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Before you begin a new flower bed, it’s a good idea to map out your ideas. Use a garden hose to mark the outlines of the new bed or border, or set potted plants on the ground where you’d like to plant them. Then stand back and take a look. Make adjustments now before you start digging.

Once you know how you want your new bed to look, you’re ready to remove the sod. Cut along the outline of your bed with a spade, then slip the spade just under the grass roots and cut a small strip of sod, rolling it up as you go.

After you’ve removed the sod, you’re ready to dig the new bed. Begin at one end of the bed and shovel away one blade-depth of soil, piling it on the opposite end of the bed. Next, loosen the subsoil below about 1 foot deep, and add compost, sand or other soil improvements. Now move to the next section of the bed and remove the topsoil, piling it on top of the loosened subsoil in the first section. Continue in this manner until you come to the end of the bed and cover the subsoil in this section with the topsoil from the first section. The loosened, enriched soil will work wonders for your plants!

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