Hilltop Farm From the Air

Hilltop's Gardening Wisdom & Tips

Return to IndexPrinter Friendly Version

New Bed Preparation

Now is the time to get started on preparing that new flower bed you have been dreaming of all winter. Here are some tips:

  • Never build a bed bigger than you can maintain. That is, don't bite off more than you can chew. The building of the bed takes effort; the planting of the bed takes money; and the maintaining of the bed takes time. Start small; do one area at a time; don't try to do the whole yard!

  • Choose an area that is manageable - close to a water source, away from marauding wildlife - and in a location that will be enjoyed.

  • Lay out a hose to mark the bed boundary; then make sure that you will be able to mow around it. It is easier to move a hose than to re-dig a flower bed.

  • Spray Round-up (See Tip on Weed Control) on the area that will be the flower bed. Wait a week or so until you see dead grass/weeds, then till the soil.

  • If you are making a raised bed, life is easier. Till the existing soil (once the existing foliage is dead), then fill with pure compost (what we do), or top soil amended with compost, sand, and/or peat moss. (A lot more work, but is more permanent than a compost filled bed that needs to be topped off every year or two with more compost.)

  • If you are not making a raised bed, make sure that the existing plant material is dead before tilling the soil. Till as deep as you can, incorporating in 4-6" of compost and/or peat moss. Weed/grass seed will be present in the soil, so you will have to do some more weeding in a non-raised bed than a raised one. Use Preen once the bed is planted. (See Tip on Weed Control)

  • Plan. What look are you looking for (plant height, color, formality, etc)? Are there certain plants you wish to use? Do you want to attract birds/butterflies? Do you have a deer/squirrel problem? How much maintenance do you want to do? When and for how long will the bed get sunlight? Ask yourself these questions and others before picking up a plant. We can help you select plants that meet your needs, but you will need to supply us with a little info. We want you to succeed.

Gardening Wisdom #4, 2/8/2014 © Hilltop Farm

Return to IndexPrinter Friendly Version

General questions can be answered at info@hilltop-gardens.com.
If you have any comments, compliments, or complaints about this webpage, please contact the webmaster at

©2001-2016 by Peter Cross and Hilltop Farm