Putting in a flower bed border around your home is a great way to instantly boost your home's curb appeal, but it does require a bit more effort than simply putting some plants in the ground. Using the right tools, materials, and plants is the key to creating a long-lasting and low-maintenance border garden. The following guide can help.
Clear it out
Weeds and their seeds can survive in the soil for years. If you don't want to deal with weeds, begin by digging out the top few inches of soil in the garden bed. You can toss the soil into a compost pile, if you have one. The heat of the pile will eventually kill the seeds. If you don't want to replace the soil with weed-free soil, you will either need to use an herbicide to kill the weeds and seeds, or you will need to commit to regular weeding for the next few years.
Put in a border
A border does more than give your garden bed a crisp edge, it also help prevent weeds and grasses from outside of the bed from encroaching on the flowers. You can purchase strips of rubber or plastic border, or you can use bricks, stones, or wooden boards. The key is to bury the border material a couple of inches in the ground so plant roots can't spread underneath it. The top of the border should be at least 2 inches above the ground, although you can build up sturdy border materials, like wood or brick, higher if you would like to raise the elevation of the border bed above that of the lawn in front.
Bring in good soil
Any garden's health is dependent on the soil. Begin by putting down a few inches of good weed-free compost -- this will provide the nutrient base for your flowers. On top of this place a 2-3-inch layer of weed-free topsoil. Your supplier should be able to tell you the quality of both the topsoil and compost. It's best to opt for local topsoil, when possible, because it will most closely match the nutrient needs of the plants that grow in your area.
Finish with mulch
The type of mulch depends on what you are growing. If you opt for perennials, such as peonies or lilies, than you can use a fabric mulch as your base layer. This blocks most weed growth. For annual gardens, such as those stocked with pansies and sunflowers, skip the fabric because yearly replanting will tear it up. Instead, use wood chips to mulch and keep weeds down. You should also put wood chips over fabric to help hide and protect it. Contact a business, such as Purdy Topsoil & Gravel, for more information.