Artistic Vegetable Gardener:Two Fast No-Dig Methods to Make a Flower Mattress


woman harvesting from a flower bed


Learn to make a flower mattress in a manner that saves you time, power, and the headache of ripping up and eliminating grass.

We bought our second home from an aged lady who hadn’t completed a lot upkeep within the years main as much as the sale. However, it was within the precise neighborhood the place we wished to reside, the lot had sufficient solar for a big vegetable backyard, and the worth was darn good!

As quickly as we completed addressing a number of the instant home to-do’s – new roof, asbestos flooring and water broken paneling faraway from the basement, wooden floors put in in the lounge – we set to work on the yard.

When moved into our home you couldn’t see the entrance of it from the road – overgrown bushes and shrubs obscured it from view. There additionally wasn’t a lot landscaping across the precise home, only a few lonely vegetation in a sea of grass.

Because it was early June after we moved in, our first order of enterprise was constructing the vegetable backyard. I wrote a protracted publish sharing all the main points and loads of pictures of how we created straightforward raised backyard beds.

In entrance of the vegetable backyard, between it and the road, we created a fast and soiled flower backyard mattress on the identical time we have been constructing relaxation. (Extra about that beneath.)

That was part certainly one of our backyard plan. Section two didn’t happen till fall since we have been busy getting unpacked and settled. I undoubtedly wished a perennial backyard alongside the south aspect of the home as a result of it acquired loads of solar and was in a extremely seen space.

I knew from expertise that it’s simpler to organize a planting space the season earlier than you intend on shopping for bushes, shrubs and flowers, in order that’s precisely what I set out to try this fall.

The second space I wished to plant was crammed with grass, and since I’m not an enormous fan of stripping away grass with a machine or my very own muscle tissue and shovel, I opted for the simple manner out.

On this article I’ll share the right way to make a flower mattress with two straightforward, no-dig methods that can prevent a number of sweat and tears.  

flower garden design

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The best way to Make a Flower Mattress: Two Situations

Methodology #1: Mounded Flower Mattress

As I discussed earlier than, after we purchased our home there have been overgrown shrubs taking up the sunniest a part of the lot and also you couldn’t even see the home from the road. We minimize most of them down and turned them into woodchips with my husband’s chipper (he’s an arborist).

Our set up space was principally naked soil after the shrubs have been eliminated, so we have been in a position to set up proper onto a clear slate. After constructing and putting in straightforward raised backyard beds, we set about making a perennial flower mattress between the road and the vegetable backyard for a visible buffer and a manner so as to add some further texture and colour to our entrance yard.

Right here’s how we did it:

man designing flower bed

Step 1: Design

Used a lengthy measuring tape to put out the form and size of the flower mattress. You might additionally use a hose or a rope.

cardboard to make a garden bed

Step 2: Smother

In the event you’re creating the mattress proper on high of the grass, put  down a layer of cardboard to assist smother the grass.

man raking soil in flower garden bed

Step 3: Soil

You’ll want soil to construct up the mounded mattress. For our yard venture we had gotten a big supply of raised mattress backyard combine (half compost and half topsoil). Despite the fact that this combine was speculated to be nutrient wealthy for rising meals, it was poor high quality and ended up inflicting soil issues within the vegetable backyard beds.

However, perennials don’t have as many nutrient wants as greens, so you may get away with a decrease high quality soil combine. Ordering half compost and half topsoil is an effective choice.

To maneuver the soil a wheelbarrow could be very useful. You’ll be able to fill it with soil and dump it in piles inside the space you mapped out with the measuring tape and on high of the cardboard. Use a arduous rake to maneuver the soil and form the mattress to your liking. We designed our flower mattress to have a slight curve that mimicked our property line.

creating a flower garden

Step 4: Plant

Earlier than we moved out of our earlier home we dug up and divided a few of our favourite perennials to deliver with us. This was enjoyable as a result of it mainly supplied us with an instantaneous backyard!

If you wish to fill your flower backyard mattress with colourful and weird bulbs you possibly can discover a few of my favorites right here.

And on this article I share my high 5 summer season blooming perennials.

In the event you’re creating this flower mattress and aren’t plant something straight away, merely skip to the subsequent step.

newly created flower garden

Step 5: Mulch

In the event you hate weeding and need to minimize down on the period of time you spend watering then I extremely suggest you unfold a thick layer of mulch over your mounded flower mattress.

In the event you’re not planting till later you possibly can layer on the mulch straight away. In the event you’re going to plant proper after constructing the mattress you need to plant first after which mulch.

That’s it! That’s a reasonably straightforward approach to construct a flower mattress.

Now let’s speak concerning the professionals and cons of this technique.


Fast: These beds don’t require lumber, instruments, or constructing abilities. You’ll be able to simply assemble a number of in a day work session.

