Show Notes

In this episode, we talk about how to start a garden bed project.  What you need to do before planting!


  • Overview
    • Site selection
    • Planning
    • Preparation
    • Planting
  • Site selection
    • Usually determined by architecture
    • If multiple spaces possible
      • Consider environmental features
      • Functional features
        • Access
        • Appeal
        • Value – make it worth it
  • Planning
    • layout
      • Ep 5 – design principles
    • plants
      • Ep 6 – planning checklist
      • Coverage
      • layers
    • Timing
      • Best times for each phase
    • Budget
      • All at once
      • Phased
      • Plant selection
  • Preparation
    • Layout
      • Measure out space
      • Mark boundaries
        • Short project – chalk, garden hose, spray paint
        • Long project – stakes, spray paint
      • Removal
        • Chemical, physical
        • Chemical
          • Roundup
          • Hort Vinegar
            • Timing
        • Physical
          • Tilling
          • Coverage
            • Solarize
            • Smother
            • Barrier + mulch
          • Timing
      • Surface preparation
        • Amendments
          • Soil test results
          • Organic matter
          • Ph
          • Mineral fertility
          • compost/topsoil
            • Retention
          • Mulch
  • Planting
    • Timing
    • Purchasing
    • nursing
    • Project help
    • Establishment phase
      • Water
      • Shade
      • support

Links for today’s episode:

