Saturday, February 11, 2012

One project down...

Yesterday was a big day for me as I finished my garden path!!

Tuesday and Wednesday of this week were spent installing metal edging to define the path. By the way, I do not recommend trying to hold, shape, and hammer metal edging by yourself. It's quite difficult but isn't impossible. Just don't get your finger between the metal stake and the sledge hammer... it hurts and there will be blood.

Thursday I loaded up the kid and the dogs in the pickup and headed over to the rock/gravel yard. Driving over I was still wishy washy as to what material I wanted to use for the path. Hubby liked the decomposed granite (DG), I liked the pea gravel. 

Both materials had issues that I had read about online. The DG could get mushy and muddy when it rained, and could also wash away. We do have a slight slope to our backyard and I worried that it would end up washed down by the back gate if we had a good downpour. Also, I had read it tends to get tracked around as it sticks to shoes. No problem there as we remove our shoes to come into the house. It was pretty though, and looks very natural. I was leaning towards the gravel, but had read that it's difficult to walk on if installed too deep, and because it is round it cannot lock together and compact. Gravel also tends to get kicked onto lawns and into flower beds and it's difficult to push a wheelbarrow across. However, it would drain well and wouldn't wash away as easily.

OK... I made a decision. I would go with the decomposed granite. I needed one yard, but since the truck can only hold a half-ton, I decided to get a half yard and drive back the next day for the other half. 

Back home, I loaded up my first wheelbarrow full and noticed it was rather difficult to push across the lawn. Hmmm... suspicion confirmed, the tire needed air! Should've done that before I started. Push, push, push across the lawn. Dump load. Fill tire with air. Second load and whoosh, out went all the air again. Push, push, push across the lawn. Dump load. What the *#@%!!  Apparently, the tire was so badly dried and cracked, it just couldn't hold any air. Off to the big box store for a new wheel. 
Thanks to my handy son for replacing it for me! 

Alright, things are really starting to happen now. Since rain was forecast I wanted to get that first half yard spread out by the end of the day. Here it is:

I was starting to rethink the choice of  DG. I hadn't gotten to the compacting part yet, but the dogs were walking around with dirty orange feet. Not good. Overnight we had a good rain shower, and it made for muddy orange doggy feet. UGH.  Fortunately, I had to go back to the gravel yard anyway. Tried a different gravel yard and found a nice chipped limestone gravel. Perfect, as it will compact nicely because of the uneven edges. 

Two truckloads of gravel later and voila!

So that's one backyard project down... 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Progress is my middle name!

Drizzly day yesterday; rainy overnight; cool overcast day today... perfect conditions to grab a shovel and start my big re-landscape project! Can't wait to get started!

Flashback one year ago, February 2011:

Not exactly great conditions for gardening. 60 degrees today, clear skies and warm sunshine... Luv-erly.

OK, so two years ago I built my raised bed "potager" garden and had some issues (scorching sun and hungry bunnies) which caused me to re-think that area of the garden. Just as well it wasn't overly successful: ants and woodrot, yikes!

I felt bad that after all that hard work building those beds, they didn't last very long. However, launching a big sledge hammer to them was WAY fun! I'm feeling better already!

A "before" wide-shot from the back deck looking down to the back yard:

And today's progress:

Tomorrow is the Super Bowl... I think a perfect day to visit The Home Depot and get some edging to define the path and patio area for the bistro table. I've left an open area for my stock tank pond, so I might pick up some bags of sand to make it level.

Then to order the garden soil and gravel. I'm thinking pea gravel instead of crushed granite for the path. There's a slight slope down to the gate and I'm worried about run off and puddles. I so love the look of a gravel garden.

I went to The Natural Gardener nursery  two days ago and bought some pretty blue and white pansies to go in the flower boxes on the club house. I can't wait to get back there to buy some nice perennials for those back beds. And of course, I'll have to do some research and figure out which water lilies will be appropriate for this area... exciting! Any one have any good suggestions where I might go for those?

So much work to be done, I feel a little overwhelmed with the size of this project. Hubby just took off for four weeks for work. It's a great time to get this done, just kinda wishing I had the extra set of hands and strong back.
It's going to be slow progress.
I can do this.
Any progress is good, right?

Oh, and I even pruned the roses in the front yard! Phew!

And now my shower beckons!