My spring project this year was Curb Appeal. I guess the “architects” of 70s houses assumed we would actually use our garages for our cars instead of a shop/detritus storage. So they didn’t bother widening the driveway enough for two vehicles and a person. Consequently, the strip of yard next to the driveway was always trodden into a dusty grassless path to the door. About 6 years ago I dug down and laid out flagstone in an attempt to pretty up the eyesore. Of course, I didn’t know what I didn’t know and did it wrong. Without sand or granite underneath, the stones became uneven. And instead of grass growing daintily in the cracks, (my Yankee past showing again) the giant Saint Augustine almost immediately covered the whole area. (Don’t ask me why it grows over stone and not dirt.)
Add to that the problem created by the “architects” who, in their infinite wisdom, made a dip in the driveway and then installed a downspout leading to that area. 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.
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. 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 pay that creepy guy with a truck from Craiglist. 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. 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. And then I literally toiled, breaking and shoveling rocks, for days and days. I closed my eyes and saw flagstone puzzles floating on my eyelids. The neighbors learned to ignore the crouching cursing lady muttering in the driveway, trying to fit edges together.
Some of you landscaping geeks will be wondering why I chose gravel instead of sand and crushed granite. Well, it was my drainage experiment. The granite compacts so much that the water doesn’t soak in quickly. I thought gravel wouldn’t have that problem. 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. It takes a good hour of torrential rain before a little puddle even thinks about forming. And even then it disappears quickly. Plus it looks nice, right? The neighbors like us again. I still dream of flagstone, though.
Stay tuned to find out what I did with the old buried rocks.