How to turn lawn into a planting bed
This information was originally posted on the Daylily Forum, but it would work with any planting bed.
This is the easiest way to start a new bed in a lawn (very little of which is left in my yard). I scalp the lawn first, weed wack or set the mower to the lowest setting. Then I get newspaper and put a thickness of 5 sheets down and cover the whole area, overlapping generously and then dump a few inches of compost if I have it, topped with a few inches of wood chips (holds newspaper down and keeps weeds down). The lawn dies, newspaper decomposes and the earthworms love it...this I usually do in the fall giving winter time to break everything down and kill the grass... I have done it in the spring but there is no time to kill the grass, so what I do then is dig out a generous circle of lawn where I want to put in a plant and then I bring the newspaper around the plant out to grass and put wood chips down...I have had great success with minimal back breaking work, no chemicals, worm poop is an added bonus and the earthworms aerate the soil. I also mulch with newspaper and wood chips in existing flower beds. My friend used shredded paper and chips in her existing beds this past year with excellent results. She did this as her plants were very close together and it was easier to put handfuls of shredded paper down rather than folding newspaper to fit around plants. Also it is good to moistened the newspaper or shredded paper first, helps keep it in place on a windy day. I just keep a bucket of water with me as I go. Jean in NJ