no-dig garden in bloom

Although it is a viable alternative, many people might be wary about constructing a garden bed right over grass. Without tearing up your lawn, you can create flourishing flower gardens by growing tulips, roses or any other flower of your choice and taking the necessary steps. Although it may seem unusual, it is something that individuals who wish to save time and effort should take into account. Despite the fact that the method is known as the “no-dig” one, you will still need to do some digging, although much less than you otherwise would.

No-Dig Gardening: What is It?

This technique is believed to have started hundreds of years ago; however, its creator has never been identified. The idea behind this technique is that when you till the garden, you’re actually changing the soil’s structure and bringing a lot of weed seeds and other things to the surface. It is healthier for the soil’s microorganisms and other living things—all the things that contribute to the soil’s fertility and goodness—if you leave the soil undisturbed. And, of course, the no-dig method can be applied to flower gardening as well as vegetable gardening.

No-Dig Flower Bed Materials

  • A lot of newspaper material, recyclable cardboard, or rolled cardboard
  • Hose that includes a nozzle
  • Tape measure (to determine the appropriate amount of mulch and compost for your space)
  • Spade shovel
  • Garden gloves
  • Compost
  • Mulch

It’s crucial to note that this method cannot be utilized with landscaping fabric because it prevents the decomposition of organic matter into the soil. Your soil is probably in poor condition if you’re using landscaping fabric. You will still have weeds because the majority of weed seeds fall from the sky via birds and the wind.

How to Plant a No-Dig Garden or Flower Bed

Finding a patch of grass to place your new beautiful flower garden bed on is the first step.

The steps you must follow are as follows:

  1. Measure the bed and calculate materials needed
  2. Clear the bed area
  3. Edge around the bed
  4. Plant larger trees and plants in advance
  5. Cover the no-dig flower bed with paper
  6. Spread compost on the paper
  7. Add a layer of mulch to the compost’s surface
  8. Plant the flowers

1. Measure the Bed and Calculate Materials Needed

The first step is to determine the precise dimensions of your new flower garden bed. Use a flexible landscape tape or your tape measure to determine the area’s length and width.

2. Clear the Bed Area

You should clean out the space inside the flower garden bed in this step. This step could be ignored, especially if it’s only covering the grass. However, if you’re converting a rougher area, you might need to eradicate noxious weeds (ivy, blackberry, Bermuda grass, oxalis, etc.) to give yourself a strong start. Additionally, make sure to clear the area of any sticks, pebbles, and other items.

3. Edge Around the Bed

You will just need to dig once, and that’s it. The only thing you have to do is make an edge around the garden bed’s perimeter. Cut a straight line at least 4″ deep around your bed using a sharp spade. Then, to make a “V” notch, cut a diagonal line at least 6″ long from the inside of the bed area down to the depth of your first pass. As a result, your entire bed’s soil and mulch will remain inside. Additionally, it helps to stop your grass from growing on the area of the garden bed.

Some proponents of this technique advise digging a “trench” that is between 8 and 12 inches wide and 3-4″ deep. So, if you’d like, you can widen the trench. By digging a trench, you can increase the height of your bed’s interior without worrying about mulch, soil, etc. spilling into your lawn.

4. Plant Larger Trees and Plants in Advance

You should “pre-plant” any larger plants and shrubs before we cover the area with cardboard. Now you can plant anything 5 gallons or larger directly into the grass. Because you’ll later be adding about 4.5″ of organic matter to your bed, make sure to plant these trees and shrubs just slightly above the soil level. Additionally, keep any mulch far from the trucks of your trees and shrubs or bases of your plants. Using your hose to thoroughly wet down the surface is also a good idea at this time. Any plants you just planted will be watered by this. This will accelerate the entire procedure.

5. Cover the No-Dig Flower Bed with Paper

It’s finally time to lay the paper. It is advisable to use two pieces of rolled cardboard because it is significantly thinner than recycled cardboard boxes. You can create a crosshatch design for this. Arrange rows first horizontally and then vertically.

Make sure the cardboard is not coated if you’re using recycled cardboard. Remove any shiny tape or plastic as well. If you’re worried about weed pressure, it’s a good idea to use heavy cardboard. Uncoated newspaper material is an alternative method.

You can use eight or more layers of newspaper, one layer of heavy cardboard, or a combination of the two. Use paper that has at least a 6- to 8-inch overlap between your materials. To prevent weed pressure, make sure that every square inch of your new bed is completely covered.

You might be concerned about the safety of the ink on your cardboard boxes. You can be sure that the industry standard for ink on cardboard won’t harm your plants or soil because it is soy-based.

Sprinkle water all over the paper layer. This will keep it in place and begin the process of decomposition. At first, the water may roll off the paper. If that occurs, wait a few minutes before returning to re-saturate the area. Repeat as necessary.

6. Spread Compost on the Paper

After that, simply spread the compost on top of the cardboard. It’s essential to make an effort to limit how much you walk on the bed. Compost is an excellent place to start, and you should work your way out to the edges from there. The layer should be at least 1.5″ thick. If you’d like, you could use even more compost. Additionally, if there were many weeds in the area when you first started, you might want to apply a little thicker layer to keep them under control. Sprinkle water all over the compost layer.

7. Add a Layer of Mulch to the Compost’s Surface

We’ll now cover the mound with mulch. If you’re simply covering a plain lawn, you should put down a layer of mulch that is 2-3″ thick. Once more, if you start with a bunch of weeds, you can proceed thicker.

It is advised that you carry out this technique with coarse mulch. You can utilize arborist or tree trimmer mulch. This often consists of a blend of leaves and wood chips and works great. Pallet mulch, which is typically available at hardware stores, is an additional option. This is constructed with untreated pallet wood that has either been colored or left natural. The mulch layer should then be thoroughly wetted.

8. Plant the Flowers

Finally, your no-dig flower garden is prepared for planting—be ready to show off your amazing garden flowers! Many people reach this stage and question if they can plant at this time; the answer is that they can. Smaller plants can really be planted directly into the compost layer. Their roots will eventually pierce the decomposing paper as they grow.

You can plant larger plants by making a hole in the cardboard layer and inserting them there. When you do this, just be sure to fill the hole with some organic matter. But it’s possible that you pre-planted your larger plants in step 4 already.

Making a bed from scratch in this manner may be the simplest method available. Compared to having to remove all the grass, till the soil, then till the compost, and then end up with a lot of weeds, it actually requires a lot less work. If you’re tired of tending to your garden, this is the strategy for you.

Get your green thumb ready! Come explore the various resources offered at Homegrown Outlet to build an attractive, no-dig garden bed of your own, or to learn about other flower garden ideas. Create a beautiful and sustainable oasis in your backyard today!

Danielle Dixon

Danielle is a content writer at Homegrown Outlet. Aside from having a longtime passion for literature and writing, she is also an animal lover who enjoys crafting and watching documentaries.