How To Turn A Shrub Border Into A Flower Border

One way to give your home a facelift in a single weekend is to remove the old shrubs that border your house and replace them with beautifully varied flower beds. Of course, this will require some preparation before you can actually plant. The following guide can help you prepare these border beds for the wonderful shock of color a combination of perennial and annual flowers can provide.

Step 1: Remove all the old plant material

You don't want to leave any old roots from the shrubs or weeds that have invaded in the beds. Roots from shrubs can actually send up new shoots if left in place, making them just as big of a problem as the weeds. Dig these out and remove the top few inches of soil to ensure no weeds or their seeds remain.

Step 2: Put in edging

Shrub borders are often planted without edging, which is a problem once you put in flowers. Without edging, nearby lawn grasses will invade your flower beds, and your flowers may begin to spread into your lawn. Whether you opt for vinyl, cement, brick, or another option, edging is key to preventing the above problem. Just make sure the edging you choose extends at least 4 inches into the soil and stands at least 2 inches above the ground.

Step 3: Replenish the soil

The shrubs that were in the bed previously likely took most of the nutrients out of the soil. While you can build up the garden bed with plain topsoil, there is a better option. Instead, apply a 3- to 6-inch deep layer of compost over the border bed, then till it in to mix it with the soil already in the bed. The compost will add nutrients as well as the necessary organic matter to give the soil a healthy structure. You can have just the amount you need delivered by a compost supply service.

Step 4: Provide for drainage

Border beds sit below the eaves of your roof. One reason shrubs are sometimes grown here is that they can handle the water runoff from the roof without being washed away. While a good gutter system can solve many runoff issues, some drip will occur along the roof edge. You can solve this problem and prevent runoff damage to more delicate flowers by digging a 6-inch deep trench along the dripline. Fill this trench with gravel. As long as you don't try to grow anything in this trench, it will work to absorb the dripping water with minimal splashing onto nearby flowers.