A step-by-step DIY tutorial to take your flower beds from drab to fab to increase curb appeal, plus all the best tools to get the job done.
Blame it on the fact that we’ve been focusing on the interior room makeovers for the last three years or the fact that I had a baby or battled PPD and sleepless nights of colic… but for whatever the list of reasons, our front yard really started to reflect its neglect in the last year.
Despite all of that, our lawn has become a super weedy situation and the one big job we’ve put off until now was tackling these flower beds.
And we were finally DONE trying to battle the weeds and scraggly bushes. Completely over it.
I am AMAZED at how this DIY flower bed makeover turned out, but before I show the pretty “after”, there were lots of tricks and helpful tools we used along the way to make the job way easier.
- Tape Measure
- White spray paint
- STIHL Yard Boss
- STIHL BK-MM Bolo Tines Cultivator Attachment
- STIHL FC-MM Bed Edger Attachment
- STIHL MM Wheel Kit
- STIHL MS 171 16 in. Gas Chainsaw
- Landscape fabric
- Garden staples
- Utility knife
- Brown rubber mulch
- Edger stones
- Woodcutter chaps
- Work gloves
- Safety glasses
- Hearing protectors
- Shrubs/flower of choice (We used boxwoods, azaleas, hydrangeas, and camellias.)
- Garden hose
1. Plan, measure, and mark.
We measured out the dimensions we wanted for each flower bed first and marked the edges with white spray paint.
Robert used a chainsaw to break down any large shrubs so that we could pull out the roots more easily (and we trimmed up some tree limbs while we were at it.)
Dig up as much of the roots as possible with a shovel or they will grow back.
Once everything was pulled out that we wanted removed, we used the STIHL Yard Boss to prep the new edges for the flower beds we had marked previously.
It’s a multi-task gardening tool that can tackle a bunch of different landscaping jobs using a wide range of attachments. Robert totally geeked out about this thing. Haha!
For edging the beds, we used the STIHL FC-MM Bed Edger Attachment and STIHL MM Wheel Kit. (Remember to always wear the personal protective equipment required in the instruction manual.)
Running the blade along the spray painted line took out all of the guess work.
4. Till the soil.
To help break up all of the hardened soil in the flower beds, we swapped out the STIHL Yard Boss attachment to the Bolo Tines Cultivator Attachment.
By the way, if you ever want to get out any pent-up stress, go till a garden. I swear by it now.
5. Lay landscape fabric.
Once all of the gardens were tilled and remaining weeds/roots were gone, we rolled out landscape fabric and secured it with garden staples. Doing this step helps prevent weeds and keeps soil from mixing in with mulch.
Using a utility knife, we cut out the fabric where we wanted to place our new shrubs and dug holes deep enough for the roots of our new plants.
Before you purchase plants, do plenty of research about each one and consider how much sun/drainage your yard gets on average.
- Limelight Hydrangea
- Original Hydrangea
- Baby Light Hydrangea
- Baby Gem Boxwood
- Autumn Moonlight Azalea
- White Camellia
Each shrub we chose needs about 2-3′ of space to allow for growth.
7. Soak the roots.
As soon as we planted the flower and shrubs, we gave the roots a good soak so they could begin to establish.
It’s really best to plant during the spring and fall, so we took a gamble planting in summer. We’re crossing our fingers that they survive as they get used to their new habitat.
8. Lay the edger stones.
This was the fun part when we finally got to see all of our sweaty hard work pay off! We chose to use Tremron Munich stone blocks in the color Sand Dune, and they look perfect alongside our limewashed brick!
You definitely don’t have to get super fancy with edgers though. Using edging strips will work just fine, if you prefer to keep it simple.
We did quite a bit of research on mulch, and even though rubber mulch does cost more than regular wood mulch, it can last over twice as long and the color doesn’t fade as quickly.
We’ve battled dirt splashing up onto our white brick when it rains, so the mulch will definitely help with that problem immensely and keep the weeds even more controlled.
As the cherry on top of everything, we replaced our faded plastic mailbox too with this gorgeous die cast white mailbox.
Before and After
Our yard is COMPLETELY transformed!
Here’s what our yard looked like when we moved in:
Before we perked up the flower beds:
We still plan to cut down two sweet gum trees eventually in this section of our yard that are starting to become a problem, but adding azaleas in this spot and perking it up with mulch has helped so much already.
The new shrubs in front our our house are very understated right now, but by next year, they will start to fill out and will grow 3-4 feet tall as they mature.
We might go back and add flowers too, but we’ll wait to see how the shrubs grow.
And the little bitty Camellia tree will help hide some of the utilities on the side of our house as it grows too.
As we get closer to fall, we’ll de-weed the lawn, aerate it, and put down grass seed and fertilizer to perk up the grass that still needs a lot of love.
The backyard will be getting some project help in the coming months too.
I can’t get over what a difference three years make!
I’m betting four years will look even better on this pretty lady.
If you’ve ever felt intimidated to tackle a flower bed project, don’t be! I truly wish we had done ours sooner, despite a few days of hard work. It’s a project that will keep on giving for SO long.
If you want to see more of our outdoor projects, you can find them all here.
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