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New garden bed


LawnSite Member
I've made a new garden bed (for shrubs and perenials) of about 40 feet wide by appx 7 feet deep. Now, I asked a few people, my sister in law for example which is an avid gardener and has numerous beautiful gardens what she though.
My dilemna is this: I didn't remove the grass before putting the soil on top. I've got about 6 inches of topsoil with compost and manure. I did remove the sod at least a foot all around the bed. I will mulch this heavily.
Now that it's done, other people tell me I HAD to remove the grass or it's going to grow right through. My sister in law did it both ways and sees no difference between her beds where she did remove the grass prior to adding dirt and the ones where she left it.
I felt ill just thinking about having to remove all the dirt and restarting it.
Anyone has experience in leaving the grass underneat or not?

Kate Butler

LawnSite Senior Member
Sometimes it works, sometimes not - it depends on the agressiveness of the grass underneath. The EASIEST and least labor-intensive thing to do (now) is wait about a month before planting ANYTHING, and Round-Up any grass that comes up through the topsoil & compost.

Here's why. Imagine your bed all ready to plant. Then you have pots to plant that are deeper than the layer of soil on top of the grass. When you dig into the (still trying to grow) sod underneath, that opening and those cuts in the sod encourage the sod to try and grow up around the newly-planted shrub or perennial.

For future reference, Round-Up the entire area you want to make into a garden BEFORE you put the topsoil & compost on. And wait to make sure it's fully dry on the grass before putting any soil or compost on top.

Nathan Robinson

LawnSite Senior Member
your going to have weed and grass breakthrough reguardless. Just be ready to weed this as the summer comes along. applying a pre-m isnt going to do you much good at this point. I wouldnt worry about it but next time rent you a sod cutter and pull that grass off...


LawnSite Member
Thanks for your replies, it was also suggested to me to put landscape fabric or newspaper on top of the bed and cover it with mulch.
I like the fabric idea, it's black easy to cover up, but the newspaper is also great because it decompose.
I'll see what happens this summer and choose my method accordingly.
Thanks again for great tips!

Kate Butler

LawnSite Senior Member
Landscape fabric - NO NO NO - will create far more problems than it will solve. No matter what the manufacturers say, grasses CAN grow up through it. The newspaper will work, but you must use AT LEAST 10 thicknesses (sheets) and have plenty of overlap as you put it in place. I've used newspaper very successfully in truly difficult places (grasswise).