Add interest by digging a place to plant

Ever felt your garden was a bit samey? If so, why not add a new bed or border? Or transform a lawn or unused veg patch into an ornamental growing space?

Creating a new bed is a weekend project. A great tip is to use a hosepipe to mark out the bed’s shape. Then you can view it from an upstairs window and adjust it to get it right. Remember you will need to be able to access the centre of the bed for weeding, watering and planting.

Once you are happy with the site and shape, peg out string to mark the edges and, using a nice sharp spade, remove the existing topsoil and turf to a depth of about three inches. If you are converting lawn, I don’t advise turning the turf over and digging it back in. You will be digging out grass for years to come.

Instead, recycle your turf in your compost heap.

Now for the hardest part. Use a garden fork and turn the soil over, breaking up larger lumps and adding in well-rotted organic material and new soil or compost. For bigger patches use a rotavator. You can hire them by the day and they will save you some of the most backbreaking work you will ever do.


Look out for pebbles, roots and other debris and get rid of it all. Hire a skip if there is lots of it. While you are adding in new soil, chuck in dry fertiliser such as MiracleGro® slow-release or chicken manure pellets to add nutrients.

Once you have got a soft, fertile soil bed, it is time to think about planting. A couple of perennial shrubs – conifers are ideal – will make a good centrepiece and add structure.

For instant impact put in some autumn bedding plants. They will see you through until Christmas. Then just keep everything watered.

Remember, any garden is a long-term project, and a new bed will take a few years to really settle in. But I guarantee it will be worth the wait.

For more garden planting ideas, check out my blog:

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