What joy in the completion of a long-delayed project! I’m not speaking of the narrow side garden itself, which is quickly filling in under the blazing sun’s heat, but the gravel-and-timber pathway that leads you through the sloping garden.
I rarely pass up a chance to show before-and-after pictures, finding them inspiring myself. So here’s a before of a typical side-yard lawn, looking up-slope from the back yard toward the front. We’d already installed a new fence at this point, pushing the gate forward about 25 feet and therefore extending the deer-proof back garden. I had sprayed out the lines of a pathway through the space and just started digging out new beds on either side of the path.
Eight months later the new garden is growing, and it’s time (way past, actually) for the path to go in. This time I hired out the grass removal, making sure they left the edging stones I’d hauled over from the surplus at Austin Memorial Cemetery (free for the taking). I tried out a 6×6 treated timber post for size up by the gate but realized it was too tall for my intended sloping steps.
I ended up using 4×4 treated posts, which I cut to fit with a circular saw. I drilled a half-inch hole near the ends of each cut post and pounded in an 18-inch length of three-eighth-inch rebar to secure the posts to the ground.
A trip to Whittlesey Landscape Supplies enabled me to pick out a washed pea gravel in buff shades (not glaring white), and I found a landscaper there who was willing to handle the small job (for him, not me!) of picking up and delivering one and a half cubic yards of pea gravel, shoveling it in a wheelbarrow, rolling it 50 feet downhill, and spreading it in the spaces between the treated posts.
And here’s the same sequence of before-and-afters, looking down-slope: Pathway defined and new beds being dug out. That purple-leaf acacia tree, by the way, didn’t survive our hard freezes last winter, and I’ve replaced it with an Anacacho orchid tree.
After: The grassy path has been dug out, and treated timbers are secured to the ground approximately 6 feet apart.
Done! Several inches of pea gravel have filled in the “steps” and given the path a neat, finished appearance. This path is not heavily used, but I am curious to see how the gravel holds up along the slope after some foot traffic. Update Spring 2012: The pea gravel “traveled” too much on this path, so I switched it out with crushed limestone gravel, which packs together and makes a firmer surface.
On a separate subject, a regular reader has told me that she’s been having trouble leaving a comment on my site for some time. I have had no other indication of trouble with my comment field, so I’d appreciate it if anyone else who’s been having difficulty could let me know what’s happening. Thanks!
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