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.
The little walkway ambled behind a large circular planting area and led into our back patio.
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.
Same story with the new greenhouse.
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.
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.
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.
Then the grass was removed and a gravel bed was poured as a foundation.
Sand was poured over the gravel. Then it was leveled and compacted.
We also took this opportunity to do something about the tool shed. It had begun to settle and was sinking on one side.
So the shed was lifted, put up on rollers, and then set back down onto a better foundation.
Then the huge stone slabs arrived.
They were cut and set into place.
Carlos did a terrific job of cutting the stones.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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