As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, we worked on the front yard, including making a new walkway as well as culling the plant growth considerably. The walkway needed to be widened and the plant growth over the years had grown considerably and truly needed weeded and reworked. This was done in conjunction with the porch remodel by our two sons, so everything was in a state of flux while everything was being accomplished.
While our sons were working on the porch, my wife took on the difficult task of culling the vegetation in the front yard. It had been some years since the last time the front yard had been restructured and, as you can imagine, the plant growth exploded into a dense mass on both sides of the brick walkway that had been laid back in 1997.
The existing brick path was too narrow (see above) so the plan was to widen it as well as coming up with a new design that would be completely different from the existing path which was more or less straight. An outline of the new path was roughly traced out and then my wife went to town on the plants, pulling those no longer wanted, weeding in-between those left, cutting back overgrown plants such as the heather, and replanting a number of plants to different locations within the front yard, including the hostas that were originally planted near the edge of the unfinished porch. One of the surprises was the rediscovery of Bleeding Hearts that had been covered up by the ever conquering heather.
When the old brick path had been built, there wasn’t a lot of plant roots to worry about so the path way was dug in anywhere from four to six inches deep (depending on the size of the “recycled” brick), the bricks laid in and the gaps filled with earth. Digging this path was difficult as the ground where we live is Glacial Moraine…in other words the ground is composed of a heavy rock concentration beneath a very thin layer of top soil – about an inch or so where we live. Getting the path more or less level was probably the hardest part of building the walkway. While the old path served it’s purpose admirably, it was clear that it needed to be rebuilt to be more functional and to have more room to walk on or, even more importantly, to be able to use the wheelbarrow without running into plants or going off the path.
So, with this in mind, the new path was laid in with a completely new design and a new approach on how it would be installed as our biggest concern was not to damage the roots that had built over the years. We pulled the old bricks out, gathered stones and recycled cement from various parts of the yard and began laying out the design. The front access was widened considerable to ensure a stable entrance point and then the design, an elongated figure-8 deign, was laid in. Minimal digging was done to protect the roots which left the bricks, stores, and recycled cement someone difficult to walk on without feeling the material move under your feet. To solidify the walk, we poured playground sand between and around the edges of all the stones and then mixed in quick set cement on the top of the sand, watered the walkway and let it set overnight before being walked on. This (cement/sand) technique allowed the path to firm up, easy to walk on and is quite attractive.
Walking on the new path is wonderful and looking at the renewed garden while walking in the front yard is a true pleasure.
Tomorrow – a day at the Seymour Conservatory, Tacoma, Washington