Creative garden landscaping from design to completion


Perfect bed preparation.

"Grade the grains to make finer flowers" Ever wondered what is the best way to prepare your garden beds for planting? Our Perfect Bed Preparation blog features the steps you need to prepare & why.

For plants to thrive, they need good soil conditions to achieve this.

Roots need to be able to spread out into the soil to anchor the plants and pick up valuable nutrients and water from the soil.

Most of the soil in the Downland and Weald is clay, with variants that are either chalky or silty.  All of these soil types need braking up and organic matter built in, for plants to thrive.

Step 1. Clear beds.

If you are laying new beds, plant the bed first.

If they are existing, think about whether it is an opportunity to change the shape.

The hard work is to strip the beds of all plant life. Unless you are keeping certain trees or shrubs. Perennials can usually be lifted.

Clearing the beds

Step 2. Cultivate beds.

If it is a small bed, this can be done by hand using a garden fork and spade.

For a larger bed, it is worth hiring a cultivator.

With the cultivator, keep going up and down the bed. Slowly going deeper into the soil and crumbling the soil into finer lumps.

If the soil is too wet, the cultivator “tynes” will just clog up, so it is worth waiting until late spring/summer for this.

Cultivate Beds

Step 3. Add organic matter.

I use “spent mushroom compost”.  A covering of 4-6″ is good.

This is available delivered from DMS landscape Supplies in bulk, or Robins of Hurstmonceaux will supply loose, by the cubic meter bags.

1 bag will cover around 6-8 square meters of bed.  1 cubic meter will cover approx 10 square meters of bed.

Add organic matter

Step 4. Cultivate the compost into the soil.

Once spread, the compost will need to be cultivated into the soil.

The compost is bifacial for several reasons.

  • Adds food and nutrients for the plants.
  • Is food for the worms and microorganisms.
  • binds with the soil to prevent it clogging up again.
  • Increases moisture retention.
  • Allows surplus water to pass through.


Prepping the beds

Step 5. Planting the beds.

This is the nice bit,wheree all your hard work pays off.

Lay out the plants, giving them plenty of room to grow into.

Start with the trees, which are represented by the metal bases. then large growing shrubs (choisya ternata), Small shrubs (lavander) and finally, Perennials.

Stand back and have a good look at the bed before planting.

Imagine what the plants will look life when they are full grown. When your happy, pop them in the ground, with a some multi purpose compost.

Planting the beds


Step 6. Mulch beds.

Once you are happy with the beds, add a 4-6″ layer of composted woodchip mulch.

Available in bulk bags from DMS Landscape supplies. A bag will cover 6-8 square meters.

The mulch will,

  • Act as a weed suppressant.
  • Reduce the amount of watering needed.
  • Will break down and feed the soil, over time.

Mulch Beds

Step 7. Enjoy!

Find a nice spot in the garden to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your efforts.

Well done!

Eventually, the plants will fill out and mature.

Enjoy your Garden


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