The simple DIY projects always seem to turn out best for me. It’s when I overthink things that I run into trouble. So today, I am sharing one of the simplest and prettiest landscaping projects I have ever tried.
For the backstory, we look to my post Improvements in the Garden, where I shared a project months in the making: Our new bluestone walkway.
The walkway connected the back porch to the greenhouse, the garden shed, and the back patio.
Beautiful as it was, it still looked unfinished to me. As you can see, we needed some sort of transition between the flowerbeds and the walkway.
And I worried about the soil from the flowerbeds eroding into the walkway.
Garden edging was in order here – something rustic and natural-looking so that it would look good with the bluestone and also with the old drystack wall in our patio area.
Chris and I kicked around the idea of a similar but shorter drystack wall for the garden edging. Getting just the right look would be tricky, but we could have Carlos (the landscaper who did our bluestone path) come back. He would probably do a wonderful job.
But of course we were overthinking it. And it sounded expensive. I knew if we could just get some big, pretty rocks, I could do the edging myself.
Finding Big, Pretty Rocks
I really think that rocks should be free – like air. But they are actually kind of expensive, especially big, pretty rocks.
The big box home stores near us didn’t carry what we wanted, so we wound up driving to a large stone yard out in the country.
There, we found a huge variety of stones. We quickly eliminated river rocks as an option – too round. We needed something kind of square-ish but still natural-looking.
It didn’t take us long to settle on Eagle Mountain ledge stone, which comes from Montana.
Chris and I loaded a pallet. (Well, he did most of the loading while I wielded the camera.)
The stones were irregular in dimension. We only had a vague idea of which size or thickness would work best, so we just got a mix. We got a half ton, which turned out to be just enough. The cost: A little over $200.
Installing the Stones
My plan was very simple. I hoped it would work. First, I dug a shallow trench for the stones between the bluestone walkway and the flowerbeds. The trench was at most an inch and a half deep.
Then I added a thin layer of sand for good luck. I’m not sure the sand was even necessary.
Then the fun started. I placed the stones in the trench. I made sure the prettiest stones were placed somewhere obvious.
And I placed the taller stones where the soil was high to keep the soil from crumbling into the walkway.
I trundled 1,000 pounds of stone into place. I spent so much time finding the right stone for the right location that I almost started giving them names.
I tapped each one with rubber mallet to make sure it was secure. These guys were heavy, which worked in my favor since once they were put in place, they didn’t want to move.
Then after the stones were set, I simply backfilled the flowerbeds behind the stones with soil and swept sand into the crack between the stones and the walkway. Voila!
The stones already look like they have always been here.
I strive for an old-world look in the garden and I think these stones fit the bill.
In fact, if I’ve had a glass of wine and the light is right, they kind of look like the remains of an ancient rock wall. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch.
All in all, a labor-intensive but satisfying project.
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- Improvements in the Garden
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