One of the best ways to improve your home's landscape is by renewing older flower beds that aren't in their prime anymore. They may have spilled over their borders or become overtaken by the plants growing in them, or maybe the elements may have taken their toll on the materials used for the sides.
Even with regular surface maintenance like fertilizing, your flower beds will need to be overhauled at least once a decade as the soil compacts and runs out of nutrients. Try planning your renovations so you can tackle one flower bed per weekend or week until they're all looking fresh and new again.
Remove All Plants
Start by removing all the plants in the flower bed that are bush-sized or smaller. If you don't want a bush or tree that has grown up in the bed, now is the time to remove it. Carefully excavate as much of the root system as possible since leaving a stump or roots to rot will create a depression in the bed later as the soil settles.
Take all the plants you wish to save and repot them in temporary containers with a loose potting mix. Place them in a shaded area of your yard and keep them moist until it is time to replant them when the flower bed is complete. Most plants can handle spending a few days in a temporary container if they're out of the sun and stay properly watered.
Check Edges and Walls
Inspect the walls of your flower bed to make sure the structure is still sound and not bulging or leaning. Make sure that all the drain holes are free of debris that would cause them to clog since too much water in the bed can lead to rotted roots.
Replace stones and rotten landscaping timbers. If you want to change the size, shape, or depth of the flower bed, rearrange your materials and add on any new extensions or curves. Make sure the walls and edges are secure and add rebar reinforcements if needed so that your soil will stay put rather than spilling loose during a heavy rain.
Any soil left in the flower bed should be removed to a wheelbarrow or tarp at this time if you want to install a weed barrier around the sides and bottom. Whether you're adding a weed barrier or not, the old soil needs to be amended because years of plant growth have reduced the nutrients available in the soil.
Amendment is easily done by adding organic material like compost, leaf mold, and aged manure to the old soil. These organic materials also help hold moisture and loosen the soil to prevent compaction.
You need to mix the soil well so that all the materials are evenly distributed all over the flower bed and to the depth of the bed. The soil level should be brought back up to where it was originally through the addition of organic materials, preferably so that it is flush with the top of the edges or walls.
The old plants are now ready to go back in along with any new plants that you would like to add. Finish by applying a layer of mulch a few inches thick to help keep weeds down and moisture up. For even more weed protection, try laying a layer of weed fabric on the soil after adding your plants and then covering it with a few inches of mulch.
Looking for help to quickly renovate multiple flower beds before a certain event or gathering at your home? Call us here at Chandler Landscapes Inc for help with everything from repairing damaged flower bed edges to selecting and installing new plants that better fit your local environment.