this is the aesthetic ecosystems podcast

I’m Ben Hale your virtual design guide

to help you and your family have a

healthy beautiful landscape with less

work what’s up and welcome to the

aesthetic ecosystems podcast I’m so glad

you guys are here today at episode 10 I

am very excited about this podcast today

we’re talking about how to start a new

garden bed so from the planning phase

and the concept phase all the way into

the implementation how do you put in a

garden bed and we’re gonna get into it

today before we do that I am super

stoked for multiple reasons first this

is episode 10 folks we made it to double

digits I am very excited to be here ten

episodes through we are talking about

some cool stuff I hope you’re enjoying

this podcast and I’m looking forward to

hearing everybody’s feedback as far as

questions comments everything that you

want to give me feedback on I have a

feedback page in case you guys didn’t

know that already

if you go over to aesthetic ecosystems

calm slash pod you have a button right

there to get in touch with me and send

me some questions info whatever and and

I definitely want to hear from you I

want to get you guys involved with this

show and have some fun here

the other reason I’ve stoked I’ll be

honest I don’t know if you guys know

this about me but I have a full-time job

in it I am recording this podcast on a

Friday I am done with the work week and

and I’m just happy to be here recording

a great episode with you guys I so I

understand you know full-time job kids

at home a busy lifestyle and I’m living

it right here with you guys and I just

want to be here to say you know we can

do this together we can have a beautiful

landscape we can save some time we can

do things to work toward our passion or

to spend time with the things we value

it’s possible and I am happy to be here

doing it with you guys so let’s get into

it today I am super happy super jazz

and hopefully I’ve been going kind of

long I hope you guys don’t mind you know

I just I love talking about this stuff

if you can’t tell and I want to share as

much value with you through this podcast

so how you know whether I guess you like

it or not I’ve gone a little longer than

my planned episode length and we’re just

gonna see how this show unfolds you know

it might not be as some episodes are a

bit longer and some are a bit shorter

but all in all I want to stay on the

side of brevity for you guys just to you

know make it exciting make it fun give

you the the meat of everything and and

and that’s what we’re all about is just

getting down getting to the point and

getting done so in that spirit let’s get

started I’m gonna cover a few points


about starting a new garden bed and so

let’s say you have an impulse to create

a new garden or replace an old one you

know maybe it’s just outdated it looks

scrubby I totally get her maybe you have

a space that’s just full of weeds and

you got to do something with it right so

you get that idea and you’re like okay

it’s time for action well before you

take action you got to make sure it’s

the right action so I’m gonna take you

through this process today from that

initial thought of we got to turn this

into a garden bed too to actually

putting it in the ground you know

getting plants in the ground getting

them watered and having a happy plant so

what’s that in between look like so

there’s a couple four key points here

really that I want to talk about the

first is site selection so selecting the

garden site and maybe you already have

this figure out like this this is a

specific site that you want to take care

of and that’s fine or it could be you

know elements of if you already have

that site figured out what what plays

into understanding how you have to

design your garden then so a site

selection planning preparation and

finally planting and maybe there’s like

a little fifth point there which kind of

is part of the planting phase but making

sure your your garden is properly

established so establishing

transitioning to maintenance is kind of

last point there too so let’s jump right

in site selection

when we’re talking about site selection

in a residential landscape usually your

site is determined your site of your

garden is what I’m talking about here so

your site of your property’s already

figured out right I’m assuming yes you

have a house it’s built on a piece of

property whatever it looks like maybe

you have a twenty acre lot maybe you

have a point three acre lot whatever it

is or maybe even you have even have a

smaller plot right whatever it is

there’s space for a garden and a garden

really spruces up how your home is

perceived how you perceive it how other

people perceive it and just the overall

feel right and so I think you guys

understand that already and so I’m not

gonna get into that too much today but I

just want to touch on you know it’s

really important and so going from that

bit they’re trying to understand okay we

want a garden right where are we gonna

put a lot of time this is determined by

the architecture of the space so you

might have let’s say your typical Pocius

postage stamp lot you have a house right

in the middle of a rectangular piece of

property and you know if if your site’s

different that’s okay I’m just kind of

trying to paint a picture here for you

you have a you process stamp lot your

house right in the center maybe your

driveways off to the one side with a

garage it may be attached a garage and

you have from the driveway you have a

little entry walk going up to your front

door that kind of curves around and

maybe you also have a walkway that goes

out to the street something like that

right typical house you have a backyard

with a lawn front yard with the lawn and

maybe you have like a few bushes like

right up next to the house and that’s it

so where do you put a garden maybe you

want a more foundation plantings right

and so that kind of helps frame your

mind there this is where I want a garden

and really determining this is kind of

understanding the architecture of your

space the layout of the hardscape is

what I’m talking about here so the the

house the driveway the walkways let’s

assume for this the sake of this episode

that we’re not going to be messing with

that stuff that’s a much more involved

process and so we’ll get into that in

the future if you guys want to but for

now we’re just talking about okay not

messing up with the the hardscape

it’s where and how do we put in a garden

so a lot of time when if you if you have

a house

most commonly there’s some foundation

plantings right up right up squeeze next

to the house and then maybe a few things

next to the bail box or something that’s

about it and you might have like a you

know interspersed tree here there and

that’s about it this is our house right

now actually guys and so I’m really

excited to be what now that we’re

