Do you want to start a new garden? Follow these simple steps to begin a new garden bed from start to finish.

We spent 23 years in my former home. And I installed several garden beds for different reasons. From flower gardening to growing vegetables or hiding equipment, I spent several years growing my gardens.

To give you an idea just how much I did, here are a few new gardens that I created and why:

For many years, my gardens focused on easy-care, low-maintenance plants that did not require a lot of attention from me.

I followed a low-maintenance approach because I was raising three active kids and our lives were very busy running from activity to activity seven days a week.

The time was not there to tend to anything that required a lot of work. But now that they are older, I have more time to spare and want to try some new plants in a cut flower garden.

I am interested in growing David Austin Roses, more dahlias, and other cutting flowers so I can bring them indoors to use in floral arrangements.

With this new purpose in mind, we added an additional garden to an existing bed in the front yard to accommodate them.

Wait until you see how easy it is to start a new garden.

(Posts on stacyling.com may contain affiliate links. Click HERE for full disclosure.)

What You Should Do Before Starting a New Garden

Before starting a new garden, there are a few things to consider so you get the most out of it and grow plants with success.

What Do You Want to Grow?

The first thing to consider is the type of garden you want to grow. We need to understand what we want to grow, so we know the type of sunlight it needs.

Are you interested in growing a woodland garden? Do you want to grow a vegetable garden? Do you want to add a relaxing zen garden?

Or maybe you want to grow beautiful flowers to design a cottage garden.

Whatever type of garden you wish to grow, it’s important to evaluate whether our yard can actually grow it.

5 Ways to Grow a Cottage Garden
Front walkway border that blooms throughout the season and attracts pollinators.

What I mean is, we may want to grow something, but the atmosphere of our property might not be conducive to growing it.

For example, if I have a heavily shaded yard, it will be challenging to grow a vegetable garden with a lack of sunlight.

I may be able to alter those conditions by cutting back tree branches, etc. but these are things we need to consider before starting a new bed.

How to make Fresh flowers last longer
Echinacea is a popular perennial that attracts butterflies.

Choose a Location

Once we decide what we want to grow, we need to determine where to put the garden. Find the best spot in the yard that will provide the proper light conditions.

If you are not sure how much sun a particular area receives, spend a day watching and charting it.

Start in the morning, check it hourly, and note whether it receives, sun, partial sun, shade, etc.

Dahlia 'Jowey Winnie'
Dahlia ‘Jowey Winnie’

It is also a good idea to take a soil test before planting in an area so you know how to amend the soil. I realize that sounds like an unnecessary step, but knowledge is power.

Knowing your soil conditions is tremendously helpful before planting. Why?

Because the soil matters.

For example, some plants will not grow well in highly alkaline soil.

You could give them all the right conditions and because they don’t love alkaline soil, they will not thrive and potentially die.

freezing tomatoes

So it’s better to know that your soil is higher in alkaline before you plant acidic-loving plants like azaleas or rhododendrons there.

Because if you skip this part, you will leave thinking you can’t grow stuff.

And while it’s true you can start a new bed without ever doing this step, save yourself time, money, and stress by doing the soil test.

Soil test kits are available through your local garden extension, as well as local nurseries and big box stores.

close up of rhododenron flowers
Rhododendron

Determine the Size and Shape

Similar to choosing the right location, it’s important to determine the new bed’s size and shape.

Consider the overall size and amount of plants you wish to include and start there.

To preplan your garden design, measure the area (LxW) to determine your square footage. Then look at what you want to grow to determine how much you can fit in your new garden space.

happy gardening with raised garden beds filled with lettuce and other vegetables. Steel corrugated metal self-watering raised beds from gardeners supply
My new raised vegetable garden.

How to Start a New Garden

While starting a new garden is pretty easy to do, it is very tiring because it is a lot of labor to remove the grass.

But it can be done in a day or less depending on the size of the bed you make.

Supplies to Start a New Garden

If you’ve been gardening for a while, you probably have most of the supplies needed to start a new garden.

