Sunday, April 1, 2012

Garden Progress: Stone Wall

Despite threatening gray skies, my son Grant worked all Saturday afternoon. Let's take a look at our "before." Remember this?

The mother of all "before" pictures.
While we haven't cleaned up the pavement yet and we can't officially call it an "after," here is the "progress:"

It's such a relief to my eyes to get the broken concrete out of sight. Of course it helps that things have greened up in the last few weeks with all our ultra-warm March weather. Grant did the work. I was so proud.

What's difficult to see in this photo is that demolishing the concrete rubble wall and clearing it gave us an entire extra foot of driveway; it was that overgrown and falling over. At the top of the wall, we have back-filled in with existing plants we saved, lily of the valley and creeping sedum. We also added some ground cover phlox or "sweet william," whichever you call it in your neck o' the woods, and something called Veronica "Waterperry Blue." It reminds me of a tiny blue flower that used to grow as a weed in the grass when I was a little girl growing up in Missouri. Yes, I bought a plant because it made me homesick for being five years old and playing in the dirt. Take a look:

Such wee blue pretties!
The sedum, phlox and veronica will (I hope) cascade over the stone and provide a nice living wall to shore up the yard near the driveway.

To be completely truthful, we didn't manage to get rid of ALL the concrete. Some of the larger pieces got recycled into a clever stair that Grant built into the retaining wall near the steps to the deck. You can see it here:

Like making mud pies. Just add really big rocks.
While I'm still not crazy about the concrete, we were trying to stick to a low budget for this wall reconstruction, and the materials to build the stair, like slate slab, were just more than I wanted to spend right now. I hope that once the creeping and tumbling plants fill in, it will be less noticeable. I've also flirted with the idea of concrete-staining the pieces a tone that would match the tan/brown of the retaining stones.

Here's a view in the opposite direction. Grant had to wrestle with that weird raggedly uneven lip of the driveway edge. I think he did an amazingly good job keeping it level and true:

The planters were from my Mom's garage. She wasn't using them anymore, and said I could have them. They don't have anything in them yet, but aren't the bleeding heart and Hosta making that corner pretty?

"Just jump in the pot. That's a good girl. Jump in! Just jump in the pot...."
In the interest of honesty, there's still a lot of ugly going on around this yard:

Ye bloody sod.
But we hope the wall is an advancing front of beautiful. I even found another flower in among the daffies today. Does anyone know what these are?

Though we're far from done with the hard-scaping, the worst of it is done. Now we can sort out what gets planted in the rest of this gigantic bed. Stay tuned for more progress on future weekends!


  1. This is looking much better; great job! I think those blue flowers " are Grecian Windflowers" or anemones. They're a small bulb planted in the fall, and come up every year. Yours look happy. Any ideas yet what you'll plant in those great pots?

    1. I haven't made up my mind yet. I usually go to the garden store and wander around. It's always a surprise what I come up with. I've been known to throw houseplants and perennials into the mix with the annuals. But it will need to wait. We're four weeks ahead of the normal season, and most stores don't have their shipments of annuals yet.

    2. Oh and thanks! I think it looks much better too! I'm hoping for another bit of improvement after I'm done filling up about a jillion yard waste bags! :)

  2. Grant did an awesome job ~ it looks SO much better! Love your flowers, too. :)

    1. That is the up side to being a new home owner. The pleasant garden surprises in spring!

  3. Looks lots better! Grant did a really good job. Maybe I can help you a bit when I'm there in May.

    1. I think it's going to be a busy weekend: thrift shop!garden!margaritas! A heavy schedule of awesome!