We've been working hard the last couple of days and we're ready to plant the yard! Hooray! There were several small tasks we had to complete along the way, but now the front yard is ready to make friends with lots of lovely plants :)
Over the weekend Chris had finished laying the border and gravel for the walkway
And then I pulled out our stepping stones and laid them in for placement. Once I'd walked over them a couple times to test out their distance away from each other based on the lengths of steps we take and thought I found a good distance, we cemented them in place so there's no wobbling when you walk across them
Isn't it purrrrdy? :) I love our stepping stones. Wendy found them and they're super cool!
They're natural stone and very flat so there's no tripping. They're also a bit rough which is good for traction when it rains. And they've got awesome color and some nice metallic flecks in them
They cost $0.23 per pound and are around 40 pounds each, so they clock in around $10 bucks a stone.
We had leftover gravel from our walkway so Chris decided to weed the area where our rain barrel will go and throw in some gravel to both build the barrel up (we want its overflow valve above the wall) and provide good drainage
While Chris worked on that I tamed the dirt in our yard (if you remember the dirt all over the place...)
On the far right of the yard in our raised bed Wendy had the idea of building a mound of dirt to provide a little height difference to spruce things up a bit so our yard wasn't just a sea of flatness. I moved the dirt around by building a berm and then flattened out the rest of the dirt in the raised bed so it was all level
Chris and I both finished around the same time so we moved on to taming the dirt on the left side of the yard
First we had to figure out a way to dispose of all these stepping stones that used to be in the yard
We'll reuse 11 square ones (not pictured) in the sidewalk strip so that we don't step all over the plants we'll put there when we get in and out of our cars. And another 3 of the longer ones will be used on the far right of our yard along our neighbors driveway so she has a nice area to step out onto as well (and we'll spruce them up a bit because they're really ugly right now). But the rest got busted up into small pieces and we'll get rid of them.
Because the right side has a nice raised bed we wanted to give the left side a little pop of fun as well so Wendy thought it would be a good idea to build a nice crescent shape raised bed with small boulders/large rocks...
...and then back fill it with dirt and plant a tree in it (Wendy comes up with lots of good ideas). We rolled out our weed block first. We decided to go with rolls of landscape cardboard because Chris sees it used on the Cal campus a lot and says it appears to do a good job. And when we were at the Urban Farmer they said it worked really well and actually made the soil really rich and healthy. Win win
Once these two layers of weed block were rolled out I traced the shape of our crescent with stripping paint and we laid out the rocks
We built it two stones high and mortared in the top row to make sure it was nice and strong
I really liked the shape and I think it gives this side of the yard some nice interest so the right side's raised bed and berm isn't the only star of the show.
When we were done building the crescent we back filled it, took the rest of the dirt and dumped it onto the curb just to get it out of our way and posted FREE DIRT on craigslist in the hopes of some takers (someone has already taken 1/2 of it, woo-hoo!) Then started rolling out the rest of the weed block
And now our yard is ready for planting!
The berm will be home to a beautiful dwarf Japanese Maple my grandpa and his wife gifted us
And the crescent shaped raised bed will welcome a Coral Bark Maple
And I may or may not be getting ready to drive up to Fairfield this morning to meet Wendy and bring home our first set of plants to plant. Maybe. :)