View Full Version : Need help.. again. Widening beds.. Best approach?

04-07-2002, 01:19 AM
Someone wants their landscape beds enlarged by about foot and in a couple of areas a couple of feet. I measured it out to be approximately 250 linear feet.

Then I have 8 individual shrubs that I need to put beds around. About 1.5 - 2 feet from center will need to be removed.

Can someone tell me what would be the best tool for the job? Sod cutter, tiller or something else? Please don't say a shovel ;)

How long do you think this would take?

Any help would be most appreciated!

04-07-2002, 05:33 AM
i would say just a reartine tiller would get it done with the least shovel-ness towards you:D

04-07-2002, 12:41 PM

Anyone else?

Randy Scott
04-07-2002, 01:08 PM
Brown Mfg. Bed edger and a small tiller.

04-07-2002, 01:17 PM
Can anyone go into more detail? I have not done this before... Till first then edge? How long do you think it'll take?

Pretty Please?

04-07-2002, 02:44 PM
i just edge and spray with round up when it dies string trim it out and mulch

04-07-2002, 04:25 PM
Why are the beds being enlarged? Is it simply a larger mulched area or will it be planted? If the client is going to want annuals or perennials planted in the new area, then you need to do more than if its just putting more mulch down.

04-07-2002, 05:29 PM
It's a case of the turf creeping inward and the existing landscape growing out....

I was hoping to get away with using a son cutter?

04-08-2002, 12:55 AM

04-08-2002, 09:23 AM
Tom - If you've got a minimum of 12", and more in places - I would recommend the following.

1) Mark out your new bed lines by painting them in
2) Use a sod cutter first along the outside line of your new bed line, then work into the bed cutting out sod
3) Spade edge or use a bed edger to lay in new edge along your new bed line
4) Rototill and amend soil if necessary
5) Clean up bed edge/gutter - easy to do since you already established it
6) Grade bed out
7) Plant, mulch accordingly

I am always an advocate of removing sod instead of rototilling it under. It'll always come back to haunt you later on.

04-08-2002, 06:58 PM
Thanks LawnLad...

I plan to use a sod cutter and bed edger.. then smooth out with a hand rake...

Does anyone have any idea of how long it would take to do this (cut sod & bed edge) to 250 linear feet?

This is what I really need to know...

04-10-2002, 01:48 PM
What is the total square footage? 250 ft x avg width?

Les Blum
04-10-2002, 03:40 PM
I dug a new bed. About 210 sq ft. Edged by hand (kidney shape), dug out sod with a shovel, wheelbarrow the sod to a depression on the property about 50-75 feet away. Removed a few baseball size stones and raked it level. Took me 5 1/2 hours.
Considering my area (Orange County NY), the ground was relatively soft and easy to dig. This is no BS ing, no breaks (just a swig of H2O), no lunch, no smoking, and just me.

04-10-2002, 05:34 PM
Eek! I bet your back was mad at you after doing that!

I shovled muck for 7 hours for my friend's dad, he's a contractor. Paid us $7/hr. I can't believe I thought I was making good money. He he, this was pre-LS though, so I didn't know better. But boy was I sore that next day.


04-10-2002, 09:23 PM

I'll only be removing the width of the cutter... maybe a little more in a couple of places.

04-10-2002, 09:42 PM
Tom -

I think two guys could:

1) Run sod cutter, gather up debris and place in truck
2) Spade edge bed
3) Rototill (if necessary) along bed edge where sod was removed
4) Clean out gutter/edge and grade bed

In less than half a day - about 8 to 10 man hours. I'm figuring some travel, set up and clean up in here. I also don't know what kind of grading you'll have into the existing bed. You could also work in organics into a similar time frame for amending the bed.

Can't quote the mulch part since I don't know how much you're going to mulch.

Hope this helps. And further, hope I'm not that far off!

04-11-2002, 07:40 AM
You can think about it more, rent rent equipment to make it easier, or spray herbicide..but, Les Blum would have collected the check and the job would have been done a long time ago.
I agree that a sod cutter is the easiest wat to go, but 500 square feet is not that difficult...this used to be like changing a light bulb - you just did it.
Now there are so many specialized tools and gadgets everyone second guesses everything. This business is still a labor based industry, that is why so many people demand these services instead of doing it themselves. And that is why there are so many people in this business - it is not rocket science.

04-11-2002, 08:40 AM
It will take longer to get sod cutter to job site than to do the work!
Getting rid of the sod is your bigger problem.

Spray with roundup, let dry, mulch over sprayed grass. or
Lay down double layer of newspaper and mulch over paper. or
Cut sod and roll out upside down in bed area and mulch over it.

A lot depends on what the mulch bed will be used for ie: just looks, flower bed, mowing buffer etc.

If its an older home where ground around foundation has settled, roll out sod upside down along foundation to raise grade and mulch over it.

Just trying to get you to think thru the total job. Time and your back may be saved.

04-12-2002, 06:53 AM
It did not quite communicate well, but I was saying...JUST DIG IT OUT! You will have 1.5 yards of waste that any landscaper should have the ability to move and dispose of routinely. Then simply plant the plants and mulch it...game over. This is how it has been done for centuries with no problem.
Now it is - what equipment to rent, spraying and waiting for it to die and still having to remove it, putting in weed barriers, all to avoid the removal of a two foot wide strip of sod? When the sod is gone it is a clean slate to work on, no fabric (or paper to hinder planting, no dead grass roots to hinder planting, and it is ready just as fast as you can dig it out.
If you want a bushel of apples you should pick the apples not remove the leaves, twigs, and branches until you have a bushel of apples.