The gravel/rock area is nearly complete!

At least all of the rock hauling is done. We’re waiting for some clearer weather to stain the deck before placing pavers up against it and scooting the gravel all the way to the edge. I have a few before/after pictures, but I must admit that it doesn’t look very impressive. The initial goals were to; a) get rid of the awkward spot between the two decks that was full of weeds, old cement blocks, and crappy looking bark mulch, b) do SOMETHING with the grass on the north side of the large deck that was full of moss and far from thriving, and c)put in some hardscaping as well as keep bark off the deck and therefore out of the house. The before/after comparison photos were taken about 14 months apart, so weather conditions were significantly different, and the grass was actually alive in the before photos. The lawn should green up and look quite a bit nicer in a couple months.

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Wrapping around the large, main deck is a flower bed. This will allow me to put in the shade garden that I’ve been dying for, and give the strawberries more room to stretch their legs. It also reduces the amount of lawn that I have left. Less area to mow, fertilize, and water as much.

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I carried the gravel theme up the side of the deck as well, Boris brings in a lot of bark from this side of the deck and I’m sick of vacuuming it out of the carpet. BTW, I built a freaking step! Pretty rad!

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This gives me a nice place to put a couple potted plants and eventually a small raised bed (edged with rocks of course!) for salad greens and some pretty edible annuals like pansies.

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I edged the whole rock area with some limestone pavers sunk down to the height of the lawn so that the lawnmower wheels can run over the top of them and there’s no weed whacking to get around the edges of the beds. I learned my lesson with the previous incantation of this bed. As you can see, the bed isn’t full yet. After spending $800 on rocks this weekend, I’m going to try my hand at lasagna gardening (putting down layers of various compostable material and letting it break down over the winter). The first layer is the upside-down strip of grass that I dug out to lay the limestone pavers.

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I also put in another mini-bed on the other corner of the deck to soften the corner of it. I’ll plant something like Rosemary and then some nice smelling annuals or herbs or something colorful. The gravel area to the right of it (where the wheelbarrows are) will eventually have lavender planted there.The “wall” on that deck will hopefully get ripped down this year. I’ll replace it with some railing and trellis to match the other deck and grow a fragrant vine like honeysuckle up it. When we open the door to the bedroom we’ll smell it blooming. YUMMY!

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The final element is the fire pit. I dug it out and lined it with flatish stones. It should let me use my camping dutch oven to cook stuff like delicious pork butt among other things, plus it’ll be a nice feature for a family when we eventually sell the house. Kids love s’mores. Hell, I love s’mores! Who am I kidding? Now where did my marshmallow sticks go?

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