March 28, 2012

Preparing a Flower Bed - Part 2

Last week I went over the first few steps to preparing a flower bed here and here. This last weekend I brought my flower bed to completion and will now finish illustrating the process of how to prepare a flower bed.

Gathering Materials

Since I had been so anxious to finish the flower bed all week, I rushed to Wal Mart on Saturday morning to gather supplies. My list consisted of:
I already had a few of the above items, but I figured I'd better buy some more while I'm at it since I will be doing the front flower bed next week.
Manifold, Drip Line, and Sprinkler Risers

Wal Mart's plant selection is not the best, but they're inexpensive which is what I like..

I picked out some Cinerarias, Zonal Geraniums, and Petunias.

And finally, Soil Amendments and Top Soil. This is where I might lose some of you... I'm sure I am the devil for using Wal Mart mulch in my flower bed. As much as I would love to build my own compost pile, it wasn't in the cards this year. Maybe next year I will be able to go all natural but for now, Scott's and MiracleGro is what I've got.

Bring on the Banter

Now I was ready to get this bed looking GOOD!!

Installing Drip Manifold

The first thing I needed to do was to get rid of the sprinkler bubblers that dominated this flower bed's irrigation system. I did not want to use a bubbler system because they flood the entire flower bed and promote an exhaustive amount of weed growth. My flower beds deserve the best. And there's nothing better flowers than direct watering from an automatic irrigation system.

So I installed the manifold..

Buried the innerds...

And was ready to move on.

Soil Amendments

Like I said, my soil amendments consisted of two big bags of MiracleGro's Garden Soil. I dumped both bugs into a wheelbarrow, and hand shoveled it onto the top of the flower bed, one scoop at a time. The bag said that it should sit 3 inches high when on the surface of the soil before you start mixing it in. Two bags was perfect for this little shade garden.

Then I mixed it all together with a garden hoe and VOILA!

We're cookin now.

Time to Plant

This is always my favorite part. My wife arranged and positioned the plants the way she wanted them, and then I dug the holes, added a little MiracleGro helper beads to each one, and patted the soil down nicely.

Lay Drip Tubing

I don't think a lot of people realize how easy it is to install a drip irrigation system. Once you have the manifold in place, the rest is pretty easy.
When you do drip irrigation, you want to make sure you are dispersing the water pressure evenly. I only had two main drip lines, one going left and the other going right, there probably wouldn't be enough water pressure for the flowers on either end. So, I did 4 main drip lines, two across the back, and two in the front. To branch off from the main line, simply cut the line with scissors, add a drip tee, and attach another line to the end of the drip tee long enough to reach the designated plant.

It's difficult for me to explain how drip irrigation works. Hopefully you can get the idea from this picture:

I forgot to buy drip stakes, and I did not want to run to the store again so I just kept the drip line in place with rocks. It worked for me! I still need to get some stakes but I'm not in a huge hurry because the rocks are working just fine for now.

Now that the drip line was in place and each plant had it's own designated dripper, it was time to finally lay the top soil!

Lay Top Soil

Two bags of Scott's Topsoil was almost enough for this size of flower bed. When I do my flower bed in the front yard, I plan on buying a little extra soil so that I can thicken the back flower bed. But, I think it turned out alright. :)

And that is how you prepare a flower bed. I have yet to do the same thing to my front yard so if you have any suggestions or feedback, let me know in the comments. Thanks! :)


Phil Goold is a retired landscaper of 30 years. He loves being outside more than anything else, except maybe pie. He enjoys connecting with other landscapers and gardeners because everyone brings something new and fun to the table. Connect with Phil on Twitter and Google+.


  1. Great job, Nate. What kinds of things would you write about, and would you like me to write a guest post for you?

    1. Thanks Benita! I have a few article ideas in mind. I'd like to talk to you about it some more. Do you have an email? Or you can reach me at natertots11 (at) gmail (dot) com.

      And I would love for you to Guest Post on here! Let's make it happen!

      Thanks for stopping by! :)