Jess W
Jess W
  • Hometalker
Asked on May 20, 2013

Reclaiming a flower bed...

MyrnaCatherine SmithJess W
+13

Answered

I need help! I am trying reclaim a garden bed in the side of my house. Someone laid several layers of black plastic down years ago it appears and it has been over grown with moss. I have gotten 3 hostas to take in it. Am I right that I should pull up the plastic, til it and start over??
q reclaiming a flower bed, flowers, gardening
16 answers
  • Barb Rosen
    on May 20, 2013

    I would pull up the plastic and lay down 6 to 8 layers of black & white newspaper pages, wet it and put mulch on top. That will smother the weeds and the paper will break down over time and enrich your soil. Just tuck it in around your hostas. The paper can be torn to fit easily.

  • Cyndi Moore Tippett
    on May 20, 2013

    I would definitely pull up the plastic, but I would not till it because all you are going to do it disturb a trillion weed seeds. I always get free compost dirt from the county that I live in and put about six inches to a foot of that dirt on the top of the existing dirt, (to build it up bc it will settle some) then I would plant my flowers and put a thick layer of mulch (pine straw, etc.) The few weeds that come up will be easy to pull up. I would also caution you not to plant your flowers/shrubs to close to your house foundation. Always error on the side of having them out to far. Barb does have an good idea too. I have done it, but found the thick layer of compost dirt worked best for me in a new flower bed. Happy gardening....

  • Cyndi Moore Tippett
    on May 20, 2013

    If you put down yard lime (granules) on the moss (it will take about six months for it to completely work) it will be easy to rake up with a steel rake. I just did it to my front yard last the fall and I was able to rake up all the moss last month before I put down sod.

  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson)
    on May 21, 2013

    I am joining the chorus on taking up the plastic, though I do wonder what the original intent was and am a bit concerned about the house foundation. Is there a crawl space or do you have a basement?

  • Jess W
    on May 21, 2013

    It is a crawl space.

  • Gail Salminen
    on May 21, 2013

    Jess, I would definitely take up the plastic for proper drainage. Putting paper down to keep the old weeks at bay is also a good idea and will decompose in a short time. Most of the moss will likely come up when you remove the plastic. Also adding a good topsoil on tip will be beneficial for your plans. After you plant I would put a thick layer of shredded mulch on the soil, this will decrease the weeding required by a significant amount. You will need to add mulch each spring, just not as thick as the first year, but it is well worth it. Thanks for posing the question.

  • Catherine Smith
    on May 21, 2013

    I agree with the previous posts, pull up that plastic and add layer's of newspaper. If you want to use it for planting soonest, check out Lasagna Gardening on the web. It works like a charm and enriches and helps heal the soil very rapidly. Easy to do and you can direct plant right into the layers.

  • Nancy Hatcher
    on May 21, 2013

    Definitely remove the plastic. There are several options you can work with. Barb's suggestion with the newspaper is a great idea and worms love it! It looks like someone had already laid a row of bricks down. You could build up a raised bed by adding more brick 3 to 5 high or as high as you like. Put the papers down, compost and top soil mixed, re-plant and mulch. If you don't want a raised bed you can dig up some of the dirt, mix well with compost. It would be best to have about 4 to 6 inches of loose dirt and compost as long as what you plant are flowers that don't have deep roots. You can put newspapers down, if you want, around the plants and mulch heavily. If neither of the above works for you try putting potted plants in varying sizes and shapes arranged against the wall. Go ahead and put the paper down before you position your pots and mulch heavily. This would be a easier way to let the paper and mulch kill out the weeds. It will also give you a start to building the bed in preparation for next year. You could even add some compost before adding the mulch. It looks like the area you have stays damp and doesn't get much sun. You could add some astilbes (likes plenty of moisture and shade) which will add an upright element to the hostas or some little woodruff to provide low interest. What ever you choose to do it looks like a great place to plant and enjoy. Good luck and have fun! Nancy

  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson)
    on May 21, 2013

    When adding materials that close to the foundation, just make sure you have a slope going away from the house so that you don't direct water flow to the foundation and create a mess under your house. We had to cover our entire crawl space with plastic because it was growing mushrooms which rots foundation and increases allergy responses...blech...

  • Debra Peters
    on May 21, 2013

    I HATE BLACK PLASTIC!!! My ENTIRE yard (front and back) was covered in it, then landscape rock was put on top (the rocks are typical in Arizona. I've spent 20 years trying to get some kind of gardening landscape going, but the plastic is worse than weeds!!!

  • Michelle Sloan
    on May 22, 2013

    I would try laying down cardboard instead of the paper (I have seen this suggested on Pinterest), as I tried the newspaper and it did not work for me. But definately pull up the plastic.

  • Jeanette S
    on May 22, 2013

    There is no easy solution to weeds...that is just a fact of life, darn it!

  • Jess W
    on May 22, 2013

    Thanks for all the help everyone! I am glad to hear that the black plastic is definitely something to remove. I will add a photo once I fix it in the next couple of weeks!

  • Jess W
    on May 28, 2013

    Ok, so here is the nearly finished product. I need to get the last few stones and I am hoping to add some color but I think it is a huge improvement. We are going to be putting a lattice enclosure around the AC unit also.

    q reclaiming a flower bed, flowers, gardening, And againq reclaiming a flower bed, flowers, gardening, And this is what we ended up withq reclaiming a flower bed, flowers, gardening, This is what we started withq reclaiming a flower bed, flowers, gardening, and this
  • Catherine Smith
    on May 28, 2013

    That really looks great! :)

  • Myrna
    on May 28, 2013

    Looks good. Wish, I'd gotten a before picture of my mess I fixed today so I could have a before and after picture. It looks so much better.

Your comment...