Monday, March 29, 2010

CAUTION: This Step will take F.O.R.E.V.E.R... but is so worth the effort!

The first step of the construction phase in your landscaping project is to prepare your soil. This step will take the most time to accomplish whether you are landscaping an entire yard or simply preparing  a flower bed. If you spend sufficient time preparing the foundation from which all else will come forth, it will save you tons of effort later on. 

Here is what our experience tells us is important:
  • Eliminate the weeds before you begin.  If you have noxious weeds like morning glory on your property, treat them with the herbicide Roundup. You may want to make several applications. This particular weed is a perennial and will continue to haunt you if you let it, so do your best to eliminate it before you plant.  
  • Remove all the rocks. This step was our biggest challenge in "This Grandmother's Garden." Our property sits on an ancient river bed and we literally raked tons of rocks from our ground.  Most of them we hid under our berms, visualize two huge piles of rocks, but we kept many of them to line my perennial garden as a reminder of where this landscape began.
  • Amend your soil as needed. Our ground was mostly clay so this step was very important. Flower beds will benefit from a deep rich loamy soil, while areas where you will plant lawn won't require the same depth. Why bring in dump truck loads of soil for a lawn surface when the roots will only grow down about six inches.
  • Form your berms and flower beds and level the areas where lawn will be planted. CAUTION: This step takes  F.O.R.E.V.E.R...  My husband is the expert here. He has taught me (and I'm now a believer) that how the lawn surface looks before seeding, or sodding for that matter, is how it will stay. If there are dips and indents and places that are not level, they will remain so after the lawn grows. So, if you enjoy a beautiful lawn with all the humps and bumps in the right places, where your design dictates they should be, follow this step with the greatest of care... and patience... the result will be so worth it!
With your lawn area graded to just how you want your lawn to appear, and your flower beds well defined, you are now ready for the next step on your way to growing your own beautiful gardens. Stay tuned for tomorrow's post!
This series of posts relate to developing your Master Plan as outlined in previous posts. It is meant to be only a summary of methods we have gleaned from our own experience.  There are many expert resources available to guide you in your efforts. 
Check these out: Soil Preparation for a Beautiful Lawn
Soil Preparation for Flower Beds

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