Soil Preparation – Flower Gardens – First Step to Success

To a certain extent — where our flower gardens and flower borders are positioned and how we prepare them is dictated to us by our property and what conditions we have to work with.

For example:
If you want to block the view of something unsightly — that will dictate where you plant.

If you want to make an area with a lot a trees look good and cut down mowing by using perennials in the form of plants and shrubs — those tree roots will determine to a great degree where and how deeply you can dig.

How to Achieve the Most Success

If there is anyway the soil in your borders or flower beds can be prepared deeply — chances are they will be your  best. AND they’ll be easy care and low maintenance  as well.

Yes, it takes a little effort to prepare soil deeply, but you need only do it once.  And with each passing year, it gets easier and easier to maintain.

Marketing has made Buying Soil Popular

It’s very popular now to bring in soil and other amendments and place them in a framed enclosure and then plant. But to have the very best flower garden and the one you will more than likely have the MOST success with on a long term basis is one that is dug deeply and improves the soil you already have.

Why is Deeply Prepared Soil Your Best Chance for Success?

Plants whose roots can penetrate into the deep layers of the soil have the best chance for success. They can find nutrients and water they need even in less than ideal conditions.  Especially after they’re established — plants in this kind of soil — with the additional help of  mulch — can take care of themselves with minimal attention from you.

What to Do

You’ll want to loosen the soil to a dept of 12 to 24 inches.  I’ve explained how to do this in my post on Soil Preparation at  Also covered is

  • the best time to prepare your soil,
  • 9 simple steps to soil preparation,
  • using a tiller (a shortcut), and
  • the original double digging method.

Final Thoughts

Preparing your soil deeply will save you so much time and work in years to come it’s almost unmeasurable! The benefits are so great that it pales into insignificance the one time effort needed to accomplish it.


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Related Posts:

Soil Prepartion – 1st Key to Soil Improvement (Part 1)

Soil Preparation – 1st Key to Soil Improvement (Part 2)

Soil Improvement  – Your Foundation for Success


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5 comments to Soil Preparation – Flower Gardens – First Step to Success

  • Sandra

    Theresa, I’ve learned that this is so important.

    Do you have any different advice for tackling a steep hill? It is weedy right now, but if I clear and dig, I’m afraid the soil will erode and slide downhill if I don’t get it planted right away, and thickly enough. I guess, I would have to clear and prep. a very small area, then plant and mulch the same day – and so on until I completed the job. Problem is that if I can’t keep a continual progress, the weeds that remain encroach again. We have had erosion problems on this hill before.

  • Theresa

    Sandra — this hill — which you have told me about in detail in personal emails to me — is not even in the realm of flower gardens and/or borders at this stage of the game.

    You had mentioned that it’s a 60 ft. wide by 110 ft rectangle than runs down behind your house and is super steep. Not only is it difficult for you to work — due to the steepness of the hill — but it is completely overgrown with Kudzu.

    You also mentioned that the weeds are at least as tall as you in places and completely overgrown.

    Being overwhelmed with this hill is certainly understandable — since not only do you have 3 children to school and tend — but you have all your other chores, plus growing food.

    The part-solutions that you have mentioned to me thus far, have not matched the task at hand.

    If you are going to improve this hill — which is a major task — I think you are going to need help.

    At one time you said you had it chopped back by a team of workers. That would be a starting point — only.

    Depending on how much you want to fix this area — I would entertain having it cut back and keeping it cut back. Do not let it overgrow again. The roots in the ground and the cut brush on top should be enough to keep the soil from eroding and sliding downhill. Even keeping 1/4 or 1/3 or 1/2 cut back to begin with is a step in the right direction.

    Just that step alone is major — and will give you time to get a true perspective of the hill (or the part you keep cut back) and what possibilities it may have.

    As you know Kudzu roots wherever it touches the ground and will have to be dealt with in areas where you want to plant other things.

    Once you have this steep hill cut (or at least part of it) —- and you keep it cut back —- then you can start doing what you feel needs to be done — little by little.

    Once you are realistic about what you can do and want to do and have to do — I think you will be able to tackle the problem and make headway.

  • Sandra

    Reality check, thanks.

  • Aparna


    I love flowers- however have always been hesitant to grow them since I felt that they require so much care and whatever I had planted, just withered and died off. I only have birds-of-paradise which was there when we bought our home we do enjoy the blooms.

    The timing of your new blog is perfect, I will now try to grow some perennials your way, starting with soil preparation.

    Congratulations on starting the blog and thanks for the constant encouragement.


  • Theresa

    Aparna — I was glad to get your comments and am thrilled that I have encouraged yo to grow some perennials! And yes, soil preparation is the way to begin your success story.
    All these articles I keep reading online make one think they have to have everything in the world to start a flower garden. It’s nonsense! Well — actually it’s marketing to sell products —- but it’s still nonsense!
    You just keep forging ahead. You are going to really enjoy your flowers!
    Let me know if I can help!

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