Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The (almost free) Garden Path

Sometimes things bug me to such an extent that I jump into a project with a force that neither lack of funds nor lack of experience will prevent. That was the case with my garden path.
The troubling issue was my unlovely, arrow-straight sidewalk that spans the distance from the driveway to the front porch steps. It seemed that no amount of plantings, and there were many, would soften the edges. And, if that were not enough, there was actually a "view" just beyond the abrupt end of the sidewalk. We have a lovely Cypress pond visible only a few feet from where the sidewalk ended.I wished for a concrete extension but couldn't afford it, which turned out to be a good thing. Behind the garage a pile of left-over bricks had been ignored for some 20 years. Discovering them when we bought the house had been one of my great excitements but I had not come up with an idea for their use...not until the thought of extending the sidewalk. There weren't enough for a solid brick walk but certainly enough for an edging so I set about step one with no idea at all what step two might be.Having carefully laid an outline, I couldn't bring myself to take the bricks up again in order to set them properly in mortar. Instead, I came up with the idea of troweling a trench on either side of the bricks, pouring in dry concrete mix and watering it in with the garden hose. After three years, it seems to have worked wonderfully well.Leveling the path as I went, unfortunately, raised it above ground level at the end. Fortunately, the old concrete picnic table, left to us by the previous owners, sat upon pedestals that had crumbled almost to dust leaving me with two usable benches but no table. The bench tops made perfect steps at the end of the path. The bench bases were fitted with wooden tops so seating was salvaged and the path came to a suitable conclusion.The only actual money spent on the path was for two bags of concrete and several buckets of pea gravel...less than $40 total. I had compacted the sand below the path and watered sand into the gravel, making it firm and reasonably solid under foot.And as long as I was in the yard with the shovel, and not wanting the new path to wash away, I thought to dig a "dry creek bed" to channel the hard rains that gush from the porch roof valley. That required another $15 in gravel. I chose a different and cheaper type.OK, so then I got carried away. The question was how and where to stop the gray gravel of the creek bed when it reached the lawn. Well, the previous owners had circled a Dogwood tree with four of those scalloped, concrete, 1/4 circle edgings. Since scallops are not my cup of tea, I had removed them and didn't one of them call out to me to become a little bridge? Used as support and topped with bricks, it gave a reasonable stopping point to the creek bed.The remaining bricks formed a somewhat whimsical broken wall allowing me to define the line between the front yard and the expanse to the pond.
Thoroughly carried away with the project by this time, I cleared an area in which I intended to plant lush, tropical vegetation, completely forgetting that I had no money for such frivolity.
Believe it or not, Yard Sale plants, cuttings from around my yard and end-of-season sales have filled the space and my country home in the woods is feeling more like Florida every day.
Which brings me to today's project...not that something bugs me so much as it is calling to me...a little something that could be done and therefore must be done. Here's a hint: Goodbye little brick broken wall. Goodbye little brick pillar...and Oh, how I wish for spring! I'll keep you posted.


Cindy said...

Well... how long are you gonna leave us hangin? You KNOW curiosity kills me!!! You're killing me, really. I gotta know! :-) Love ya!

Cindy said...

So...... when are we going to get "revealed"??? Waiting much too long... can't take it! Or maybe I'll have to peak next weekend!!! :-)