starting to get to the phase we’re ready

to focus on our our landscape design

I’ll be taking you guys through that in

the future here of what we do with our

house and and you know kind of

stretching that garden out to make sure

to make it not so much of a like a

compressed piece against the house but a

singular element in itself that that

welcomes you to the property and helps

you experience the property and and so

I’m trying to you know I’m not being

incredibly specific here but really what

I’m trying to do is paint you guys a

picture of of what your garden can do

and so moving forward into this episode

I’m gonna just pick a spot let’s say you

don’t want to expand your garden out

more this is a more that’s a more in

depth process but let’s say you want to

you know make your little foundation

planting on your postage stamp lot just

a little nicer and maybe expand it just

a little bit to bring it out from the

house right so give us some layering

some depth for people on the street or

for when you’re coming into your house

right so let’s just pick a spot let’s

say it’s right in front of house just to

the left of the front door right okay

and let’s just say it’s a regular

rectangular piece right now and we just

want to add a little bit of a little bit

of structure to it a little bit of

individuality so instead of keeping that

rectangular form that was really popular

like in the modernism phase 20s 30s up

through the 50s maybe and we want to you

know maybe add just like a curvilinear

style to it so give it some kind of an

organic look right that’s what we’re

changing but we’re keeping the space

pretty much the same we maybe have some

overgrown you bushes there right now and

maybe you’ve gone over a few years and

added a few things here and there so you

might have thrown in maybe some box

woods and and some azalea’s or whatever

something to just that’s not a ton of

work but it fills the space and you want

to just spruce it up right so what are

we gonna do okay well we’ve at least

determined our space here and the the

piece here just you know instead of

drawing us into it or painting us into a

corner here I just want to touch on a

few pieces with site selection as well

for you to consider the functional piece

is is pretty important here so what’s

your access what’s the so when you’re

coming into the property your driveway

right that’s your main access of course

what if you’re coming from the street is

there a walkway how comfortable is it is

it welcoming and same from the driveway

is there a– there’s usually a walkway

to your front door how welcoming is your

walkway there most often these pieces

are too narrow too small not incredibly

welcoming they might fit one person okay

but not much beyond that you know we’re

again we’re not gonna be changing our

hard scape in this episode here but

maybe that’s something for you to

consider maybe you do want to do that

and just something to consider what’s

the appeal of this garden what how is it

gonna help with things is it going to

increase your curb appeal is it gonna

make your house pop a little bit more is

it gonna accent some features on your

house or or maybe help stand out from

your house to give it a bit more Flair

maybe your house seems a little plain

right you want to add some Flair and so

that’s what your gardens going to do

these are just things to consider also

what’s the value of this new garden to

you and what I mean by this is is how

are you gonna make this a worthwhile

endeavor you know putting in a new

garden is a lot of work and so what

what’s it gonna give you is it gonna

give you a sense of pride is it gonna

have some functional piece that’s

helpful maybe it’s a new space you know

what maybe let’s move to the backyard

right maybe this is going to be an

accent to a patio space it’s gonna add a

little bit of privacy a little bit of

visual interest maybe something that

adds some shade right to your patio so

these are just things to consider when


planning for the site of your garden and

whether or not to do it in the first

place the other piece is some of the

environmental features so if you’re

trying to you know you’d like to put in

a garden but you have a really steep

slope well it might not be the best spot

for a certain type of garden right and

so just understanding what are the

environmental features around the the

intended space and whether or not you

can put in a good functional garden the

way you would like to and so just to

understand those features so some of

those things could be sloped sun soil

health other plants in the space whether

or not there’s going to be foundation

issues or other hard scape issues with

the plant growing space things like that

very important to consider when you’re

determining the site for your garden ok

so let’s move into let’s let’s assume

that you know you’ve got your space

figured out let’s move into the planning

phase so as far as the layout of your

garden and understanding the features

here we’re talked about we’re gonna be

taking our current you know kind of ugly

let’s just call it an ugly garden with

some outdated stuff not really a good

you know just a pretty plain

set up and we’re gonna take that and add

some interest to it right that’s the

intent of of our little experiment here

well when you’re doing that it’s really

important to understand certain design

elements if you want to have like a good

appealing design across your landscape

and how this garden fits into other

spaces so maybe we’re looking at a

specific garden right now but it’s good

to have at least a vision for the future

or if you have a pretty well established

landscape already how does this new

garden space integrate with the rest of

your landscape and if you guys haven’t

listened to episode five already I

really encourage you to go back listen

to episode five where I talk all about

aesthetic design principles it’s very

important for having a beautiful

landscape to have understand how things

appeal to the eye how it makes you feel

and and incorporating that into your

design process even for

a small garden or even a single plant

this really all drills down and it comes

from these design principles so if you

don’t have a good clear vision of your

landscape or at least a direction

towards a vision it’s really difficult

to make a nice cohesive landscape in the

long run so I really strongly recommend

you go check out episode 5 you can find

that if you just type in aesthetic

ecosystems calm slash episode 5 it’ll

take you right to it next I want to put

a plug in for another episode as well so

when you were talking about selecting

plants for our landscape I want you to

check out episode 6 if you haven’t

listened to it already these first 10

episodes here guys I’m covering a ton of

really structural basics and this is

with a good intent because I want to

keep referring to these episodes they

