The Garden Wall

IMG_1604 (1024x1024)I just wrote about unearthing a bunch of stones in our backyard and creating a pathway (above) and repairing the wall around our maple tree with the new stones.

My next project was fixing our garden wall, parts of which were non-existent, mainly because the stones were buried so far underground. In the above “before” picture, you can see where the wall starts to disappear near the base of our Rose of Sharon.

IMG_1611 (768x1024)First I tackled the section of wall inside our backyard. You can see that the ivy and pachysandra have pretty much taken over.

IMG_1610 (819x1024)Mid-way through.

IMG_1646 (768x1024)And here’s the finished wall with Sam inspecting the new area.

Side note: Sam is always with me when I’m planting or working outside. I love working alone because I can get into my zen space, but I do really enjoy having him out there with me. He’s very curious about the worms. He’ll poke his nose to them and then jump back when they move.

IMG_1659 (768x1024)With that section finished, I needed to now conquer the section of wall beyond our back gate. What does one call that, our side yard? (Sometimes our three-year-old hangs out with me in the yard, too, for short amounts of time, digging or watering plants.)

IMG_1663 (768x1024)A view of the section from the opposite side.

I wasn’t 100% sure where our property line was, but I was 99% sure it was either right at the wooden gate or inches after it.

However, I went ahead and emailed the neighbors, just in case to give them a heads up, since the wall extends all the way to the sidewalk (after the wooden fence ends), so essentially there is a part of the wall that we share. They appeared skeptical at first, but once I fully explained the project, I was offered help and also a wheelbarrow.

IMG_1678 (768x1024)Figuring out where to put what stone was the hardest part. I worked section by section instead of layer by layer, because it just seemed like the easiest way. At least for my brain. The worst parts were having to fix multiple layers (the stones are so heavy!) in order to get the top layer just right.

IMG_1731 (768x1024)Here’s the finished wall – woohoo!IMG_1729 (755x1024)From the backyard.IMG_1732 (768x1024)And from the front yard (here’s the section of wall we share with the neighbors).

As I was collecting dirt (to fill in parts of the wall) from another section of the yard, my shovel made the unmistakable “clunk” of hitting stone. I quickly covered it up and walked away.

Digging in the Dirt

IMG_1676 (1024x1024)So, you know I’ve been spending a ton of time in the garden lately. I forget what in the world I was doing in our azalea/rhododendron flower bed (probably weeding), when I moved one of our decorative stones and heard a “clunk.”

Underneath was another stone. I covered it back up. But I couldn’t stop thinking about that buried stone. The fact that it was there, under the dirt, probably meant there were others. And if there were others, that meant only one thing: new garden project.

IMG_1591 (768x1024)I couldn’t help myself and a few days later I investigated. There was another stone. And another and another. Over the next couple of days, I dug up about 30 stones.

I’m not the strongest person and it was definitely a workout. I woke up in the morning with muscle aches all over, but I kind of love that feeling (which I haven’t felt since I took kickboxing before my wedding).

IMG_1589 (768x1024)So now what? After unearthing all the stones, I let them sit for a day or two and thought about what I wanted to do with them. The most obvious solution was to make a border around our maple, as that’s where most of them were found, presumably a border had been there years ago.

IMG_1602 (768x1024)Ta-da! Figuring out which stones to put where was like a puzzle and took quite a long time. I think it adds just enough polish to that area without taking away from the plants. I love natural materials in gardens

(Side note: speaking of gardens, I never used to say “garden.” I’d say back yard or front yard or just… yard. Here, everyone says “garden.” At first I thought it was a throwback to the Motherland (people are quirky here, who knows), but now I think it’s because people actually garden in their outdoor spaces. I really only started to call it my garden once I started garden-ing so that makes sense.)

IMG_1605 (1024x1024)I also used some of the found stones to repair the outer wall around the maple. It was dilapidated, falling in places and missing stones in others.

Of course once I was almost finished creating the two-stone-high section of wall, my husband came out and asked if I was going to make it three levels, “to match the other part of the wall.” Oh my gosh. Instead of going back and redoing everything, I tapered the wall down from three levels, to two and then one (near the boxwood). Perfect (okay, not really perfect. But I can’t go back).

IMG_1604 (1024x1024)I also widened and repaired, I guess is the right word, our back stone walkway. I wish I had a “before” pic because this one is a huge difference. The only stones that were there before I started were the slate one. You can kind of see they are darker and flatter than the others.

There used to be narrow pathway of slate (the path was made up of one line of six stones and some were broken and/or missing). More puzzle pieces. I moved some of the slate pieces so that they would flow better with the new stones (although technically the stones I unearthed are probably much older than the slate. anyhoo).

IMG_1603 (1024x1024)Finally I added a few decorative garden stones (the frog and three circles) that the previous owners left behind. I used to think they were ugly and/or dumb, but I love them here.

I love that yard work is never over. I hate weeding and the bugs (the bugs! three worms per every stone unturned!) and I also hate when you are trimming the hawthorn tree and a large branch with multiple thorns (they are huge) falls on your head. But it also means that I’ll never run out of things to do or get bored.

Case in point: after I stood back and admired my creation, I glanced over to the garden wall just beyond the bath. It was crooked, falling and sections were missing stones. I couldn’t look away. Next up: operation garden wall.