Saturday, July 26, 2008

Paved with good intentions

I posted the picture at right on May 17. I was digging out the sod to put in flagstones at the entrance to the yard, inside the gate. The Sergeant graciously helped me by lugging bags of sand and some flagstones over to the gate.

Where they sat. And sat. And sat some more.

I'm not sure why I thought this was good project to do immediately. It was fine having grass there. There are other projects that are more pressing, including putting flagstones or pavers through the border on the other side of the yard so I'm not stepping on dirt or flowers when I pass through.

Maybe I was thinking I wanted to "claim" the entrance to the yard in some way, having just installed the gate. An easy project with not too many steps that I could get my head around doing. Not a huge commitment, and not something having a lot of bearing on the overall eventual design of the yard.

See, I need to have a grand plan for the yard. It's all grass now, with a couple of bordering beds (mostly empty) and the vegetable garden in one corner. It's a big blank slate, is what it is.

But I don't know what the plan should be. Formal? Informal? Geometric? Meandering? Beds? Berms? Gazebos? Trellises? Fruit trees? Hedges? Tall grasses? Stepping stones? Fountain? Pond? Potager?

Oh God.

So, this entrance was a little thing I could start on. Which I did, then left it until today. As it happened, the free landscaping materials I just got from my cow-orker included big square pavers. Which also just so happened to be exactly the right size for the hole I'd dug out.

So maybe waiting was a good thing. My flagstones are oddball shapes. That's good for some kinds of paths, but with the traffic through the gate, something more level and smooth is probably better.

I put down landscaping fabric in a double layer, then some paver sand over it to help level the blocks. Then the pavers went down.

Then the pavers came up again because I'd used too much sand. The stones were so high the gate was scraping on them. I removed some sand and put the pavers down again. Got them level and spaced as evenly as I could. Well, they're level, but not precisely spaced. Fuck it. Those suckers weigh 50 pounds apiece and I couldn't get enough leverage to skootch them around.

But once I filled in the gaps with sand they looked OK.
At least it's done.

And P.S., don't buy paver sand. It's full of rocks the size of marbles. Which makes it harder to level everything. Get the finer sand for that. I'm thinking even kitty litter might work in a pinch. Unless you know of some reason why it wouldn't.


  1. Looks great! Now a little creeping thyme in between the pavers would add a nice fragrance every time you entered the yard (if it does okay in your climate, that is).

  2. You get a nice little glow of satisfaction from a job like that, don't you? At least I do!

  3. Thanks!

    Gaia, I suspect it won't grow there now, since there's just sand, with weed barrier underneath. But the lawn mowers and wheelbarrows running over it would probably kill it anyway. I'll be putting thyme elsewhere, though.