Ready to turn your lawn into a garden without a ton of work? Then you’re in the right place. Keep reading to learn how to make a garden bed on top of grass easily with the no dig garden method.
For most people, their lawn is the perfect place for a garden bed. However, if you’re not into spending hours digging in soil and want to skip that step altogether, don’t worry! Here’s how to make a garden bed on top of grass.
Or maybe you’re like me and you just don’t have time to tear up the grass and till the ground and fertilize it and whatever else… I’ve got three small kids so I’m shooting for a quick, easy, and effective method when it comes to my gardening. By doing a no-dig method with gardening, I am able to create a flower bed on grass or vegetable garden bed on grass in just minutes!
Whether you want to do an in-ground garden or a raised bed garden, this method for how to make a garden bed on top of grass will work for either. I highly recommend this if you are a beginner gardener and just learning gardening 101. It’s basically foolproof.
So, let’s break down how to make a garden bed on top of grass so you can get started gardening right away.
Step One: Lay down a layer of cardboard or newspaper over the grass
Since we aren’t going to be digging up the grass in this method, we will instead lay down cardboard, newspaper, kraft paper, or some other weed barrier that will disintegrate in a fairly short period of time.
I have skipped this step once or twice, and it is possible to just move to step two, but you risk grass and weeds popping through. So you might end up doing a lot of labor intensive weeding if you don’t lay down some cardboard or other paper to prevent the grass and weeds from growing.
But if you really don’t have any cardboard or paper, then you can try skipping this step and instead going straight to step two and making the layers we are adding there extra extra thick. Basically you need to make sure no light is reaching to the grass and weeds below. Like I said, beware you might get some weeds and grass this way.
See below my garden I expanded this year with this method. I had my neighbors save up all their Amazon boxes for me so I had plenty of cardboard to lay down for my no dig garden. It didn’t look beautiful here, but if you keep scrolling, I share what it currently looks like about six weeks after this.
Step Two: Add a layer of both compost and mulch to create your garden bed
Once you’ve laid down all your cardboard or newspapers, it’s time to add the compost and mulch layers for how to make a garden bed on top of grass.
What is compost?
Compost is just broken down organic materials that can be used to fertilize plants. You can either make it yourself, buy it in bulk by the truckload, or get it in bags from a local shop.
But you could also use topsoil that is still very rich and fertile but not 100% compost. Look for something dark, and hopefully full of worms! Last year I got a mix of local topsoil and mushroom compost that worked really well.
This year I got straight compost from a local nursery and flower shop that was mostly made of leaf and wood compost, and it seems to be working well.
I had to buy all of the compost I have used, but some townships have local composting projects where you can get compost for free! So check locally to see what the best options are for you.
Add 3-5 inches of compost to the top of your cardboard on top of the grass
Once you’ve picked your compost and/or topsoil, it’s time to lay it down.
It’s seriously so easy and simple it’s hard to believe, but you literally just lay down 3-5 inches of your compost on top of the cardboard or paper you laid down.
Add about 3 inches of mulch or wood chips
So we put down the cardboard or paper to prevent the grass and weeds from growing up through our garden bed, but we also want to prevent weeds from growing on top of the garden bed too. Adding a few inches of mulch, wood chips, or even straw will help prevent weeds from taking root in your beautiful new compost.
This added layer on top of your compost will also help the soil retain water. So, your plants will have a little more protection from the elements, and you won’t have to water your garden so often!
Step Three: Plant seeds, flowers, vegetables, or herbs in the new garden bed
Yes. Your garden bed is ready to be planted right away. Pretty amazing, huh?
Of course the larger your garden, the more work this will be. My garden has gotten pretty big this year so it took a lot of shoveling and pushing the wheelbarrow around to get the job down, but if you are just putting in a small bed to start with then you can literally have your garden ready to plant in 10 minutes. That’s why this method of how to make a garden bed on top of grass is so awesome.