Digging up Our Lawn and Turning it Into a Square Foot Garden with a Brick Mow Row

By Julie Sews - 9:26:00 AM

Our Current Finished Garden
We've had such a late spring here in MN our garden expansion plans have been delayed.  It even snowed 3 days ago and has been raining almost ever day!  Finally I was able to start on this massive project.  We are expanding our current garden to make room for wider paths (1 ft paths what were we thinking?!  That was a nightmare last season).  Which means removing sod and completely relaying most of the current bricks we have.

Digging up our Lawn to create a sq ft Garden
We plan to duplicate our current expanded garden across our pathway in order to double our current garden size along with other expanded beds that we will do after this project, hopefully tripling the size of last years garden.
  We dug up this much of our lawn in the fall, but were not able to finish because it snowed.  We found we might have a live electrical wire under the ground so we need to learn more about that before we can continue.

How Do You Dig Up Your Lawn and Turn it Into a Garden?
  1. We used a spading fork (pictured below) to get the soil up into chunks
  2. then we tried to break up the sod into smaller pieces and beat as much of the soil out of it as possible with a hand cultivator tool.  Of course I also took time out to save the worms before beating the dirt out of the sod
  3. After worms and most of the dirt was removed from the sod I placed it in the garbage bag.
  4. We chose brick pavers for our materials because it is low maintenance and flexible (we can easily move the bricks around if we change our mind).  And we feel it is more attractive.  You could easily build raised beds out of wood that is naturally rot resistant and not chemically treated (don't want that in your food).
  5. We laid a brick pavers down for an easy maintenance  mow row, and one up to allow a slightly raised bed (see picture below).
Where we Are Now in our Garden Expansion
Brick Mow Row For Easy Maintenance

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 Read more on creating our square foot garden
 Part 2: Digging Up Our Lawn...
 Part 3: Digging Up Our Garden


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  1. hi Julie,i think you are close to me somewhere. i am on the north end of town [burbs] but near enough to the river that we get a lot of deer and critters.i have a brown thumb but do try a little container gardening -top side. I will check back to see how your garden is doing.

  2. Thanks for the comment! Hopefully it can stop raining long enough to continue on with my project! Boy has this been an interesting winter and spring! I think I might have one day this week if the soil isn't rainy. I plan to do more containing gardening this year and add posts or an extra section on it so check back.

  3. I used to dig up my sod just like you...ugh, it's SO much work. We rented a sod cutter to do a large area of our yard, and then posted the sod on Craigslist for free. Got rid of all of it the same day. That was MUCH easier! But for a small garden space, this year I'm trying lasagna gardening. Check it out, it might be worth it for you to try it too... Lasagna Gardening



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