Friday, July 10, 2009

Project: Garden Path

You may recall that our garden was smack-dab in the middle of a bare patch of clay. As long as I kept it weeded, it didn't look BAD, but it looked far from GOOD. And weeding constantly was not my favorite.

Obvioiusly this photo is a few months old, given the size of plants.

So, we decided on creating a non-grass path around the garden. Our first thought was laying stone, whether it be pavers or a collection of stepping stones with coconut or creeping thyme planted between or around the edges. This would be the most charming option, I think. However, it would also be the most labor intensive (ground would need to be leveled and then a multi-step process would ensue) and expensive as I was a big fan of some of the most expensive stone in the quarry.

Our second, and cheaper/easier, thought was to do a gravel path. We found some nice blue stone gravel quite cheap. Eventually we could add stepping stones in the gravel, we thought, and we could still plant thyme or other ground cover against the raised beds to soften the look a little bit. We were quite excited about this idea until....

Until I remembered the hell that is raking leaves. We've got 2 trees in the back yard & our neighbors both have trees in the front & back yards. For a small yard, we get bags & bags of leaves in the fall. And then in the spring, we get the remnants of their flowering tree. Dealing with leaves & flower parts on gravel (without a blower) was not something we were thrilled with. Sadness then set in as we thought we were doomed with an ugly, weedy clay path.


Mulch. Here in Arlington, mulch is free if you collect it from the county (I believe Fairfax County as a similar deal if you live there). We'd get some edging to help contain the mulch and use newspaper & cardboard boxes as weed block. The project would be cheap! And easy! Hurray!

So, first we put in the black edging. Next, we laid down several layers of newspaper/brown bags/cardboard:

Then, we dumped on the mulch & spread it all out:

Total cost? About $20.

I think it looks better. And in fall, we'll probably leave many of the leaves in the garden area, so raking won't be an issue. Eventually we will probably do something with stones. Especially since we plan to add stepping stones leading up to the garden as the grass is getting quite worn along that way. But for now? This was a great compromise of labor & price. As an added bonus, we recycled & reused!

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