Able to Plant: Since you’re increase soil on high of the grass, you don’t have to attend for the grass to die earlier than planting. You’ll be able to create the mattress and plant your perennials in the identical afternoon.

Form: You’ll be able to create mounded beds in a number of completely different sizes and styles and even add curves to make them extra attention-grabbing. 


Expense of Supplies: Since you’re increase you’ll want additional soil to create the mounded mattress. You may need additional soil laying round from a venture that you simply’d be thrilled to make use of up. If not, you’ll should order soil from an area panorama provide firm.

trees and flowers growing in a bed

Methodology #2: Smother & Wait Flower Mattress

The aspect of our home, which is south going through, was devoid of landscaping after we moved in. It will get nice solar and is extremely seen to our neighbors and passersby, so I undoubtedly wished to created an area for planting. My plan was to create a planting mattress that may run alongside the whole size of the home.

As a substitute of struggling to plant into or take away the grass I made a decision to organize the world within the fall and wait to plant till the subsequent spring. And by getting ready I imply I merely killed the grass and acquired a head begin on increase some natural matter.

Step 1: Design

Use spray paint or a hose to determine the footprint of the planting space. The hose means that you can play with the curve of the mattress.

Step 2: Lay out cardboard

Unfold the cardboard out to cowl the whole planting space. I scavenged giant items of cardboard from the dumpster of a furnishings retailer close to my home. 

You’ll be able to merely flatten every field and use it as a double layer. There’s disagreement in our home whether or not to take away the tape and stickers or not. (I vote no.) Be sure to are overlapping each bit of cardboard. No grass needs to be seen.


Step 3: Unfold woodchips

Unfold a thick layer of woodchips over the cardboard – 4-6 inches. Feather it over the entrance of the mattress the place the cardboard meets the grass. I prefer it thick right here as a result of it’s going to be a hassle space. Grass likes to maneuver into the woodchips.

We all the time transport our woodchips from the driveway pile to the world the place we’re working with a wheelbarrow. My favourite instrument to fill the wheelbarrow is a giant pitchfork.

Our woodchips all the time come delivered straight to our yard courtesy of my pricey arborist husband, however many cities and tree care corporations supply them free of charge.


Step 4: Depart the mattress for winter (or the season)

The goal of this technique is to smother the grass so it’s a lot simpler to plant. This take occasions. In the event you’re tackling this process within the spring I recommend leaving it’s for the season to let grass die beneath the cardboard. You would possibly be capable to begin planting within the fall.

In the event you’re engaged on this in the summertime or fall, you possibly can go away the world till the next spring. Whenever you’re able to plant a lot of the cardboard needs to be fairly decomposed.

Step 5: Plant

After a number of months or the subsequent season you possibly can merely push a number of the woodchips apart and dig a gap with a shovel for no matter you’re planting. In the event you run into some cardboard simply transfer it apart and tuck it below one other space of woodchips.

Now let’s study a number of the professionals and cons of technique quantity two of the right way to make a flower mattress.


Fast: These beds don’t require lumber, instruments, or constructing abilities. You’ll be able to simply assemble a number of in a day work session.

Form: You’ll be able to create woodchip beds in a number of completely different sizes and styles and even add curves to make them extra attention-grabbing. 

Low Expense: You solely want cardboard and woodchips for this technique. Each could be sourced free of charge. Yay!


Wait to Plant: The entire objective of this system is to make planting straightforward. Which means you need to look forward to the grass to die and the cardboard to interrupt down a bit earlier than planting. You’ll want to attend a minimum of a number of months between creating the mattress and planting it.

flower garden in bloom

A Few Extra Suggestions

This method is finest for areas the place you’ll be planting bushes, shrubs, perennial flowers or woody fruit.

Woodchips are for the vegetable backyard aisles ONLY. If you wish to use this technique to determine vegetable backyard beds you will have to take away the woodchips from the world the place you’ll be planting in spring. When combined into the soil, woodchips tie up nitrogen as a result of they’re made from a lot carbon. It will steal a lot wanted nitrogen out of your vegetable vegetation and probably stunt their progress.

Be at liberty so as to add compost, leaves or different natural matter both beneath or on high of the cardboard. I often add compost to every gap I dig when planting the subsequent spring.

Every season you’ll need to refresh the woodchips so they’re good and thick to maintain down the weeds.

Take a look at this text with tips about flower backyard design and the right way to keep away from the primary mistake most flower gardeners make.

If you wish to fill your flower backyard mattress with colourful and weird bulbs you possibly can discover a few of my favorites right here.

And on this article I share my high 5 summer season blooming perennials.

Hopefully you’ve discovered the right way to make a flower mattress in a manner that saves you time, power, and the headache of wrestling with ripping up and eliminating grass. I’ve been there and completed that previously and undoubtedly discovered that there have been simpler methods to create a backyard.