Starting a New Flower Bed
Don't break your back or lose your mind. The easiest and most gentle way to create a new bed is to do so in the fall. Simply rake a thick layer of leaves (1-2') where you want your bed and let it sit over the winter. Come next spring... Voilà! Your new bed is done. The leaves will have smothered the grass underneath while adding organic matter to the soil as they decompose. You may add compost and/or top soil as needed, as well as a thin layer of mulch to suppress weeds until plants fill the space.
Leave the Leaves!
Leaves are gold. They are nature's mulch, returning nutrients to the soil as well as slowing down evaporation and protecting the soil from the harsh sun & pounding rains. But, perhaps most importantly, they provide the necessary habitat for insects and other small critters that depend on them to survive the winter and complete their natural lifecycles. It is also delightful to watch the birds kick them around searching for food.
As annoying and in some cases dangerous as they may be, mosquitos too have a place in the food web, they are food to many. However, if you wish to reduce the mosquito population in your backyard in a way that truly has no casualties, try mosquitos dunks. To do this, simply fill a container with water and place a mosquito dunk in it. The dunks will kill only mosquito larvae, they are harmless to other insects, wildlife, and domestic pets. Be sure to place a large rock as you would in a deep birdbath to prevent birds and other wildlife from drowning.
The Source of all Life - WATER
If you don't have a water source in your garden, you are missing out. Once you add one, you'll be wishing you had done so sooner as you watch birds and other wildlife joyfully drink and bath. The spot you choose for your water source is important, be sure to choose a place visible from as many areas of your garden and home as possible, and ideally under the cover of a larger tree to provide protection to song birds from larger birds of prey. We placed ours on the ground to accommodate birds, toads, squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, and foxes alike. Don't forget to clean it and add fresh water daily.