Are you creating your flower bed from scratch, in an area currently covered with grass? If so, as preparation for planting the flower bed, you must remove the sod. Are you ready to play "sodbuster?"
I remove sod differently from what you may see on TV gardening shows. The latter often recommend using a flat-blade shovel, with which the sod is skimmed off and removed, soil and all. But I use a common, everyday, pointed shovel, cutting the sod out in chunks (about 4" deep x 10" wide x 10" long). Then I lay the shovel on its side (blade perpendicular to the ground, as shown in the picture above) and pound the sod against the shovel's blade. By doing so, I remove the bulk of the soil from the sod, so that I don't waste it. I dispose of the sod by placing it in my compost bin.
Speaking of compost, it's time to add some to the soil, now that the sod is out of the way. Compost increases the soil's fertility. In the process of working compost into the ground, you'll also be loosening the soil, making it more friable.
Okay, we're done playing in the dirt for a bit. For, rather than installing plants immediately, I want you to consider some preventative weed control. So in Step 5, I'll discuss weed barrier installation....