A sitting wall – and a garden border redo…

A redo of our front yard border has been on the To Do List for quite some time. In fact, it was on my mental shortlist for this year.

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Spring turned into summer before I even realized it.

Summer flew by.

The total eclipse came and went.

I complained in August that I hadn’t gotten anything done this year.

Fall arrived and I decided that I needed to just do something.

So, I built a big dinosaur egg!

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Ha – I wished. It is totally cool, isn’t it? We saw the big egg at our Botanic Gardens as we were touring a couple of Saturdays ago – while looking for an answer to our front border redo.

As I have mentioned before, I love a particular border at the Botanic Gardens made from block stones.

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I considered this border for my raised garden bed last year. Sadly, it didn’t work out for that project. I had my mind set that I would definitely use it for the front yard border. It was perfect. It was like a mini version of a stone courtyard wall. I love courtyard walls. I love stone. A mini version seemed good because our yard is pretty small and has a lot going on.

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Then, I started second guessing my decision – because there is a lot going on out there. Would another random element look just as disjointed as the current brick situation? Would the stone blocks be just too much – stepping over the line from “interesting” to “junky”?

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Eventually, I decided the block thing was, in fact, just a bit too much. I was sad. I love, love, love those stone blocks…

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I had to move on. I sort of moved on. My next thought was a smaller, just barely above grade version of the block stone border.

Yep. A shorter, smaller version of the stone block border was it.

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Tad wasn’t sold on the idea of smaller stone block border. He wanted to look at all the options one more time.  So, we did.

Here are all the additional options we considered.

A poured concrete curb. I voted no – too urban.

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A flat poured concrete border. Again, I voted no – not interesting enough.

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We both still liked the idea of a “sitting” wall as the border itself – or as part of the border.

Tad kept pushing for concrete. I liked this formed concrete couch. It is a piece of functional art. I seriously considered a smaller version of this. Ultimately, it got eliminated because I didn’t want to hire anyone for this front border project.

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This type of textured concrete wall always comes up as an option when we talk about outdoor projects. We both love board formed concrete and want to use it in a project. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the project where board formed concrete would make it’s appearance.

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Stacked stone sitting wall? I liked it, but too “formal” for our project?

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The concrete base with a stone cap was cool, but felt a bit too modern and blocky for the mountain retreat thing I continue to strive for.

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We, then, stumbled upon the winner!

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River rock that matches our existing flower bed material! A cut stone cap that matches some stepping stones already in the yard! A “mountain, state park” kind of feel! I liked it! Tad liked it!

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This inspiration was found at Hudson Gardens in Littleton, Colorado. The place is cool – quiet, small, pretty, and free to visit. It feels like a private park…

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Image 9-2-17 at 8.09 PM (5)

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Back to our garden in progress.

We now have our own sitting wall out front!

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We built it ourselves – despite Tad initially suggesting that I call up someone to come build it.

We dug down a foot or so – carefully avoiding the sprinkler system,

Dug down one...

threw down some mortar,

Mortar base for structure...

placed a few cinder blocks for the structure,

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gathered some river rocks for the facing,

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applied the river rocks with some more mortar,

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did some shopping for the bench top,

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decided we needed a time capsule,

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installed the cut stone top,

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filled in some finish mortar between the stones,

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decided the one end needed to be built out a bit more,

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and stepped back to view our handiwork – the bench and the bird!

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A view from the porch…

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One step closer to feeling like our own private park…

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We talked about doing the whole border as a sitting wall, but I still wanted to see the moss boulders from the front yard. We also talked about doing a step down to a shorter border for the rest of the border like this wall.

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In the end, Tad decided that a flat border would be easier to mow and trim.

Keeping with the elements already in the yard, I opted to replace the brick with a buff stone.

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It still needs to be set level in a mortar base, but I can already tell that it was the right choice!

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Brick before…

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Beautiful buff stone after…

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Yep! I am hoping for a finish date by the New Year. So, check back 12/31-ish…