Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s garden is not one of the ten commandments but it’s close. In fact, your neighbour would probably be tickled pink if you admired their garden and asked them for advice. Better yet, use other people’s gardens as your inspiration for your own dream garden…
Create a New Garden in the Fall
Fall is the perfect time to plan and start or restore a garden. If you do not yet have a garden or would like to modify the one you have, follow this back-ache-free method. I have not yet tried this method, but it appears reasonably easy and scientifically sound. I would be willing to help anyone wishing to give it a try…
Determine a Shape
First, decide the shape you want: do you like straight edges or do you prefer rounded, curved edges? An easy way to visualize the shape is to lay a garden hose on the grass where you want your garden to be, adjusting the hose around the perimeter until you arrive with a shape you like. A general rule of thumb is to have the garden’s width a minimum of one-third its length. In other words, a foot-wide garden around the perimeter of your yard will not be as visually appealing as a wider one. Remember though, it is your garden, use your artistic genius and go with the shape YOU like!
Smother the Grass with Layers
When the shape has been determined, cut the grass short within the designated area. You are going to be smothering this grass, so short is best. Next, lay non-glossy newspaper over the area, wetting each layer, until you have a 3 cm thick soggy mess! Sprinkle the newspaper layer with a dusting of blood meal for nitrogen. Then add a 4 cm layer of garden soil that has compost added. (not potting soil or topsoil) or composted manure. Your final layer should be 6 cm of organic, hardwood mulch to hold the other layers in place and to keep weeds from germinating. It must be organic to decompose and enrich the soil. Continue to water well between layers and after the mulch for the next few months; do not let your creation dry out!
Plant the Following Spring
In the spring, when the soil has warmed up, your garden will be ready to plant. You do not have to disturb your layers, simply dig out a “plug” of mulch a bit bigger than the size of your plant, add the plant, and replace the mulch. Remember, to prevent your plants from rotting, keep the mulch away from the crown of perennials as well as the stems or trunks of shrubs and trees…
While thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s garden, you can admire your own!