of my two large flower beds so i can have more of a lawn but i would like to have flowers or use some space to have a herb garden not 100 percent sure yet planted around the lawn. i know it is winter here so that is why i am gettin all the infomation i need so i can start early next year. thanks for your help

    Bookmark   November 14, 2005 at 2:09AM
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meldy_nva(z6b VA)

Well, now is a good time to plan. Think for a bit about what you really want to end up with... lots of pretty grass - which also will need frequent mowing, summer watering, and probably fertilizers... and just which flowers appeal to you? Annuals? Perennials? Low care? Specific types and/or specific colors? How much time will you really spend taking care of those guys -- and don't say 'every weekend' unless you never take trips or go shopping! Be realistic about how much effort you are willing to put forth regularly, and then plant accordingly. By using mulch (and sometimes installing drip irrigation), and bulbs/perennials it is possible to have blossoms from spring to fall with very little effort once they have been planted. Roses, on the other hand, are considerably more demanding. Most of us go somewhere in between those two extremes, but you need to decide for yourself what suits you.

Take notepaper and figure out for sure just what you want, and where. It helps to have real-life measurements of what you have right now: fence-to-fence and house-to-fence; mark in permanent items such as trees and lightpoles, shrubs you want to keep, sidewalks, the tool shed, etc. Then measure and sketch where the present flower beds are. Then put a piece of heavy, transparent plastic (or a clear page protector from the stationery store) over that base drawing and sketch where you would like to have the various beds, and how much lawn you really want. (I use the dry-ink pens, they are easy to erase from the plastic.) Remember that curves are more comfortable to live with than straight lines, and clusters of flowers usually look far more attractive than a rigid row. Visual variance in height, width, and color is good, but allow for repetition especially in color to keep the whole thing looking planned instead of looking splotchy.

While doing all that, you also need to decide just what you want in the way of flowers and herbs. Most herbs are perennial, and many are demanding of well-drained soil, which means that unless you already have light, sandy soil the herbs will be happier in a raised bed. That's okay because raised beds are neat, easy to maintain, and easy to harvest. They don't *have* to be permanent, but most folks prefer the appearance of permanent beds. Just give yourself a break and be sure to put a mowing curb around any and all tree/flower/herb beds. A mowing curb is made of almost anything including rubber, concrete, brick, or hypertufa. It allows the mowing machine [rider or push] to trim the lawn neatly so you don't have to use an edger or pull weeds.

Now, having overwhelmed you with all that, let me say: do just a little bit at a time. Unless you have lots and lots of $$$ and can hire help, *don't* try to do a whole makeover all at once. Or even all in one summer! Use your sketch to decide what you want to end up with, and then list. A list could read like this: shrubs to hide the garage; annual flowers all along the west fence; a bird bath among hostas under the oak tree; an herb garden near the kitchen door [best place for it]; an all-weather path from the porch to the tool shed; etc. Once you have a list of projects, choose which single one is the most important to you. Then break that project down into steps needed to get it done. If the project is physically big like putting annuals along a 100' of fence, downsize it into 10' sections. The only time you shouldn't break a project into sections is if you decide to have a concrete truck come and pour a sidewalk or driveway or patio -- better to pour it all at once instead of in 10' segments :)

Do make use of the GW forums, read the FAQs and then use 'search' for specific questions. In fact, if you do a search on this forum for "new beds" and read all the postings (about 7 pages worth popped up for me), most of your questions will be answered! I'd also recommend visiting the Soil forum, because no matter what plants you decide to use, you are likely going to have to do some soil prep - even for a lawn.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2005 at 12:14PM
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Meldy_nVA thanks alot ofr all that infomation it was a real help

    Bookmark   November 14, 2005 at 1:57PM
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