are packed with value on how to design

your landscape and how to also maintain

your landscape and so I’m probably going

to keep referencing these episodes and I

hope you guys get the most value out of

them you can and so episode 6 is a

planning checklist for planning your

projects and this is really going to

help with selecting your plants for your

landscape projects as well so just to

quickly recap there to understand your

your site layout of your garden and how

it incorporates in your landscape check

out episode 5 at aesthetic ecosystems

comm slash episode 5 and for

understanding what plants to select for

your space you’ve already selected your

garden space so it’s important to

understand what are the right plants to

fit in that space how can they proper

how which ones are the most adapted most

well adapted to that site and how can

you use them best so that’s a process to

understand and figure that out and so

for that go to episode six

that’s aesthetic ecosystems comm slash

episode six and I’ll have links to both

these in the show notes guys so if you

don’t want to type in that giant long

URL here’s a little thing – I’m gonna be

getting a shorter URL for you guys so

you don’t have to you know worry about

oh well how do you spell aesthetic and

all that good stuff you know

I know it’s a mouthful but man I just

love the name I’m not I’m not gonna lie

here I I love the name aesthetic

ecosystems that and there’s a lot that

goes into it maybe I’ll you know tell

you more about that in the future

because I want to stay on topic here you

guys can tell I am excited today and

unfortunately when I get excited I get

off topic really easy so let’s stay on

topic lucky for you guys I’ve typed out

an outline today mostly shows I do try

to stick to some sort of an outline just

so I I generally stay on topic but

anyway all right well so for for plant

selection check out that planning let

checklist but also I just want to touch

on a couple things one is coverage you

want to make sure you are covering the

space as completely as possible the more

you do that for one the less work you

have to do with putting it down some

sort of barrier or mulch or whatever and

– it’s gonna prevent weed growth for any

any space where you have bare soil or

open space that’s not it doesn’t have

someone of those types of barriers

you’re going to have plants coming in

and taking over that space and most

likely they’re gonna be plants that you

don’t want there so make sure you’re

planning for that you know in the first

few years if you’re planning for

expansion of your plants maybe there’s

going to be some gaps but as long as you

plan for okay here’s the mature size of

this plant and here’s how much it’s

going to spread and I’m going to plan

for that growth into the first few years

you might be adding some mulch and stuff

but you’re allowing a space to be fully

filled eventually so that’s what I’m

talking about your plan for coverage and

to also plan for properly layering your

your garden design and what this is more

of an aesthetic thing but think about

when you’re looking at a good

composition of a garden usually you have

multiple heights of different plants

multiple layers and so you’ll have some

taller plants you have some shorter

plants and they really fit together and

kind of stretch out the space from a a

two-dimensional garden plot to a

three-dimensional space that’s the

beauty of gardening

and what you can do with landscapes is

you make it a three-dimensional space so

it adds depth it has height and and

width as well I guess that’s the third

dimension right so yeah just make sure

you think about layering and and how

these plants are gonna fit together

what sort of juxtaposition is there are

between architecture of height and form

and and all that stuff so really think

from a visual perspective how is your

garden going to look what sort of feel

is going to give you and how is

difference in height or layering going

to help you there okay so for planning

process we talked about the layout which

I just gave you the link to the show

secondly plants so next we’re going to

be talking about timing

so what’s the right timing for

establishing your garden make sure you

consider okay is it best to do this most

often we want to do it right away right

I want to do it now and that’s okay

because what you’re doing is you’re

taking advantage of your enthusiasm to

get something done and that’s really

important so if there is something you

can do now or if you can do the whole

thing now that’s great but it’s

important just to check if that’s going

to hinder the long-term health or growth

of your garden plot in some way and so

what I mean here is that there are

certain seasons or times of year that

are not good for planting certain plants

and so this is where you’re going to

have to do some research on what plants

you’re considering and what the best

time is first whether they’re available

even to order or whether your nursery

your local nursery is even open because

a lot of times these places are seasonal

and and also just doing the research to

make sure that this is a good time for

the plant sometimes when the nurseries

are open could be the worst time for

planting so it’s just important to do

the research figure out okay these are

the plants I have what’s the best way to

establish them and how can I sure

they’re ensure their success in this

what this will do is will save you time

is in the establishment phase from

having to nurse your plants they’ll save

you money

from loss of plants because in the less

ideal the time is or the less ideal the

the plant is as well when you’re

establishing it those two combinations

of factors increase your or I guess

decrease your success rate so important

things to consider there especially if

you’re intent on saving time in the long

run so while I do encourage you if

you’re enthusiastic about putting in a

garden now to do so in a way that’s not

detrimental to your landscape not

detrimental to the plants as well that

you’re purchasing and establishing but

make sure if if there is a more ideal

time so to do this and you’re okay with

waiting it may be good to wait for

example in Ohio where I’m from usually

the best time to be putting in this

stuff like a new garden bed is in the

fall because a lot of your plants are

going dormant so they’re not actively

growing they’re not requiring you know a

lot of water a lot of photosynthesis

going on and it’s a good time to be

putting plants in because over the

winter as long as the ground is not

frozen if we’re talking about perennial

plants most often their root systems are

continuing to grow while the ground is

thawed and they’re strengthening

themselves through their root system

these plants getting ready for spring so

when you establish in the fall you give

that long dormant phase where the roots

