Help building a flower bed

OK all you master gardeners, I need your expertise. First, let me say that I live in Texas and I am trying to build a bed in an area that has hard rocky soil. A friend of mine dug out the area to about 5 inches deep. I do not want to use the black landscaping paper. However, someone told me to use cardboard. They said to lay it on the existing rocky soil. Then to fill in with garden soil followed by a layer of several sheets of newspaper and then mulch on top. Does this sound good to you or do you have any other suggestions?
  5 answers
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on May 20, 2013
    If you have rocky soil and clay, there is no escaping having to dig it out to a depth of several inches...depending on what you plan to plant and ho much you want to build up beds. I DO NOT DIG IF IT CAN BE AVOIDED (see photo of 2 raised bed.) When I make an irregular line of flowers, hubby cuts open the bag of top soil and makes a planting row of about 8" high...plenty deep enough for annuals. However, if you plan to be there a while, use rocks to hold in dirt and pile on good soil. Do yourself a favor and put in a good amount of watering crystals by Miracle Grow...they are fantastic! Well worth the money!

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on May 20, 2013
    What you describe, Gretchen, is sheet-mulching or lasagna gardening, and, yes, it will work. You'll want to alternate layers of organic material and garden soil to a depth of at least eight inches. Here's a collection of tips for this method of gardening:

  • Sia@South 47th Sia@South 47th on May 20, 2013
    I go with raised beds, made from pallets. They are free, take just a little time to put together and I have wheels on some for rotational purposes. I'm doing that here at the cottage and I did it when I was on 10 acres. They just work out better for me. xo

  • Gretchen Colyer Gretchen Colyer on May 25, 2013
    Doug thank you for your help. It was exactly what I was looking for.

  • Gretchen Colyer Gretchen Colyer on May 25, 2013
    Sia and Jeanette thanking you for your input. Raised beds are wonderful. I have built two and really enjoy the final outcome. Thanks again.