Wow, I have taken on a big project this fall, transforming some space in a side yard and some perimeter in the back yard into flower beds. All of the areas previously had St. Augustine growing in them. So with cool weather coming into Austin and the kids nursed back to health, I set out on my adventure.
Here is the side area before I started. It was the site of the infamous big match between ladybug and bumblebee.
Nice, healthy grass. And I loved it but it was a P-A-I-N to bring the mower all the way around the house just to mow that little area. And let's face it, I can always use an excuse to have more planting area. So, out came the round-up. And that grass went belly-up. Actually, the dead grass was quite beautiful in the fall, a golden color among the green of the flowering plants.
Then I put in the call for mulch and compost to be delivered. Like an angel from heaven, a dump truck pulled in and dumped 9 yards of mulch and 3 yards of compost in my driveway. Man, my hubby is going to love this when he pulls in.
Actually, he was a delight, helping me do some of the initial work. You see, even dead St. Augustine has these killer runners that just laugh at you as you till them, winding around your blades until the motor can't fight them anymore. So our first step was to mow the dead grass as low as we could get it, basically scalping the grass to dirt level to get rid of a a lot of the dead material. We just chucked it over to the side, as I wanted all the wonderful plant material back on the dirt once we had tilled to have them decompose and give nutrients back to the soil.
Then we tilled to get as much of the root structure out as possible and get some air in the soil. After tilling, we piled all the grass material mowed off back onto the surface
and then spread about an inch of compost on top.
My in-laws had kindly given me all of their packing paper from their move down to Texas so I began laying the paper out on top of the compost, about 3-4 sheets thick, spraying with water as I went to keep them from blowing away in the wind. This will help keep weed seeds and grass from sprouting, although it certainly won't prevent it. But I like it better than landscape cloth as it will decompose and you don't have to struggle to cut holes every time you want to plant.
Finally, I began piling mulch on top about 3-4 inches thick. Beds always look so beautiful when they get mulch on top.
And then the finished bed sans plants.
Now I can't wait to get my hands on some ornamental grasses and other joys and start planting. What's that? I have another bed to create? But my back and wrists hurt from this shoveling-and those itty bitty plants at the nursery are just calling out to me. OK, OK, I know this pile of dirt in the driveway is getting annoying. No pain, no gain, right?