are still developing the upper growth

area is is not actively growing and by

spring you have a stronger plant that’s

ready to take on the summer heat and

some of the summer dryness as well so

just things to consider there alright

moving on from timing the next piece to

consider is budget so let’s be honest

here it’s always a limiting factor how

much you want to be spending of your own

time and your own money on projects like

this with an endless budget of course we

can do all sorts of stuff and let’s be

honest too you probably wouldn’t be

doing it yourself if you had an endless

budget and so making sure you’re

utilizing your funds wisely your

available money wisely and at the right

time too so it could be that especially

depending on the scale of a garden

you’re planning this might be a project

that you do all at once or you might

kind of phase it out you might hire some

of it out too so let’s say you’re doing

a little bit of landscaping where you

you’re gonna be regrading just a tiny

bit and maybe you just don’t want to do

it yourself maybe you never hired heavy

you quit or used heavy equipment before

or it’s too much to do by hand it might

just be easy to kind of you know hire

that piece out and maybe plan to do an

establishment really quickly to just

kind of prevent erosion and stuff of a

few plants and get some coverage in

there and put it in bunch of mulch but

then maybe you know you’re gonna phase

out there the bigger plants over time or

over a better time of the year or

something like that or just to kind of

outlay the cost of a little bit more

you’re not just spending so much it was

so it’s just important to consider this

in the planning phase before you’re

actually putting the shovel to the

ground and before you’re kind of tearing

stuff up because that’s really the worst

time to think about costs and how much

things are going to to hurt your pocket

and the other important thing to

consider here is odds are the project is

most likely going to cost more than you

initially thought so make sure you plan

a buffer of in case you don’t meet

expectations of your cost whether it’s

in rental fees of certain equipment or

plant fees or having to replace plants

or irrigation costs anything like that

they can really impact a project

especially if you you know kind of

forget about it and or if you just you

know unforeseen things happen maybe you

have a storm a major storm coming

through right after you establish your

new garden and it wipes out half the

stuff things like this happen guys and

so it’s important to consider not

planning the full price of what you’re

willing to pay on stuff so maybe kind of

dial it back you know here’s here’s how

much you have in savings let’s plan to

use fifty percent of that that we

intended to use originally or or maybe

you know you feel a little more

comfortable and and here’s what we plan

on spending and you know what if we go

over by 50 percent on budget it’s gonna

be okay yeah we wouldn’t like that but

it’s okay but just make sure you

consider that in the planning phase


you get there and you end up being

disappointed with how things turned out

the other piece here is that depending

upon the type of plants you purchase and

the age of plants you purchase it can

really impact your total cost too and so

if you’re not as budget conscious and

you’re more interested in getting a

mature garden as quick as possible you

might be willing to spend a few extra

dollars on the bigger plants that are

coming in the bigger pots or the more

mature trees and that’s great because

yeah you will most likely get a garden

that’s coming together more quickly and

sooner and you can kind of fill in the

space more with a lot more plants then

maybe if you were a little bit more

budget strapped and so if you are a bit

more budget strapped that’s okay

consider what you can do with getting a

few smaller plants that might take you

know an extra year or two to get

established to the same rate and here’s

a really big secret guys with trees

especially when you’re buying the

younger trees the younger you buy them

the more well rooted they’ll become once

they’re established so the establishment

phase can really shock

woody perennials especially trees and

and so unfortunately when you have a big

tree die on you right out of the nursery

it’s it’s not fun but if you buy a bunch

of small ones and I might even be you

know you might even be considering the

little tiny saplings that are you know

one season old and the advantage of

these is you can buy a bunch of them and

you can plant them and you can plan for

certain death in some of those trees as

they don’t survive that the transplant

process but the advantage is these

younger trees are less shocked with the

root the root trauma that they undergo

and they’re more likely to become

vigorous trees faster once they become

established so once you get through that

establishment phase those trees are more

likely to be happier and so that’s kind

of the point I’m making here is is

there’s actually advantage sometimes to

reducing costs now unfortunately a lot

of times that you have to wait longer

for a tree to reach you know a medium

height that you already

purchasing from the nursery but beyond

that most likely your tree will be more

successful grow more vigorously than the

one you bought as a several year old

tree from the nursery so just something

to consider there are you waiting do you

need the looks right now or are you

willing to wait maybe just a few more

years and to get much more vigor out of

your plants after that so something to

consider there but it also affects your

budget is the point that making there

okay so next piece we talked about all

this planning stuff right so we’ve

talked about the layout of your garden

what plants you’re going to be using the

timing of your implementation and also

the budget you have available for this

whole process so the next piece we’re

going to be getting into is the

preparation for your garden so when

we’re talking about preparation we’re

gonna be laying out our garden we’re

gonna be removing any existing stuff and

then we’re gonna also be preparing the

surface so when it comes to the layout

what you can do is you at maybe you drew

that your garden out on paper or maybe

you just have it all in your head right

either way I definitely prefer the paper

drawing things out and then kind of

transcribing them to your landscape but

if that’s not you that’s fine but what

you want to do here is kind of measure

out your space whether it’s just pacing

things out or being much more precise

and I think you guys know where I’m at

there but um you know if you just kind

of want all eyeball stuff and that’s

your style that is totally fine and then

what you want to do with your garden is

to mark the boundaries so for a shorter

project what you can use sometimes you