But in general, here’s what you need to remove grass and start a new bed.

Spring Flowers like lenten rose, virginia bluebells and bleeding hearts in the Zen Garden

Directions to Start a New Garden

Once you have all of your supplies ready to go, it’s time to start digging out the grass. Here’s how start a new garden bed.

  • Choose the location.
  • Layout the new bed with a hose or long extension cord.
  • Use the spade shovel to follow the outline of the new bed. Slice through the grass roots and dig out the grass until the outline is complete.
  • Remove all grass with wheelbarrow and replant or dispose. We replant what we can in other areas of the yard that are struggling to grow lawn.
  • If satisfied with the size and shape of the new bed, dig out the rest of the grass using the spade shovel, pitchfork or both.
  • Pitch or turn the soil over to aerate and loosen it up. It will be easier to dig and plant after.
How to Start a Garden by removing the grass after outlining the new shape
digging out the grass with a garden fork to start a new garden
How to Start a Garden digging out the grass after making the outline using a spade shovel and wheelbarrow
How to Start a Garden removing grass with a spade shovel and garden fork to replant grass elswhere and aerating the soil
  • Lay out your plants. Be sure to read the tags on the plants purchased. Understand the overall size and work in odd numbered groupings. Space plants apart according to the plant tags. The new bed may look sparse the first year or two but will fill in over time.
  • Using a shovel, dig a hole 2x the size of the root ball.
  • Remove plant from the plastic nursery pot, fan out the roots with your fingers to encourage them to grow outside the root ball.
Digging out and pitching sod - How to Start a Garden
the new garden completely cleaned out and ready for planting
adding garden mulch to new garden bed
  • Add some fresh garden soil and amendments to the hole before planting. Note about soil: There are many brands of garden soil out there. I usually look for brands that have soil amendments like compost and hummus already mixed in – it’s just easier that way.
  • Set the new plant in the hole.
  • Backfill the hole with fresh garden soil, amendments and existing soil.
  • Top the bed off with fresh mulch. It’s best to wait to mulch after planting the new bed. In my case, I don’t have any of the new plants yet and had a huge pile of mulch to spread. Therefore, I mulched my new garden first, but it can be done either way.
close up of sweet pea seedlings
Digging a hole to plant the sweet pea seedlings -How to Plant a Garden After Starting Seeds Indoors
Sweet pea seedlings after planting -How to Plant a Garden After Starting Seeds Indoors

How to Start a New Garden

Do you want to start a new garden? Follow these simple steps to begin a new garden bed from start to finish.
Prep Time2 hours
Active Time6 hours
Total Time8 hours
Calories:
Author: Stacy Ling

Materials

Instructions

  • Choose a location.
  • Layout the new bed with a hose or long extension cord.
  • Use the spade shovel to follow the outline of the new bed. Slice through the grassroots and dig out the grass until the outline is complete.
    How to Start a Garden by removing the grass after outlining the new shape
  • Remove all grass with wheelbarrow and replant or dispose.
    digging out the grass with a garden fork to start a new garden
  • If satisfied with the size and shape of the new bed, dig out the rest of the grass using the spade shovel, gardenfork, or both.
    How to Start a Garden digging out the grass after making the outline using a spade shovel and wheelbarrow
  • Pitch or turn the soil over to aerate and loosen it up. It will be easier to dig and plant after.
    Digging out and pitching sod - How to Start a Garden
  • Lay out your plants.
  • Using a shovel, dig a hole 2x the size of the root ball.
  • Remove plant from the plastic nursery pot, fan out the roots with your fingers to encourage them to grow outside the root ball.
    planting a mosquito repellent garden in the backyard garden in front of garden shedHow to Plant a Mosquito Repellent Garden
  • Add some fresh garden soil and amendments to the hole before planting.
  • Set the new plant in the hole.
  • Backfill the hole with fresh garden soil, amendments and existing soil.
  • Top the bed off with fresh mulch.

