Improvements in The Garden

To mark my 100th post, I’m writing about something important to me – something months in the making:  Our backyard re-landscape.

Like most projects, this one started out as a small repair job that grew.

If It’s Broken, Fix It.  Then Keep Going.

Part of a narrow walkway made of broken Pennsylvania bluestone had been torn up to make way for our little greenhouse.  The walkway needed to be repaired, and things were a real mess.

New garden walkway: before
Our walkway in pieces after the greenhouse installation.

The little walkway ambled behind a large circular planting area and led into our back patio.

Old garden walkway

Cute but very impractical as this was never how we accessed the patio.  No, to get to the patio from our back porch, Chris and I – and guests – had to trudge through the lawn.

Getting to the tool shed also meant walking through a sometimes soggy or muddy lawn.

Before the new walkway
The tool shed (left) and patio (center) could only be accessed by walking through the grass.

Same story with the new greenhouse.

Greenhouse before the new garden walkway

So we decided to expand the bluestone walkway so that it connected everything – the back porch, the greenhouse, the patio, and the shed.  Hooray!

Designing the New Walkway

I wanted to keep an informal feel to the new walkway so that it complemented our cottage-style garden and house.  That meant curves instead of straight lines.

We could have drafted up a blueprint or scale drawing, but instead we simply laid out our garden hose in different configurations until we had an idea of what we wanted – sweeping lines, generous proportions.

Planning the new garden walkway

This was an easy and accurate visual aid.  Now we just had to find someone to show it to.  We decided to hire a professional landscaper since the bluestone slabs would be huge and heavy, and they would need to be cut properly to look right.

Finding Help

We met with several landscaping companies that specialized in this kind of hardscaping.  But in the end, we went with a landscaper we met during a walk in the neighborhood. Carlos was doing a beautiful walkway replacement for a neighbor so we got a firsthand look at his work.

The Project Begins

The project started last fall.  Chris and Carlos marked the outline of the new walkway.

New garden walkway: marking the path

Then the grass was removed and a gravel bed was poured as a foundation.

New garden walkway: gravel poured

Sand was poured over the gravel.  Then it was leveled and compacted.

New garden walkway: leveling the sand

We also took this opportunity to do something about the tool shed. It had begun to settle and was sinking on one side.

shed on rollers

So the shed was lifted, put up on rollers, and then set back down onto a better foundation.

Then the huge stone slabs arrived.

New garden walkway: bluestone slabs

They were cut and set into place.

New garden walkway: cutting the stones

New garden walkway: partially done

Carlos did a terrific job of cutting the stones.

new garden walkway: stones in place

The existing walkway and patio had mortar joints between the pavers.  But every landscaper we talked to advised against using mortar on the new portion because the mortar would eventually crack.

So we decided to use polymeric sand instead.  It is said to be more stable than regular landscaping sand but more flexible than mortar.

We needed a certain temperature and several days of dry weather to install the sand.  With the holidays almost upon us at this point,  the project was put on hold.

But recently, the weather cooperated – and we were able get back on Carlos’s busy schedule.   It took him just a few hours to pour the sand into the joints.  Then it had to sit and dry for a few days.

New garden walkway: facing south from in front of greenhouse

New garden walkway from back porch

New garden walkway: flower bed and greenhouse

New garden walkway: connecting shed to greenhouse


New garden walkway connecting to old patio work
The old and new bluestone work connects here.
New garden walkway leading to existing patio
New garden walkway leading to existing patio

It looks so new now, but over time I think it will blend well with the older patio work, especially once more of the perennials emerge and soften the look.

More Improvements Coming

I just love how our new walkway turned out, but there is still much to do.

Garden Edging

We want to put in some sort of edging between the flower beds and the walkway.  This will give the new walkway a softer look and also keep the soil from eroding into it.

New garden walkway

I want to keep it charming – nothing that looks too man-made.  We are hoping to just use natural stones.

The Greenhouse Foundation

I also want to do something about the greenhouse foundation. To me, the bare pressure-treated wood makes it look unfinished.

Sunglo greenhouse foundation

Maybe I’ll stain or paint it, or maybe we’ll do some kind of stone facade.  I’m not sure yet, but of course I will keep you updated.

Thanks for 100 Posts

My readers mean a lot to me.  Some of you have been with me from the start (hi Mom), but if you have just found me, I hope you will continue to visit.

Many bloggers map out their posts months in advance, but I usually just write about what is interesting and share-worthy to me at the moment.   Most times, even I don’t know what is coming next.  So thank you for putting up with that!

For a look at my previous posts, check out my photo gallery.

Want some fresh ideas for your outdoor space?  Visit my new 2016 Summer Style Boards page.

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23 Replies to “Improvements in The Garden”

  1. Congratulations on #100! Your new walkway looks beautiful. We still have snow here so it is wonderful to peruse your garden. Enjoy your day.

    1. Thanks Joan. We haven’t had any snow here for the past couple of years, so I’m kind of missing it. Can you send me some of yours? Thanks for visiting me today!

    1. Thanks Sheila. Nice to hear that since sometimes all I notice is that work that still needs to be done. 😉 Thanks for visiting!

  2. Congratulations on 100 blog-posts, Heidi! I discovered you with Maura & Dan’s dining room remodel and have been enjoying ever since. Looking forward to the next hundred 🙂

    1. Thanks Ann, that dining room remodel is one of my favorite posts. Dan and Maura did such a great job, and I’m still quite envious. Thanks for being a regular visitor to my blog!

  3. Hi, Heidi! Stopping by from “A Morning Cup of Joe” to congratulate you on your work in the garden, I love it!! I wish I had a pretty garden like yours where we could spend time with family together. You did a wonderful job and it is easier now to access all those areas.

    I also would love to invite you share this post with us at our new Sweet Inspiration party, which is live every Friday,

    I hope you have a lovely weekend!


  4. Heidi, your garden looks amazing, wow! I love all the different areas and I bet it’s lots of work, but so enjoyable to spend time in it and relax! Thanks so much for sharing this at Sweet Inspiration! We hope to see you again next week!

  5. Heidi, I love your walkway through your garden. Thank you for sharing your beautiful garden at Vintage Charm and congratulations on your 100th post! Your posts are always so beautifully photographed and informative. sb

  6. Your garden is so gorgeous and I love the new path! We are hosting a wedding here in June and trying to get a garden shed built. I had the lawn removed last year and it sits bear. lol! Wish us luck! Thanks for sharing with SYC. I will be featuring you later today.

    1. Jann, thanks for hosting SYC – and for featuring this post! I’m sure your garden shed will be so cute once you get it finished. How exciting that you are hosting a wedding in your garden. I hope you will share all the charming decor details on your blog!

  7. I just found your blog through Share Your Cup and I am absolutely in love with your garden and your new walkway!!! I am getting so much inspiration from your amazing property and can’t wait to put some of these elements into my country garden! Can’t wait to pop around more – adding your blog to the blog roll on my page so I can keep up. PS – very jealous of the greenhouse! 🙂

    1. Debbie, thanks for all your encouragement, and thanks for coming by to visit. I hope you will return often. I started working on the garden edging for the new walkway today. And I just hopped over to visit your blog – it’s beautiful!

  8. What a stunning backyard!
    It’s not just that it has everything a gardener wants (including an awesome greenhouse), it’s also beautifully outlined.

    Great job. 🙂

    1. I really do enjoy having that little greenhouse. It has really come in handy. Thanks for stopping by to visit, TwoPlusCute!

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