can use chalk or some spray-paint like

the line marking plant paint I’ll you

know yeah paints not the healthiest

thing for your landscaping what we’re

talking about here is a small you know a

small amount of paint it’s not gonna go

a long way towards being a health hazard

for your garden and long term so some

people are concerned about that and if

that’s you that’s fine you know consider

a different marketing option but but in

reality spray paint for just marking out

your garden for this project is probably

gonna save you just a lot of time by

having a semi you know a semi-permanent

marking that will last for just a little

while another thing you can use a lot of

times when people are just kind of

considering and especially if they’re

doing like

eyeball process where they’re not really

sure where their garden boundaries are

gonna be they’ll use like a garden hose

or something like a thick piece of rope

that kind of will lay on the ground you

can kind of bend it and mold it to see

how things look before you really

determine your your boundaries and so a

garden hose actually is really a one

that you know will lay out nice and flat

for you it can be a huge benefit and

just determining your garden boundaries

okay once you have your garden laid out

the next thing you think about is your

removal of existing stuff so maybe you

just have maybe it’s like a you know a

torn-up compacted gravel space well you

don’t have much to remove there you have

some you want to skip to the next part

and do some surface preparation for sure

but most likely you have something there

already so it could be some weeds could

be existing garden that you just don’t

like anymore it could be a lawn so

whatever it is you’re gonna have to

remove that stuff somehow so when it

comes to removal you generally have two

options you have either chemical means

or physical means and generally I’m a I

prefer the physical process because

we’re talking about the health of our

family here as well and generally

speaking the physical process is less

detrimental to health now there’s a

there are trade-offs there as well so

let’s talk about the chemical process

and what some of your options are so

first with chemicals you can use the

conventional herbicides to kill

everything that’s there so first you

want to have to if it’s you know tall

you have some shrubs and stuff you know

you have to chop those out right but if

you’re talking about like the weeds or a

lawn or whatever you can spray those

things with something like roundup and

it’ll kill most everything there and the

reason there’s potential health

considerations here is well for your

landscape for one when you you’re gonna

spray all the plants and that stuff’s

going to be in the soil as well and so

it’ll end up killing most of your soil

life that’s there and that can affect

the health of your future plants also

this stuff can affect the health of your

family and I’m not going to get too much

into that right now but just something

to consider there if you’re going to go

the chemical route

I will say this is probably the easiest

and most affordable route so when I say

affordable I mean both in costs and time

so it’s it’s very convenient to be able

to spray this stuff and to put it down

and you can do it for yeah a few bucks

for quite a significant square footage

and it usually works the first time you

might have to go through with a

reapplication on some stubborn stuff and

that’s pretty much it and then you let

it sit for a while and then you ready

for your new plants so when I say sit

for a while usually let’s say with a

roundup I think it’s generally I don’t

use this stuff so I think it’s generally

two weeks where they say okay after two

weeks you’re pretty safe and now the

trade-off is of course that you’re

trading off potential health effects so

something you know whenever you have an

advantage generally speaking you have a

disadvantage right so the disadvantage

the primary one for a roundup is health

so if you maybe you want a slightly

healthier version for weed removal and

people do there’s a lot in the kind of

the organic space people do for removal

a primary one is horticultural vinegar

and so what this is is a strengthened

version of vinegar that you can put on

plants and it’ll basically acid burn the

plants and it works pretty well it’s not

always effective but it works pretty

well and it’s pretty affordable stuff

too so something to consider if you want

you know a slightly less toxic version

it’s still not something you want to get

on your hands not stuff you want to

breathe in for sure because the acetic

acid of vinegar can really it can

actually burn your throat if you’re

breathing this stuff in too much so you

want to make sure you’re not doing this

on a windy day where you or your kids or

your neighbors are gonna be breathing

you know little droplets of vinegar

acetic acid because because it can kind

of you know cause some damage as well so

just because you know it’s a safer type

thing or less chemical synthetic

chemical process doesn’t mean it’s safe

necessarily so just be careful okay so

with the both of these with roundup not

so much but especially with maybe you’re

trying some different methods that

non-synthetic processes such as vinegar

timing can be really important so having

the right growth phase of plants even

with roundup if you’re spraying dormant

plants in the middle of the winter it’s

not really going to do much actually

they need to be actively growing and

trying to respire to really be affected

because what you’re doing is you’re

you’re damaging the health of the plant

right in the middle of a strong growth

phase so generally the best time to do

this chemical process is during a growth

phase just something to consider there

okay when it comes to physical removal

you’re generally talking about there are

several options actually but what I’m

gonna highlight here the first is

tilling so you can till the surface and

generally you have to tell a couple

times over the course of a couple weeks

to really kill all of your annual weeds

as they germinate and take care of some

of the perennial either the hardy or

perennial weeds that are there and so it

worry if you’re talking about your lawn

same thing goes so to really kind of do

a good number on all the existing plants

there you have to till multiple times

over the course of a couple weeks and

hopefully during that time you’re not

going to cause too much erosion too so

if you’re talking about a smaller space

this is more manageable where you can

cover it with a tarp in between and take

care of it but on a broader scale this

can be kind of tough so you might deal

with a lot of runoff which is not good

for your soil and even in the tilling

process you’re you’re killing some of

your soil health unfortunately all of

these methods affect your soil health

