You Can Prep Your Garden Super Quickly With This Cardboard Gardening Hack

Updated: Mar. 21, 2024

One hour doing this can save you from an entire season of weeding!

Now that it’s officially gardening season, this week is the perfect time to prepare your garden beds. After all, there’s a lot to do before you can sow seeds: kill off the grass, spread out potting soil and pull weeds, to name a few. It’s normal for all of this prep to feel daunting. However, there’s, fortunately, one very simple trick to perform all these tasks in record time, and the key ingredient is probably sitting in your recycling bin right now! Read on to learn all about our favorite no-dig garden hack.

What Is the Cardboard Gardening Method?

This no-dig garden hack is beautifully illustrated in a TikTok video from Brandon Gentry (@brandontgentry), below. Basically, you use sheets of cardboard in your planting area to kill off any existing grass and prevent those pesky weeds from popping up. The hack is cheap, fast and virtually stress-free, as the cardboard does the hard work for you. Better yet, the cardboard will decompose over time, making it both environmentally friendly and reliable for long-term root growth.

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How Can I Use the Cardboard Gardening Method?

The process here is quite simple, but before you get started, be sure to gather the following materials. Depending on the size of your garden plot, this hack should take you 30 minutes to an hour.



  1. Start by laying your biggest pieces of cardboard down flat in your garden plot. Overlap the sides of the cardboard so that there are not any gaps for weeds or grass to grow into. If it’s windy, use the bags of potting soil to weigh down the cardboard.
  2. As you reach the edges of the plot, use the utility knife to cut the cardboard into curved or smaller pieces to fit. Make these lines as precise as possible so that the edges of your garden remain sharp and differentiated from your lawn.
  3. Once the cardboard is cut and placed, water the cardboard using a garden hose. It should be pretty saturated so that it can properly dissolve into the earth.
  4. Now, tear open the potting soil bags and pour the soil out over the wet cardboard. Use the rake, if necessary, to spread the potting soil into an even layer a few inches thick.
  5. Finally, spread the mulch out on top of the potting soil. Again, use the rake to make sure the layer is even.

Congratulations: now you’re ready to plant!