It’s that time of year. Our spring landscape project has been on hold since we moved here in 2016. The weather has been very wet last year and so far this year. So we don’t lose any more time we are going to move forward and hope for some dry weather.
This is not a woodworking related post. The weather here has kept me focused on projects like the farm table, laundry remodels and a few other projects, but sometimes you need to take a break and get some work done around the house.
Our first flower bed was done in 2017 to add some color and make mowing easier. A Japanese Maple is our focal point in the main flower bed. We added a few taller ornamental conifers to add height and some daylilies and Back eyed Susans for a splash of color. Finished up with some black mulch and called it a season.
The walkway is the same stone as the driveway. We have not been a fan of this. We had no choice. The ground was very muddy when we moved into our new house. because it was so wet that year we needed something so we could move our furniture in with. During the next part of this project, we will be changing this to flagstone.
After waiting for three years, we are diving in with a rough idea more than a plan. We did some research on Pinterest for inspiration and had a good idea of how we imagined our project would turn out. We knew we are adding flower beds around the house. It has been a difficult decision on how we wanted it to look. We are not in a community, and there are no nearby homes. After careful deliberation, we knew that we wanted a more maintenance free and natural looking option to blend into the natural surroundings.
We were used to concrete curbing from our previous home. but, we felt that was not the right look. We priced out concrete curbing. This is a great choice for separating the lawn and beds. The price was very reasonable for the length we needed. We also considered stone which is a little more costly but unlike the curbing, we will be providing the labor. There were several other choices like aluminum, plastic, and steel.
Stone was the ultimate choice. This choice opens us up to a lot more decisions. Round, square, flat, blue, red, natural, man-made, etc. off the stone yard we went. Our local landscape supply had an excellent choice of stone in stock. We were able to purchase the stone for a little less than the curbing. We found the stone that closely matched the veneer stone on the front of the house. The stone came in large and small pieces and we purchased one pallet of each. We will probably need more then we purchased but not a full pallet. They offer the option to purchase by the pound so we will be able to get what we need separately
The first step is to prepare the ground for our new plants. We had the house built in a former farm field. In North Carolina, the soil contains a lot of clay. Fortunately, because the land had been previously used for farming the ground won’t need much work.
We started by tilling the soil where the plants will be placed. We will dig down about 4 to 6 inches outside of this to set our base layer of stone for the flower bed. The border will be between 4 to 6 inches above grade providing separation from the grass and flower beds. There are several benefits to adding flower beds. It will bring a more finished look to the house, prevent dirt from splashing on the house and will make mowing easier.
The soil stayed very compacted due to the construction. The field was a farm pasture with a good layer of soil. The dirt was removed for the foundation and set aside to put back. The contractors decided they did not want to be bothered and pushed the good dirt into the pond area, leaving me with a hard packed clay. They put down some seed and a layer of straw. We amended the soil and tilled it for the new plants and are hoping we did enough.
For our spring landscape project, we purchased two pallets of stone that closely matches the front porch. One pallet was a larger stone. We used the larger stone for the walkway. The wall is a dry stacked stone. Each piece was laid down and fitted to interlock with each other. By completing the wall a few hours a day after work keeps the costs for the project low.
Trenching for retaining wall
With a rough layout, the next step is to build the retaining wall for the walkway. The walkway uses the same stone as the driveway. We pulled the stone back to make room for our retaining wall foundation. The clay soil is almost like concrete, and our wall height is around a foot tall. The foundation we used was the stone we had removed from the edge of the walkway. The stone was applied to about three inches and compacted into the bottom of the trench.
The walkway stone is laid from the steps around the walkway and partially down the driveway to separate them from the flower beds. Each layer was fitted and backfilled with smaller stones.
The retaining wall for the walkway is complete and the flower beds are being graded and prepped for the second wall to create the flower beds.
Please check back for part two of our spring landscape project for information and pictures of our completed flower beds.