some more than others

but something to consider there so

tilling the advantage here is it’s a non

chemical process it does a pretty good

job if you do it right and and you start

with good loose soil as well so that’s

another advantage at least on the

surface so coverage when is another

option when you take your space and you

cover it with something to block out the

light well there’s there’s a couple

options one is to smother them where you

remove all the light from penetrating to

the soil surface so the plants can’t


properly and they died so this usually

takes at least a couple weeks some

people recommend a full season

especially for perennial plants

certainly doesn’t hurt but again the

drawback is you’re covering this space

for a significant period of time another

option that’s similar to this is called

solarizing where you use basically kind

of like the pool cover where it has the

bubbles on it and you’re you’re

basically making a micro greenhouse

right on top of your soil and it

essentially burns the plants there and

and really heats up the top layer soil

there and this of course works best

during midsummer and it can be pretty

effective as well so another option

there of course access to this stuff to

to use it is another thing you have to

consider here too and a last point with

the coverage piece is putting down a

barrier with mulch on top so this could

be weed control fabric there’s some kind

of the more conventional route if you

want something that’s a temporary

barrier that either you can eventually

have degrade a lot of people can use

cardboard so you can put down some

layers of cardboard make sure they’re

overlapping at least six inches

whether it’s weed control barrier or

fabric or cardboard make sure they’re

overlapping significantly and then put a

couple inches of mulch on top and when I

say a couple inches you probably want

like at least three inches hopefully

more and that would do a good job at

killing stuff and letting you have a new

garden bed okay

so we talked about removal and what

choices you have there some are more

time-efficient some are more healthy so

it’s kind of like a balance between all

that stuff now let’s talk about surface

preparation so when you’re talking about

your new space you most likely you would

like a your plants would like to have a

boost and fertility and of course

there’s all the chemical conventional

route of just adding some fertilizer and

stuff maybe some lime to just a pH or

some sulfur to adjust the pH and you’re

off and running well there are a lot

other amendments that could be really

helpful I’ve talked about them in a few

previous episodes the things I would


here again just to touch on him again is

hopefully you’ve run a soil test and at

least somewhere on your property if not

I highly recommend it so judging from

your soil test results you’ll know what

your abundant in what you’re deficient

in how’s your organic matter this sort

of things that are very helpful for

determining what amendments you might

need in general though adding more

organic matter is not a bad thing so at

least adding maybe some some healthy

topsoil maybe mixed in fifty-fifty with

some compost would be really nice if

it’s some good healthy compost and when

I say good healthy compost guys

generally if you can pick up a you know

some rich black compost and you take a

smell of it it smells like a forest

floor that’s a really good indicator of

whether or not you’ve got some good

compost if it smells like kind of nasty

you probably don’t want to be putting

that stuff down because either it’s it’s

gone anaerobic or it’s just unhealthy

it’s kind of rotting in some way it

might not be actively or it might still

be actively composting but not in a good

way usually anaerobic is what your funky

smells are if it’s kind of a sweet smell

it’s still actively decomposing but but

it’s still in the process and it’s not

fully composted so what you generally

want on your your soil as an amendment

is the more fully composted stuff so

it’s not hot by itself it’s it’s gone

into kind of a dormant phase if you will

it’s probably has some good fungal

healthy fungal life in it as well as a

healthy bacterial life and that’s when

you get that kind of good earthy smell

that’s when you have good compost okay

enough on that so organic matter maybe

some pH adjustments if you need them but

again it’s not going to help long term

if you’re adding say some lime or sulfur

so it’s really important to consider

maybe you adjust your plant palette to

to fit your current site as opposed to

adjusting your pH as well as maybe some

minerals minerals will help in the long

term if you add maybe like if you’re

deficient in certain minerals especially

adding a little bit now is the best time

to do that as well as some mulch another

another great amendment again as you’re

kind of topdressing right okay well

now we’re in the homestretch guys so we

talked about the whole planning phase

from site selection through the removal

process as well as as maybe making some

amendments so now it’s time for planting

whoo-hoo so when we’re talking about

planting there’s several things to

consider again I want to touch on again

it’s so important

the timing piece so make sure you’re

planting at the right time of year as

well as timing for your project so the

the more of this you can do at the same

time the better but you can also break

it out in phases so you don’t want your

plants sitting there waiting in and out

of you know out of pots or in pots even

and not in the ground because that’s

where they’re most susceptible to being

damaged or having stress so so the the

sooner you can make them happy the

better and so timing is really important

same with timing of purchasing so when

you’re purchasing your plants make sure

you’re doing it if you can that in a way

that fits your capability so if you’re

capable to plant everything in your

garden all at once then maybe you yeah

you can order or go purchase all your

plants at the same time but but thinking

about how you’re going to implement your

design is is kind of crucial to how

you’re purchasing your plants and if you

can’t do it right away you you got to

think about taking care of them so are

you going to be able to water them maybe

even multiple times a day can they get

the right amounts of light or if you

need to keep certain stuff dormant like

some bare root trees can you keep them

properly dormant and watered at the same

time all things do you need to consider

for this early phase so once you get

them in the ground we also have to think

about taking care of them especially

this first few days in the first week a

couple weeks in first month those are

the most important times for insuring

plant success so you can you be out

there and watering them at the right

frequency you know just enough not too

