November 2nd, 2005
New Paths in the Garden

photo: pile of stones
The new path arrived on Friday. Some assembly required.

Motivated by the nice weather that we get three weeks out of the year and inspired by my success with the bathroom project, I tackled another long unfinished project.

Years ago, we made two large planters in the front and I put in decomposed granite sand paths between them. But when the path reached the front entry, where there is a sharp drop, I didn’t know what to do and gave up. In the interim, I’ve made half-hearted attempts to move the uneven stones that made up the old path. St. Augustine grass overgrew its boundary covering the holes and creating the potential for a lawsuit by all of those people who can’t read the “No Trespassing No Soliciting” sign and insist on stuffing flyers into our front door jamb. The addition of a wooden sawhorse across the path did not discourage them. And so the situation remained.

A couple of Sundays ago, I cleared out the grass enough for AJM to see the stones. He moved them to the back yard. All of them. Yikes! Now the ball was back in my court. I began by cutting stakes and marking a path with twine. The project was really underway. Next I cut out roots and dug out stones and raked flat a good foundation for a path.

I checked Peter Jeswald’s How to Build Paths, Steps, and Footbridges out of the library and read for inspiration and instruction.

The next Sunday we went to Home Depot and bought metal edging for the paths. I also got some horticultural cloth. I had used some on the sand paths and discovered that it doesn’t do as much to keep the weeds down as I’d hoped (they sprout in the sand above the cloth), but it does keep the path medium separate from the clay beneath which prevents the paths from washing away.

photo: pile of stones
2006-04-09. Texas bluebonnets and cleome demonstrate that gravel is an excellent medium for sprouting seeds. However, they are very easy to pull.

On Thursday I ordered 3 tons of Fairland Pink gravel. Before Custom Stone Supply could deliver it, I had to cut back all the Turk’s cap lining the driveway and move the mailbox.

Ever since I’ve been carting one wheelbarrow load after another to fill the paths. We had a nice rain on Monday, and the paths did very well. They didn’t flood and they didn’t wash away. I’m almost done. I’ll update with photos eventually.

photo: gravel paths
2003-01-08. The front gravel paths. From the date, this must just be the granite sand.

by M Sinclair Stevens

2 Responses to post “New Paths in the Garden”

  1. From bill:

    It’s a good thing you’ve been keeping in shape by going to the gym.

  2. From mstevens:

    I’m lucky to have good peasant stock in my blood. This is one of those mind-numbingly boring jobs that makes me grateful for the iPod, too.