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Line Small Flower Beds With Concrete Mixing Tubs

With Bermuda grass growing all around, it was impossible to keep it out of the lawn. Eventually, all the fescue was removed and a fine bladed Bermuda hybrid was planted.

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Bermuda migrates towards wetter soil. If flower beds are kept wetter than the surrounding lawn, Bermuda will easily invade them. Using sunken concrete mixing tubs as liners for beds can prevent this migration, underground. Keeping above ground migration at bay is much easier.

A hole is dug to accommodate the tub. Plastic is used to line the bottom of the hole. The plastic prevents underground grass roots from growing up through drain holes which were cut into the tubs. Saved fertilizer or potting soil bags are ideal for this purpose.

The tub is placed in the hole, being leveled by the addition or removal of small amounts of underneath soil, here and there. The soil is adjusted so that the rim of the tub will extend about one half inch above the surrounding soil. The lawnmower can then mow over the rim, where necessary. The tub is then filled with a soil rich in organic matter or a soil amended to suit a particular type bedding plant.

The soil can be easily removed from these tubs yearly and replaced with fresh. More often, all that is needed is the addition of a layer of nutrient rich compost to serve as a top dressing.

Pictured is a small bed of purslane. It is being grown in a sunken concrete tub. To the casual observer, it appears the flowers are being grown directly in the ground. Liriope (monkey grass), can be seen to the right of the purslane. It is one of a row of liriope plants being grown in sunken pots. When the first heavy frost has killed the purslane, it will be replaced with pansies or viola to provide a display of color throughout winter and well into spring.

Using mixing tubs to containerize small flower beds has many advantages. Weeding is much easier. Water is conserved. Invading grass can be more easily controlled. There is a fixed, neat appearance.

Once sunken, these tubs will last for many years. They are low cost and readily available in at least two sizes from home and garden centers such as Lowe's and Home Depot. The only preparation would be the cutting of several quarter size drain holes.

Steps:

  1. Photo Description With Bermuda grass growing all around, it was impossible to keep it out of the lawn. Eventually, all Fescue was removed and a fine bladed Bermuda hybrid was planted.

    Bermuda migrates towards wetter soil. If flower beds are kept wetter than the surrounding lawn, Bermuda will easily invade them. Using sunken concrete mixing tubs as liners for beds can prevent this migration, underground. Keeping above ground migration at bay is much easier.

    A hole is dug to accommodate the tub. Plastic is used to line the bottom of the hole. The plastic prevents underground grass roots from growing up through drain holes which were cut into the tubs. Saved fertilizer or potting soil bags are ideal for this purpose.

    The tub is placed in the hole, being leveled by the addition or removal of small amounts of underneath soil, here and there. The soil is adjusted so that the rim of the tub will extend about one half inch above the surrounding soil. The lawnmower can then mow over the rim, where necessary. The tub is then filled with a soil rich in organic matter or a soil amended to suit a particular type bedding plant.

    The soil can be easily removed from these tubs yearly and replaced with fresh. More often, all that is needed is the addition of a layer of nutrient rich compost to serve as a top dressing.

    Pictured is a small bed of Purslane. It is being grown in a sunken concrete tub. To the casual observer, it appears the flowers are being grown directly in the ground. Liriope (Monkey Grass), can be seen to the right of the purslane. It is one of a row of liriope plants being grown in sunken pots. When the first heavy frost has killed the purslane, it will be replaced with Pansies or Viola to provide a display of color throughout Winter and well into Spring.

    Using mixing tubs to containerize small flower beds has many advantages. Weeding is much easier. Water is conserved. Invading grass can be more easily controlled. There is a fixed, neat appearance.

    Once sunken, these tubs will last for many years. They are
  2. Photo Location

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November 21, 20160 found this helpful

Dear "likekinds-"- once again, a GREAT idea from you, & a well-written article, as well! I always enjoy your submissions, and always learn so much. This is a great idea, and I will plan to implement this in the Spring. I have been busy re-doing my house AND yard ( read: LIFE!). With Winter, inside work is in full swing, but garden plans are still in full bloom in my thoughts! Your idea works on so many levels, and I TRULY APPRECIATE your time and effort! Thanks for sharing, this is great!

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November 22, 20160 found this helpful

Hi, Ivey!

You are too kind. I really do appreciate every word of your comment and am glad you find the tip useful. I've been doing this for years and find it makes my gardening easier and neater.

Thank you

Doug

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November 22, 20160 found this helpful

Here is another picture showing the tubs inground. The Purslane has grown profusely and spilled out onto the lawn. I used an iron bar (most anything would do) to keep the Purslane up and out of the way while I mowed around the tub.

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November 22, 20160 found this helpful

So cool, Doug! Thanks for adding more - YAY!

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November 27, 20160 found this helpful

I am very glad that you have the time and knowledge to "lend" us your very helpful hints and such clear procedures.

With your photos and clear and precise instructions, even an 82 year old (like me) can put to use new and better ways to do so many garden "jobs". I love working in my yard and this seems like a good trick because I am always trying to keep unwanted grass out of my flower beds.

Thank you.

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November 28, 20160 found this helpful

This would be perfect for mint, bamboo or other invasive plants. Great idea!

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Anonymous
November 28, 20160 found this helpful

I'm sure it would be ideal for mint. I'm not so sure about bamboo. These tubs are only about 8-10 inches deep. But with bamboo being a true grass, it might not have a very deep root system. Thanks, Jess. You've given me something to research.

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November 28, 20160 found this helpful

Thanks, Grannie

Keeping weeds and grass from these beds is far easier than from beds directly in the ground. First, not that much grass and weeds get in, and what does is easy to get out because a good, amended soil in these tubs will not compact. It stays soft and crumbly. Even making holes to plant bedding plants could be done with your hands should you forget your trowel.

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November 28, 20160 found this helpful

I use these tubs above ground, as well. Here is a picture to give you an idea of the depth of these tubs. Most bedding plants will do well in these tubs because most have a shallow root system. Pictured is Portulaca oleracea sativa (Golden Purslane), a delicious and healthy little plant. Loose leaf lettuce does beautifully in these tubs.

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January 29, 20170 found this helpful

I am getting my first tubs ready for spring - I know it is early but I have plants just waiting and no more room inside so I want to be ready when our Robins appear.

Thanks again for the ideas.

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January 29, 20170 found this helpful

Are you serious? I sure hope you enjoy the tubs as much as I have.

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