Island Time Kayaking

Casey’s view of the world

Rose Garden Paving


This is a project long in the making.  We finally started it a few weeks ago, but then we were delayed with weather, sickness, and the untimely delivery of our stones.

First thing was to tear up the "sod".  The rose garden used to be just a side lawn that wrapped around the house, then we made it shorter by extending our living space, and also fenced it off, and added more roses to be more officially designated as a rose garden.  The grass died every year in this area, was beautiful and lush until about mid-June when it would be toasted to a crispy critter by the afternoon sun bouncing off the house.  Not the optimal plan, and it was not that appealing to hang out in because it was so brown.  So we decided to tear out the grass and lay cobblestone pavers.

I was sick with bronchitis and a sinus infection so Nathan went out with our garden tiller and began removing the sod.  This area never had a problem with drainage as other areas in our yard does and we quickly found out why.  Under the sod was a thin layer of top soil and then gravel.  That might have some reason as to why the grass died every year, the soil couldn’t have held that much nutrient, there wasn’t that much soil.    This was a dusty dirty job.  It took about two days with several breaks and only working in the morning and evenings when the sun wasn’t blazing down.

Then came a general leveling.  Not a true leveling as we didn’t want to excavate the gravel that was there or bring in more gravel and have the pavers be any higher.  Next we made a frame out of 2x4s and leveled that from the highest point.  We did dig that point out a bit as we discovered it was higher than we anticipated to the lowest point.  This probably was the most important part., if the frame wasn’t level the sand wouldn’t be level and then the pavers wouldn’t be level.  After it was level enough (we didn’t want it absolutely level, we wanted it to slope generally away from the house), the sand hauling began.  Nathan would load the wheelbarrow with sand that was delivered near the carport and haul it around and up a ramp into the frame and dump it.  I would then rake it out and try and eyeball level it.

After we thought it was generally full enough and level we used a level and a scree to level it based on the top of the frame.  Basically it was an 8ft 2×4 with a thumb on one end that rested on the top of the frame, the other end had the level attached to it.  Then Nathan and I would on our hands and knees comb the sand trying to level it.  We filled in low spots and took down high spots until we had it level.  With tampers we tamped it down to help insure it didn’t shift too much as we started the next step, laying the pavers.

We chose a pattern that has three sized stones and looks more like a random pattern, but is an actual pattern.  The hardest part has been carrying all the stones from the parking lot around the house to the garden.  The actual paving went faster than we hoped and looks wonderful.  We are now all done except one last corner where the gate at the front of the house is.  We are making two steps from the rose garden level to the main yard level so we didn’t lay those last stones as we will be extending out and doing the steps too.  Oh and the heat.  We were hauling those stones around with record temperatures.  We moved quickly in the morning and could work until nearly noon when the sun would come around the corner of the house, and then in the evenings from about 7pm until 8:30pm or so depending on Lauren’s mood.  The day we got the most paving done we reached highs of 104, it was not cool by any stretch of the imagination.

Our plans for the space evolve and change every time we are out there.  It is such a nice space.  After our next wedding we hope to do the walls out of the reddish brown bricks we already have and then to find a nice cap to top the wall.

posted under Garden, Personal

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