Landscaping – stacked stone redo…

This project cost only $5.22. I have never, ever, ever had such a low cost project in all my history of home ownership. Shocking, but exciting – for me. And, I get to cross off another project from my list. Also, exciting – for me.

Our stacked stone front planting bed was one of the first landscaping projects we did about 15 years ago. The stacked stone wall has worked out great as far as staying in place and adding interest to our front yard.  The reason I want a redo is because the grass has worked it’s way between the stones. The grass has invaded the bed quicker than I can yank it out.

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Additionally, some of the other plants in the bed have decided to escape – and have been working their way between the rocks and down into the lawn.  It has been pretty messy over the last few years. This last summer was the final straw. I couldn’t contain anything. It was maddening.

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If you check our To Do List, you will notice that I thought about replacing the stacked stone with a decorative form concrete wall of some sort. I thought about all of the options over the winter. I decided that I am not ready to give up on the stacked stone just yet. I still really like the stacked stone look. It feels charming. I like charming. I want to keep my stacked stone. However, I don’t want to have to redo this stacked stone again in my lifetime. The first time around I used just garden dirt to keep the stones in place. It worked great but ended up being the perfect medium for grass to invade.  I didn’t think about that first time around – obviously.

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So, I researched how to keep the grass and other plants from creeping between the rocks. The best solution I thought was to use mortar between and behind the stone wall. Additional research unearthed some possible problems with this mortar method – blocked drainage, heaving and mortar deterioration in the winter, mortar cracking and deterioration with inevitable settling, and the list goes on and on. As a result, the mortar method got eliminated. The next best solution – at least in my mind – was a combination of metal edging (I hope to block the majority of the grass from moving beyond the edging), recycled concrete road base (which is not grass and plant friendly in other applications), and crossed fingers (for luck).

I unstacked my stones and dug a little trench. Pretty easy. I also got a pretty good upper body work out that day.

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Next I installed the metal edging.  I then took this photo.  I was looking at the photo and realized the metal edging behind the first row of stones wouldn’t block any of the grass. The grass would crazily make it’s way between the stones before it ever reached the edging. Hmm…

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So, I corrected my mistake. The edging was installed (correctly – I think) in front of the bottom row of stacked stones. In theory this should work…

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My first trip to the landscaping supply yard for a couple of buckets of road base cost only $1.32. Wow – seriously low cost, and it worked great for setting my stones.

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Trip #2 & 3 to the landscaping supply yard for more road base. $1.70 per trip. The second row of stacked stones were quickly and easily placed with the road base as a base – that’s why it’s called road base? 

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Trip #4 to the landscaping supply yard for more road base – a $1.50 worth (the guy recognized me from a previous day – as I am the only person that has ever shown up to get concrete road base in such small amounts – four different times). I saved the large flat stones for last – as a sort of capstone. I then filled in behind the road base and stones with garden soil.

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Tad helped me out with turning over the dirt in the bed and removing the grass clumps and other plant roots. He’s on the home stretch here – around the corner.

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Thanks Tad. All cleaned up, ready for some compost, and on to the fun stuff – like plants.

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Then, it snowed. The planting will have to wait…

Spring has sprung…

It’s totally exciting for me!  The promise of warmer weather, longer days, fresh air, and pretty plants…

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Tulips to tip toe through…

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The first flower of the season…

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Soft and furry willows – my favorite sign that spring has sprung…DSCN4110

 Happy Spring Y’all !

The Organized Garden…

I started working on the south side yard the year we moved in – a long, long time ago.  I initially started with drought tolerant plants that are common and easy to care for, but maybe a bit boring after a while.  We didn’t have an irrigation system at the time.  I threw in a variety of ground covers – some of which have been very, very aggressive.  Next was the rose bush phase.  I then decided I needed variety – so, I basically planted one of everything.  What I eventually ended up with was overgrown and a bit messy – especially in comparison to the back part of this side yard.

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Over the last few years I tried to convince myself that the wild, overgrown thing was working.  I even tried to call it an English garden – it didn’t work.  I have been formulating a plan in my head all summer for a redo of this mess.  I want an organized/zoned garden that is easy to take care of and has more color.

What I did to get there:

The grape vine stays where it is.  I pulled up all the ground cover – and weeds.  I moved the flamingo to a new spot – peeking out from behind his own body.

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Just kidding – this little pink legged flamingo is obviously not in our yard – he is in New Zealand – wouldn’t it be great though to have a real flamingo in my yard?!

Anyway, the flagstone pathway was reset closer to the house and made more meandering – with the flamingo peeking out from behind the willow shrub.

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I replanted the gazanias all together – in an organized manner – as a border along the house.

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I moved all my roses together to create a small rose garden.  They don’t look so hot at the moment – we will see how things look in the spring.

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I moved the colorful miscellaneous plants to their own zone – the bee & butterfly zone I like to call it – blue fescue grasses, purple sage, coneflowers, black eyed susans, double bubble mint, coreopsis, butterfly bush, yarrow, hibiscus – and more.  As with the rose garden – this area doesn’t look like much right now, but hope springs eternal.

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Finally, I replanted the rhubarb, tossed on some mulch, and bordered the house with pea gravel.

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Call me a freak, but I like my stuff (including my plants) organized.  I can hardly wait for spring!