Despite being tired because I've spent the last three days doing this project ALL BY MYSELF, this concept of sheet mulching really wasn't that difficult. Basically, you cut the grass low, cover it with cardboard, then lay down a few inches of soil and mulch. It is supposed to kill the grass and weeds underneath, and turn them into rich loam that you can plant in. Cardboard is used because it will eventually break down, allowing you to plant in it, unlike landscape fabric which would have to be cut every time you wanted to add a plant.
Internet sites that demonstrate this technique call for about 6 inches of organic matter over the cardboard. I'm trying to get away with about half that. Hopefully, that won't be my downfall. I'll be annoyed if this area is a giant weed pile next year.
In any event, I've spent the last three days getting this project off the ground. I cut down the grass and pulled the bigger weeds, planted some anchor plants, covered the area with cardboard then spread the area with a thin layer of steer manure (yes, it's quite ripe out there right now!). Water the whole thing down real good.
Next weekend, Tommy and I will be trucking a few yards of soil and mulch over the whole thing to complete the dirt areas. Next step after that will be to bring in the field stone that will be used as the border to the path. Then finally, river rock to fill in the path and seating area. After that, it will be the simple matter of adding some additional plants, making the bird bath, bringing in some flagstones and other decorative elements. But all that will be done at my leisure once the main guts of this project is complete.
Looking forward to it being done! I'm already tired and I'm only halfway there. I had forgotten how much help I get out of my husband when he's not working. I tried tackling this phase of the project mostly alone, and it's very tiring. For sure, my teenager will be lending some muscles for the rest of it!