Building a Paving Stone Pathway

Several years ago I built a patio using paving stones. I intended to complete the patio by adding a sidewalk that would bring the paved surface area all the way around to the garage and driveway. This weekend I finally made major progress on this neglected project. Making a paving stone patio, sidewalk, or pathway is not an easy task. It's not that building a patio is complicated but rather that the stone can be heavy and the work is repetitious with a good deal of digging, bending, and lifting. Excavating a space for the project can be difficult too depending on the soil type but this project is definitely one a determined gardener and homeowner can accomplish! I purchased my materials at Lowe's in conjunction with Lowe's Creative Ideas. The first step in building a paving stone project is excavating a level area. In this project I had to…

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Natural Rocks for Stone Garden Borders

I like the look of rocks for bordering my garden beds.  Rocks define the border between the garden area and the walkways, help keep mulch in place, and give the garden bed a structural element.  I've gathered rocks from several places over the years and brought them to my garden.  It's not easy work but I like the end result. In the picture above there is columbine, golden ragwort, and heucheras.  A crape myrtle (on the right) gives us some summer color when in bloom on the corner of our front porch.  The boxwood to the left is one of two that flank the pathway that goes underneath our side garden arbor.  When you turn to the right you will see the front garden with its rock border.  This garden is in transition at the moment.  The daffodils are done blooming and the foliage is replenishing the energy the bulbs…

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Paving Stones for Pathway Entrances

One of my recent projects was to complete two entrances to our front sidewalk from the lawn.  The openings were already there but didn't have any definition - or at least any good definition that a person walking along would see a clear path to the sidewalk.  I had some paving stones in the backyard set aside for another project (an extension to our patio) that I haven't had time to get to yet so I thought they could be used for these short sidewalk entrances.  I spent a little time with the assistance of my 2 year old son and 4 year old daughter clearing our the weeds and clumps of grass that were in the way.  They had a good time moving the weeds to their wheelbarrow and dumping them! Then I laid out the stones.  Some were 6"x9" and others were 6"x6" which allowed me to create rectangular shapes with sets…

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Stone Borders and a Sitting Wall

Sometimes you don't really know where your garden is going to go.  Impulse plants or bargain plants can shape the type plants you put in, the kind of plant can determine where it goes, or you may even move plants to place them in better locations, but this notion of outside forces shaping your garden doesn't just pertain to plants.  Elements of whimsy may enhance an area. Maybe you get tired of something structural and move it.  Sometimes it's something else...like rocks!  Recently one of my neighbors decided that he didn't want a pile of rocks that was in his yard.  They were originally slated to be a fire pit but weren't suitable.  Since my neighbors know of my gardening obsession he figured I might be able to use them. I just had to come pick them up.  My fascination with rocks as a garden element made this a no…

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Raised Bed Vegetable Garden with Stone Borders

It's taken me all summer to get to it but I'm finally taking the first steps toward changing the vegetable garden to the parterre layout. I had some of the blocks sitting around for months now and others I borrowed from our patio sidewalk expansion which I just haven't had time to get to this summer.  Using the stone for the border is more expensive than wood but will last much longer.   For a comparison take the $2.50 cost per foot of these stone blocks and compare it with a piece of lumber somewhere around $5-6 for a 10 foot piece.  That comes to about $0.50-$0.60 per foot which makes the stone about 5 times more expensive.  The big advantage is that it won't ever rot and it looks pretty good! So far I only have one small portion of the raised bed vegetable garden put together.  Even it…

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Creeping Phlox and Border Rocks

It seems to me that phlox and rocks just go well together. It's not just the rhyming sounds that make the words blend but it's how the plants and rocks function together. Creeping phlox just loves to wrap itself around nearby objects and rocks are no exception! When I added the border rocks to the front garden I left a few gaps to allow the phlox to slide and creep through toward the lawn.The first picture of the front garden and border was taken a little over a week ago, just when the phlox began to bloom. Behind the phlox are daylilies and salvia which will add the next course of color. I used to have Russian sage in this garden but I moved it to try something new and because it was getting very large! Here the creeping phlox has filled out with blooms. I have a Salvia lyrata…

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Stones and Bones

You often hear people mention the phrase the "bones of the garden." It's basically used to refer to the garden elements that provide some sort of structure. Many people refer to evergreen plantings as the bones since they add structure and don't lose their leaves when the weather changes. Structures like arbors and garden shed could also be bones of the garden since they are more permanent fixtures that you can build the garden around. One other element that I like to think of as part of the bones of the garden is stone. Stone can do all kinds of things from building walls to creating patios or simply outline a garden border as in the picture below. My stone border in the sideyard does two things: It defines the garden space between my yard and my neighbor's yard (the border). It separates the grass pathway from the garden. The…

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Stepping Stones in the Garden

I really like using rock and stone in the garden. I've used rocks and stone for two main uses: as stepping stones or as borders. I prefer natural stones that have a rough hewn look. I like the irregular forms, the variety, and the general natural quality of the stones. The problem is the perfect flat stones are not readily available or are very expensive. Being on the cheap side I went a couple other routes to add some stepping stones to the garden. The easiest thing to do to add stepping stones is to buy the cheap concrete stones from the box stores. They definitely look manufactured but the price of $0.99 per stepping stone makes it worth it! Stepping Stones to traverse a garden - garden incomplete... I've used them in a few places to traverse gardens and to construct miniature pathways through them. A definite plus when…

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Around the Birdbath Garden

Today I went out and took a few quick photos of the birdbath garden. It's come along way from it's beginning three and a half years ago. I remember it like it was yesterday, all young and small, with barely a plant in the garden. It's amazing how quickly they grow up! Here's a look at the birdbath garden now. Please excuse my shadow - the sun still refuses to move to the right spot when I ask it to. The main feature is the butterfly bush which dominates the scene with a profusion of purple blooms. Close up you'll see an 'Oranges and Lemons' gaillardia. To the back and right you can find a 2 'Powis Castle' artemisias and a Diablo ninebark. If you get a chance to buy either of those three plants you should do it without even thinking about it. I like the way this pathway…

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