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How to create a zero maintenance flowerbed…

After the lush growth that occurred in our gardens in June & July, with grass and plants seeming to grow as you watched them, things have slowed down a bit as we head towards the autumn. Now may be just the time to do a bit of simple landscaping in your garden to help you keep on top of things in the future, and a great project to kick off with could be a zero-maintenance (well, nearly!) flowerbed. You can either start the bed from scratch, or you can work around plants that are already there – the latter is a bit more fiddly but no great problem. You’ll need landscape fabric, bark chips and a sharp knife or scissors. Stage 1: Measure out your flowerbed and go to a DIY store to buy enough landscape fabric and bark chips to cover the area, allowing a bit extra to allow overlapping. A flowerbed that measures 2 metres by 4 metres is 8 square metres… Stage 2 : Weed the bed, paying particular attention to any grasses that are in the bed, take your time to dig them out completely. Stage 3: Spread the fabric out across the bed, negotiating around any plants, and weigh it down with handfuls of bark chips to stop it blowing away. Stage 4: Use sticks or plastic pegs to pin down

the fabric around the edges, or use a spade to drive the edges a few centimetres into the ground. Stage 5: To put in new plants, cut crosses in the fabric so you can fold back the edges and plant through it. Stage 6: Spread a good deep layer of bark chips (5 - 10cm) around the whole area. It’s really that straight forward! Bags of bark chips are heavy, so that’s the hardest work, but the rest is really simple. Why not do one flowerbed each month? You’ll soon find the whole garden is done. It is important that you use a proper landscape fabric, sometimes called a weed membrane, as it allows water to reach the soil. Once this is all done just remember to top up the bark chips a bit each year, and the fabric should be good for 5 – 10 years. It is easy enough to add and take away plants, and for those of you who don’t want to spend a lot of your time actually gardening, but would rather just sit out there and enjoy it, then this may be just the ticket for you…

Thomas Angel is managing director of Thomas Angel Gardens Ltd and Lawn Angel® and

12 | West End Life – August/September 2013


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