Create a New Garden Border

Plant a bed of mixed perennials for a colorful, easy-care garden.

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Summer ColorsEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

When to Start: Early Autumn
At Its Best: Summer
Time to Complete: 2 days

Materials Needed:

  • tape measure
  • hose
  • half-moon sod cutter
  • shovel
  • fork
  • rake
  • finished compost or other organic matter
  • granular fertilizer
  • watering can
  • plants used in this border: yarrow, crocosmia, purpletop (Verbena bonariensis)

Mark Out the Border

With a tape measure, mark out the length and breadth of your border, making sure that it's not too narrow; a minimum width of 3 feet is best. Use broad sweeping curves or a geometric design; avoid wiggly shapes, which look messy. Use a garden hose to mark out curved borders or pegs and string for straight edges. Carefully following the outlines, cut through the grass using a half-moon sod cutter or a shovel.

Lift the Sod

Cut the sod into squares within your marked-out area. Turf is heavy, so to make the squares easier to remove, make them a little smaller than the width of a shovel blade. Use the shovel to slice through the grass roots under each square before lifting the turf. Remove the sod squares and store them upside–down and out of the way.

Top Tip: Recycling Turf

You can use turf removed from the border to patch up holes in lawns elsewhere in the garden, or pile it up and leave for about a year to rot down. Grass makes excellent compost, which you can apply as a mulch to your border in early spring, before the perennials start to shoot.

Prepare the Site

Clear the site of large stones, debris and weeds, removing the roots of perennial species, such as dandelion, dock and bindweed. Break up large clods of soil with a garden fork to give an even texture.

Clear Area of Stones, Debris and RootsEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited
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Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything

© 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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