Even though I make new beds the lazy person's way (I think I posted about it before...maybe not), it's still really hard work. Our land has some spots that are downright dangerous to mow--so we plan to cover those spots with lovely garden beds. At our last house we left no blade of grass in front of the house and ended up with an awesome little cottage garden. Our plans here are for a rose garden, herb bed, and perennial bed.
So last night I spent about four hours laying cardboard, wetting the cardboard, laying newspaper over any lesser-covered spots, wetting that, and then covering the whole thing with about 5 inches of straw. The cardboard smothers the grass below and decomposes, as does the straw. Eventually we're left with lovely, weed-free dirt that plants just looooove. But all that stooping and lifting and stooping and lifting and hefting around of the hose wears a gal out!
Tonight we'll be planting a whole GOB of plants that our awesome neighbors gave us. She was dividing a lot of her hostas and some other perennials and just brought them over. We seriously lucked out with the whole neighbor thing, especially given our totally psycho neighbors at the last house. Country life is great!