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Raised beds on a previously weedy lawn

Yesterday we constructed four raised beds on a rather weedy lawn. The garden slopes slightly so the top sides of each bed are 8" high and the bottom sides 12". 

I have removed some of the grass but wonder if I could get away with either turning the grass over and perhaps covering it with cardboard, then topsoil and leaving it over winter. Any advice appreciated.


  • I think you're spot on with your plan. I know that turning sods face down causes them to rot away. I think maybe  the cardboard isn't necessary in this case as you're covering it in topsoil anyway. Let me know how you go as I have similar plans for a weedy, overgrown, dead tree stump in the middle of it, used to be a rose garden bit of my garden. Yes it really is that attractive!

  • It seems to be the easiest option. The reason for using the cardboard was because of the weeds. Another reason for the raised beds was because of tree roots under one of the beds. The tree is coming down soon as it is too big for the spot it is in and despite a heavy cut back in the spring it has grown into the overhead telephone cables again. Don't want to be responsible for everyone losing their phone/internet connection!

    Will weeds with tap roots die off under the cardboard/soil or should I remove them?

  • I'm very lazy so I try to cheat. I'm here to tell you that it doesn't work and will come back to bite you. Try to remove every bit of weed and root that you possibly can. Invite the family and friends round for tea and buns if necessary.image You will always miss some but the fewer you have, then the fewer you have to deal with in the finished article.

    It's a bit like painting and decorating. Nobody wants to sand and undercoat, they just want to see the lovely end result. You can't have one without the other I'm afraid.

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 22,159

    Turn over your turves as planned then layer on cardboard which is an earthworm magnet and then any grass trimmings, weeds, raw kitchen waste, manure and spent compost you can get your hands on.    Make sure you have some brown, dry waste in there as well as green stuff.  Cover with more cardboard or black plastic and leave to cook over winter.

    By spring, you should have wonderful fertile soil that just needs a bit of a fork and rake to level it before planting up.  It should also be moisture retentive so will save on watering except in very dry spells and immediately after planting..

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • I think I have decided to skim off the grass and go through each bit to edaticate weeds with tap roots. It's going to take time but I think turning the grass/sods upside down and covering with cardboard then compost/manure will work, hopefully.

    My family have high hopes for the veg beds having been here for the construction. No pressure then?

  • You've come to the right decision pepperted - as plant pauper said the weeds will  definitely come up. The cardboard will break down and won't be a barrier for weeds. Get 'em out !image

  • Thanks everyone for your input. Now for the hard work. At least the sun is shining.

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