My New Garden

I’m so happy I started this new garden.

Because I wanted to test the waters with a new cut flower garden, I added several dahlia varieties and roses just to get my feet wet.

But I also did not love the original shape of the existing bed so adding on to it helped create a more aesthetically pleasing design.

This garden addition is 3 years old now and is still doing great! Here are some of the blooms I planted.

New Garden Lady of shallot rose
David Austin Rose ‘Lady of Shallot’
The Complete Guide to Roses Care
‘Charlotte’ David Austin Rose

The roses totally have my heart. I bought them all bare root after starting this garden section and they bloomed the first season!

In addition to growing roses here, I also tucked in a few dahlia varieties. It’s amazing how beautifully unique these flowers are.

And the more you cut the more flowers you have.

Gah! I’m in love. I have to grow more!

Dahlias from the cutting garden - How to Dry Flowers
‘Karma Chocolate’ Dahlia

After the first season of growing these dahlias here, I created a much larger cut flower garden outside of the shed in the backyard.

Why?

So I could grow a lot more flowers!!!

Dahlias
‘Cafe Au Lait’ Dahlia

Want an Easier Way to Start a Garden?

If you want to start a garden without breaking your back and digging out all the grass, you’ve got to try this method!

There are a few ways to do it depending on what you want to do. But check out this post to see how to start a new garden without the work!

More About Starting a New Garden

Have you started a new garden before? Do you have any tips to share? I would love to know more in the comments below.

And don’t miss joining my Gardening DIY and Decorating Community on Facebook for more chatter. And follow along there and on Instagram as well. There are behind-the-scenes daily things that I share on Instagram that don’t make it to the blog. Would love to see you there too!

If you prefer to binge-watch Bricks ’n Blooms on TV, we go more in-depth with tours and posts on my YouTube channel. Would love to hang out with you there!

And… If you’re catching up on blog posts you may have missed, be sure to sign-up to get my newest posts via email to stay up to date with everything that’s happening here on the blog and more.

Garden Supplies I Use

Since I’ve been gardening for well over twenty-five years, I’m often asked about the garden supplies and tools that I use most. Here are some of my favorites that I use in no particular order.

dahlia kogane fubuki in the potager garden

Click here to shop my favorite garden supplies!

Stacy Ling with her book the bricks n blooms guide to a beauitful and easy care flower garden

If you’ve always dreamed of bringing country charm to your home while creating a beautiful, relaxing space, I got you! Learn how to grow flowers in even the smallest of spaces with my easy-care, low-maintenance approach.

Pin It to Remember It Later

Thank you so much for reading this post.

If you enjoyed this blog, please share it on Pinterest. (If you hover over the image, the Pinterest button will be in the upper left corner.) I’ve created the below-custom pins for this post.

purple cone flowers

Sign Me Up!

Sign up for my free newsletter to get blog posts, seasonal tips, recipes, and more delivered straight to your inbox!

Plus, get free VIP access to my Resource Library where you’ll find insider freebies not readily available to the public.

Thank you for stopping by the blog today.

Enjoy your day! xo

stacy ling signature

Want to learn more about me? I’m a master gardener who’s been gardening and growing things for over 25 years and author of the best-selling book, The Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide to a Beautiful and Easy-Care Flower Garden. Get the inside scoop about my background as a master gardener, education, and experience, as well as why I started blogging here.

stacy ling cutting dahlias in her garden

If you like this post, please follow me @bricksnblooms on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Subscribe to my YouTube Channel. Or join my Facebook Group.

Home and Garden Blogger Stacy Ling cutting zinnia flowers in her cottage garden with wood picket fence in front of garden shed
Woodland garden with hydrangea, geraniums, and ferns - how to start a new garden
Joe Pye Weed
How to start a new garden - summer mixed border with daylillies smoke tree, zebra grass and hydrangea
This border conceals equipment for our well. The bed we added this weekend is an extension of this border.
How to Start a Garden
echinacea variety that I've not grown before in new garden

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating