My spring project this year was Curb Appeal.Â I guess the “architects” of 70s houses assumed we would actually use our garages for our cars instead of a shop/detritus storage. Â So they didn’t bother widening the driveway enough for two vehicles and a person. Â Consequently, the strip of yard next to the driveway was always trodden into a dusty grassless path to the door. Â About 6 years ago I dug down and laid out flagstone in an attempt to pretty up the eyesore. Â Of course, I didn’t know what I didn’t know and did it wrong. Â Without sand or graniteÂ underneath, the stones became uneven. Â And instead of grass growing daintily in the cracks, (my Yankee pastÂ showing again) the giant Saint Augustine almost immediately covered the whole area. Â (Don’t ask me why it grows over stone and not dirt.)
Add to that the problem created byÂ the “architects” who, in their infinite wisdom, madeÂ a dip in the driveway and then installed a downspout leading to that area. Â So any time there is a gully washer (which is almost every time it actually rains in Texas) a giant pool forms blocking our path to the cars.
This never bothered Violet.
So out it all came. Â I dug down a foot or more in a wonky triangle from the front door to the sidewalk. Â I did it the correct way (this time) and put down landscape cloth at the bottom of the trench.
I suppose I could calculate the amount of earth I moved with my orange shovel and once-wimpy muscles, but it’s easier to show you. Â Please note the pile of rocks unearthed from the last (failed) attempt to landscape.The Bagster is a clever company that sells dumpster bags for $25 at home improvement stores and then picks them up when you fill them with rubbish for a fee about equal to what you would payÂ that creepy guy with a truck from Craiglist. Â So I was pretty excited to fill up my Bagster with a ton of dirt… until I read the (very) small print which informed me the bag may only be 1/4 full of soil. Â Because it’s heavy.
So I ended up hiring a less creepy guy with a truck at the rock supply store to dig the dirt out of the Bagster haul it away.
Said rock supply store delivered a pile of gravel and a palate of flagstone. Â And then I literally toiled, breaking and shoveling rocks, for days and days. Â I closed my eyes and saw flagstone puzzles floatingÂ on my eyelids. Â The neighbors learned to ignoreÂ the crouching cursing lady muttering in the driveway, trying to fit edges together.
Some of you landscaping geeksÂ will beÂ wonderingÂ why I chose gravel instead of sand and crushed granite. Â Well, it was my drainage experiment. Â The granite compacts so much that the water doesn’t soak in quickly. Â I thought gravel wouldn’t have that problem.Â In fact, I dug down about 2 feet around the area near the downspout and backfilled with gravel and river rock, hoping for even more air pockets and space for water.
It seems to work quite well. Â It takes a good hour of torrential rain before a little puddle even thinks about forming. Â And even then it disappears quickly. Â Plus it looks nice, right? Â The neighbors like us again. Â I still dream of flagstone, though.
Stay tuned to find out what I did with the old buried rocks.