Monday, August 13, 2012

Joyful Pathways

I got busy after a weekend of biking around Koocanusa Reservoir in Le Tour de Koocanusa (I highly recommend it for anyone who likes a well-organized, fun, and casual bike tour). So starting around noon on Sunday, I finished up this path in my fenced yard and got a feel for how all the hard work would pan out. I didn't opt for a super tight fit so I could use as many large pieces as possible - they're more stable and wiggle less over time. I'm going to stick with the pea gravel between pavers for now, but I expect it to settle some and not end up all over the stones constantly. Otherwise, a switch to sand alone (which is under the pea gravel) will be in order.

Laying the foundation. Thanks to my parents for digging the trench and filling it with gravel!

More progress...

Final product! It was all fairly easy to level, we'll see how it fairs over the seasons.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Hardscape Harvest!

Summer busy-ness tends to go from average/high to maddening right about two weeks ago...through September or so. However, big things can happen on occasion in my not-so-little landscaping world. Thanks to my amazing parents and a generous co-worker for the use of his awesome hydraulic lift trailer, one big push was made a few weeks ago in the collection of my urbanite path materials.

First, the base layer of 3/4" crush. Dumps like a truck!

Still dumping.

Next the sand...

Don't forget the pea gravel!

Oh yeah, the heavy stuff. This was the only local contractor willing to let us raid his scrap concrete pile.

Yep, still heavy.

I wish it would load itself. I really do.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

New additions and subtractions

Some things come, some things go. This month has brought some lovely donated native plants, courtesy of David and Marilyn (check out their fabulous blog) - bountiful in both their generosity of advice and now plants. Another addition has been automated drip irrigation, which my new plants need in their first year of life. Since I'm an inconsistent waterer at best, this has been AWESOME. Not complete, but on its way. Finally, much dirt and gravel has been excavated, moved around, and re-purposed as my evolving design takes shape...

A clematis and wood's rose greet visitors as they enter...this will be an urbanite path leading to the hidden garage on the right. So excited to dig some more.

All the pretty blue flax, separated out into their own containers - thanks David and Marilyn! 
 My clematis seem much happier in their second year of life. Flowering time is just around the corner...
Plants are adjusting to their new homes...snowberry, potentilla, yarrow, lupine, and sticky geranium are thriving here!

Happy mound of natives, mixed with some remnants I chose not to pull out during construction. I hope to add a nice big serviceberry to that corner.

Rock art, surrounded by sticky geranium, bee balm, kinnickinick (hiding in the back) and phlox

The street view - such potential, grow plants grow!

North side view. Snowberry, some wild lily of the valley, currant, and more snowberry. Great shade habitat.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Buried Treasures

Though some may find little value in my newly unearthed anthropological discoveries, I am piqued enough to dig on. Fortunately I have no choice if I ever want to complete this landscaping project.


So, here we have a sub-sample of my finds, including a perfectly useable spoon and a piece of rebar that was vertically embedded. I have also found many marbles in all corners of the property, surely with some historic significance. Of course, broken glass and nails are not uncommonly encountered. Still haven't found a horseshoe...I did find a railroad spike when building the fence last year, though!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

With Progress Comes Challenges...

This seemed like a great spot for one of my new snowberries (Symphoricarpos albus), yet upon further inspection it appears to have some prior tenants...

Yes, that big thing at the top of the hole is a root. One of many, but too girthy for my poor, inadequate hatchet. Incidentally, I dug around monster root out of spite and filled with water in anticipation of planting. The hole took hours to drain. You're going to love it here, snowberry!

Which one of you is responsible for monster root? Like I even need to ask.

Moving on to other fun challenges...A seemingly innocuous scene before you, no? This is where the front sidewalk meets the walkway to my house. I did a little planting here this weekend (yay!), complete with blanketflower (Gaillardia aristata), lupine (Lupinus spp.), kinnickinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi), and sticky geranium (Geranium viscosissimum).

 And a little wood's rose (Rosa woodsii). But what happened to the tips of this poor plant?

Oh, no you di-ehn't, deer. This means war. I thought lupine was deer-resistant! Yes, "resistant" doesn't mean "proof". I'm still not impressed.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Making Progress

My response to questions regarding the state of this landscaping endeavor, and home ownership in general, is both concise yet profound. Simply stated, I'm "making progress". I guess that could be a life statement as well, but I probably shouldn't assume too much.

Added some edging along the fence. This is a loooong fence.

Laid down newspaper, then weed fabric, then dirt against the house for grade control, THEN mulch!

Spreading the mulch was kind of fun - instant gratification.

Same thing along the north side.

Speaking of gratification, my raised bed thrives under my new homemade hoop house! We've got chives, oregano, radish, spinach, green onion, bell peppers, tomato, cucumber, peas, carrots...and basil.

The blueberries seem happy in their first year...maybe its the companionship of my fake rock rain barrel.


Clematis! Can't wait til the blooms. I swear they're growing inches every day.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Landscaping gone wild!

Here I catalog the epic adventure that is my 2012 landscaping project. It began with the rental of a sod cutter in late April, and continues on as you see before you. Let the transformation begin!

Less grass = less gas. Except, I suppose, for the gas used in the sod cutter. This day was spent wrestling with said sod cutter, but we eventually made peace and I harnessed its power to do what you see before you...

I wish I had footage of myself operating the beastly machine that did this. I cannot understate its brutishness.

For some reason this picture really seems to scare people...

Hovering over the soon-to-be home of my new apple tree, black hawthorn, I mean chokecherry.


All gone!