One of the fun things about building a house is that you have a lot of random materials left over when its done. Some people just like to get rid of it, but I’m the type that likes to use it! We had a very large pile of rocks left over from the exterior siding. We didn’t want to do anything too permanent with them, should we need to replace a few someday, so we decided to make our front walkway out of them. The stones are pretty uneven, and are vaguely the same thickness. So instead of striving for a picture perfect stone walkway, we went for a smooth-enough rustic look.
We started by outlining the general shape we wanted, then used our trailer to gather them up and move them to the house. I let Jacob handle all the big ones, since my ob would be pretty pissed at me for lifting too much. So I set the edges and small filler rocks. We didn’t dig any down into place as the dirt was still very level from the build, and was packed down. That saved us quite a few steps! Once we were satisfied with the shape and evenness, it was time for sand.
Somehow my dad has a very large pile of crushed red granite, so we were able to use two Bobcat-bucket-full of sand to fill the gaps and edges. We simply used a shovel and placed the sand in the cracks, then used a push broom to settle it down into place. After the first coat we wet it all down, let it dry, then repeated with another layer of granite. Another wetting, then lots and lots of pushing the gravel out of the low spots in the rocks when it dried. I “swept” that path for at least two hours! But I’m happy with the way it turned out.
The gravel dried nice and hard and is doing a great job keeping the rocks in place. You can see that a lot of the low spots of rock got covered up, but I prefer a more even walkway to a prettier, trippier path! Like I said, we’re keeping it rustic. I’m going to add some sort of edging to keep things in place over time so the entire thing doesn’t crumble into a scrabbly pile of rubble. But for now, it’s a great little path!
Now that we have our path in, we can focus on the actual lawn portion. To the right of the path by the garage I’d like to plant some sort of ground cover. This area stays relatively shady and damp, and frankly I’m not big on grass anyway. I’m researching some good native ground covers and bushes. I’d really love to do some hydrangeas, but I’m not sure how they’d fare. For the left side, we’ll probably go with sod. Hubby is really wanting something to mow, for strange reasons. Oh, and if you sneak a peek into the right corner of the house you’ll see that we have another (almost complete) update, gutters! And rain barrels! And to the left you can see my zucchini just starting to peek out in the galvanized planter. I still need to even those up so they don’t look so sloppy. Once we have greenery and more plants, I think this yard will really be something nice.
Oh, and did I mention the path was 100% free? Yup, that’s the beauty of re-use! And having a family full of hoarders. Who also have large machinery and trailers for stashing loads of crushed granite gravel 😉 Do you have any favorite ground covers and shrubs? Any suggestions for this newbie gardener?