Originally Posted by DexterII
I agree with Joe; you need a level surface, free of grass, weeds, soil clumps, etc., so would do as he suggested. Before you start, decide at what elevation you want the top of the stones, and how far off of the foundation that you want them; the curves you can obviously free hand, unless you want a perfect radius, but you probably want them straight along the house. Set a stake at each end, an equal distance from the foundation, and a foot or two beyond where you want to run the stones. Now, you can use the bottom of your siding as a benchmark, to determine how far below that you want the stones, and then use a 4' level to extend that mark to each stake. Remember that you want your finish grade in the beds to slope away from the house, a minimum of about 1/8" per foot. Run a string from the mark on one stake to the mark on the other, and you have both a straight line, and an elevation. Now, mowing, then trimming along the stones, can be a pain, so, going back to planning, you need to decide whether you want them at or above grade. Personally, I prefer a free running mulch bed, no edge, which requires a little bit of dressing once in a while, but more than makes up for that in time spent mowing and trimming. But, that wasn't one of your questions, so back to task. While you are doing this, buy a few elbows and enough downspout to extend them out, at least 3-4' from the house, away from your foundation. Also, going back to the mulch thing, I would plan for at least 2-3" of that inside the stones, while you are working out elevations, as it will help hold moisture for your flowers. Keep in mind that nice, neat, appealing beds do not happen my accident, and a little additional planning and effort on the front end will pay huge dividends in the future.