Landscape Bed Creation by NPK Turf Services and Landscape, Inc. 406-580-0734
Creating a landscape bed is not very technical, but there are a few tips that will make it easier. Although not technically challenging it can be manually challenging. So going about it the most efficient way is always advisable. What I’ll outline below is the best way we have found to make this process as easy as possible.
1. Once you have determined where you want your new landscape bed, you will want to outline the edge of it with paint. Use an inverted marking paint like this one.
2. If your new landscape bed is off your house or another structure. Use a tape measure to get an even length off the structure. Just trying to ‘eyeball it’ never really works! The quickest way to do this is to take the tape and mark your pre-determined length off the structure every few feet with a dash. Then once your done go back and connect the dashes with a solid line of paint. Trying to measure and paint the line all at once generally becomes a clumsy endeavour. If you’re creating a bed in an open area free forming it can work well.
3. When the line is done its time to start digging the edging in. (There are machines that will do this portion for you but with this post I’m going to stick with the traditional hand digging method.) Start from one end and proceed in one direction. Do not try to jump around and dig where it seems easier. Ultimately it will be quicker if you continuously work one direction at a time. When you dig the soil up place it inside the bed, not outside it. If you place the soil outside the bed it will just be one more area you need to clean up. If you place it inside the bed you can use it for backfill once the edging is in you can just tamp it down and cover it with fabric.
4. Edging install. Today I’m talking about vinyl or plastic edging. I would strongly advise purchasing the edging that is flat, not rolled up. The edging that comes flat is normally of higher quality and will be much easier to install. It is tremendously frustrating trying to install the rolled up edging. Take it from experience!! Buy the flat stuff. Lay the edging out along your dug edge and then walk the length of the edging pre-placing the stakes and edging connector. If it is a straight edge you will want one stake at each end and two stakes distributed evenly between the two ends. If you have curves in the edging you will want to add at least one extra stake at each curved area. Again start from one end and proceed. Wait to cut the edging to length until you have all the edging staked in the ground except the last piece. If you are having trouble getting the two pieces of edging to join together all the way try cutting the connector piece the long way slightly. You can then squeeze the connector piece together making the circumference smaller. Once its inside the edging it expands back. Once the edging is staked in you will want to backfill the edging to keep it in place, and also restore the ground level around your new landscape bed.
5. If you are going to be installing landscape fabric in your bed I have found its best to lay a piece of fabric under the edging before you stake it to the ground. This helps eliminate the fabric void area next to the edging. Then just cut the fabric on the outside of the edging and bury with soil.
6. This is the point that we install plants. It is debatable when the best time to put plants in is.
Initially before edging goes in? (I find that it is harder to determine proper spacing if the edging is not in. The edging creates structure and makes it easier to see spacing.)
Once edging is in, but before fabric? (I find this the easiest, but it can make it more difficult to lay the fabric once you get to that point.)
Once the fabric is in? (This makes the fabric laying easier, but creates a dirt mess on the fabric once you start planting.)
7. Now that we are this far along it is time to finish laying the fabric. (If you are using it. There are reasons you may not want to use fabric, but we will not be discussing them here.) If you have a slope in the bed you will want to lay the fabric lateral with the slope. This will help water run off. Overlap the fabric at least 2 to 3 inches and stake the fabric in place. Work from the back corner of an area forward, so you are not working yourself into a corner.
7. You are now ready to install the mulch product of choice in your bed. Mulch, rock, etc. Then perform final clean up.
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