much and getting them the right amount

of exposure at the right time and and

being there to address any problems as

they arise

so making sure you’re there as well as

um for your project itself do you have

the right amount of help to take care of

your project is it going to be drawn out

forever just because you’re doing it


or can you get help maybe from friends

family or should you hire out some help

all things to think about when you’re

talking about the planting process and

for establishment and nursing make sure

you’re giving it the right amount of

again to just touch on one more time the

right amount of water the right amount

of shade and the right amount of support

so and when I’m talking about support

what I mean here too is especially for

trees you know you you’re taking a tree

that’s been uprooted from somewhere and

then you’re putting it back in the

ground and most likely that root system

has been disturbed and it needs time to

to kind of take hold in its new space

and so providing support for that tree

especially is very important and so that

could be staking or roping off or

whatever okay so that pretty much wraps

it up for establishing a garden bed

hopefully this helps you kind of

conceptualize the steps you need to take

to go from the initial thought about hey

I would like to put a garden in or I

want to tear out those new bushes and

replace them and take you from that step

all the way through the process to

getting everything in place and putting

it in the ground now obviously there’s

tons of more details here and it’s too

much to cover in one episode but this

this generally covers your basics here

of what you need to consider through the

process and how to walk through this

process to get to some where you want to

be so with that guys I just want to

highlight two things first

if you really want to just save some

time now maybe you want to save some

time to be able to play in a garden bed

right and to be able to do this maybe

you don’t have time right now well you

can go over to aesthetic ecosystems calm

slash 27 hours and there I have a free

guide to show you how to save 27 hours

right now in your landscape wet no cost

just through some simple habit changes

and I really hope this gives you a ton

of time back in your life to do

something meaningful secondly if if you

want some specific help with some of

this stuff I’d

offer some consultation services right

now virtual consultation and if you want

to check that out go over to aesthetic

ecosystems comm slash consulting and I

have all the details right there for you

so with that guys check out the show

notes if you want to talk about any of

the episodes I referenced today I have a

few links there as well it’s always a

great space to check out anything I

talked about as well as a quick outline

as well at the episode and secondly make

sure you go over and hit that subscribe


your subscribes will make sure you get

all the updates right when you when when

I release these episodes so hit

subscribe if you like the show okay now

it’s time to talk about the launch party

guys excuse me not party but partay the

launch party is for the first two months

of the show from March 11th through May

help spread the word spread the word

about the show I really appreciate your

enthusiasm and interest in this show and

I want to get you guys involved and have

some fun while we’re doing it so this is

a chance to have some fun too for us to

get connected to win some prizes and

let’s talk about the prizes before we

talk about what we’re doing so what are

the prizes weakly I am offering a free

consultation with me Ben Hale which is

normally a $99 value so one person each

week that gets involved in the launch

partay gets a free consultation I’m also

giving away a free offer for one of my

ebooks ten ways to get more beauty with

less work which is the $19 value next

the grand prize there is only one of

these we’re giving away through this

whole launch party so at the end of the

launch partay the organic lawn care

manual by Paul Tookie

so Paul Tookie himself has offered to

give away one free book to a lucky

winner that’s getting involved in this

launch party and this book is all about

how to manage a healthy lawn from

anything from a golf course style wan to

your low maintenance lawn which of

course is something I prefer here on

this show right

I own this book I’ve read this book

multiple times I’ve given it away it’s a

kind of a tattered and worn version that

I have and I use some of these practices

in my own

so I love this book and I highly

promoted as well and you’ll hear me talk

about it throughout the show but Paul

Tookie has been kind enough to offer a

copy of his book as a grand prize and

there’s also a special surprise for

everybody that’s going to be getting

involved in the launch partay

the rolling river nursery out of

California has offered a special

surprise for everybody that’s involved

the rolling river nursery is a USDA

certified organic nursery so I went

online and I looked around for nurseries

that have online availability ship

through the continental US and have some

great offerings and rolling River

nursery is being kind enough to become

involved with our launch party and

they’re not only are they online

availability but they also are certified

organic which means they don’t use any

harmful herbicides or pesticides that

you have to be concerned with your

family about and so what you’re getting

is a safe and healthy plant they also

offer a ton of edible plants in trees

and shrubs cacti and succulents so they

offer several trees and shrubs that are

adaptable throughout the most of the

United States so definitely worth

checking them out and in addition these

guys are also involved with a non-profit

in Southern California to help local

food movements called planting justice

org so if you want to learn more about

them you can go to rolling River nursery

com and I also want to give a shout out

to Paul to Kies website for his organic

lawn care manual and his other works is

Paul to keep calm PA UL t uke Y and to

sum up guys okay you want to learn how

to get involved with this launch party

go over to aesthetic ecosystems dot-com

slash pod launch and that’s p OD lau NC

h there’s a link in the show notes and

that’s that’s going to give you all the

instructions on how to get involved

there’s two ways specifically to get

involved one is through sharing with

your peeps on Facebook and the other is

through leaving a review on iTunes

both of these are gonna help spread the

word about the show and get other people

other friends listening to it as well

and I sure appreciate your help here and

likewise this is gonna be a fun time so

going over into ascetic ecosystems calm

/ pod wanting to get involved and with

that guys thanks for tuning in and make

sure you live with passion and make

tomorrow better than today