Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Simple Hardscaping

Hardscape (n): the manmade part of the grounds surrounding a building, as paved areas or statues. To a gardener, or this gardener, hardscaping is a unique and permanent aspect of the garden/yard. I think of ponds, pools, patios, porches, fire pits...the list is extensive! But I also consider paths to be on this list, which is often one of the easiest landscaping projects you can undertake (sometimes...some paths can be quite time and resource consuming). 
When we moved into our house four years ago, there was an awkward little flower-bed that wound around a path that led from the back patio (a concrete slab) to the driveway. Nothing really grew there, and when we built a fence, it was the only thing that drew your attention along the path. It was something I wanted to change but wasn't sure what I wanted to do.
So, on a whim, I took some extra pavers I found around our house and placed them strategically in this bed and surrounded them with river rocks, thus creating a cutesy little path-like area. It worked for a time, but then the weeds came, the pavers settled, and it was just a funny little spot that required way too much attention.
After giving it some thought, I liked my initial idea but there were some things I definitely wanted to change. First, the river rock had to go! It was impossible to keep the weeds out of it and the rocks inevitably found themselves in the grass only later to be found by my lawn mower! Second, I wanted it a bit more level and wanted a fun little ground cover to fill in between the stones...and I didn't want to have to compete with the exhausting amount of weeds that seemed to call this bed home (so I guess this would be point two, three and four;).
This is my little project to fix my eye-sore area, that was fairly inexpensive and could easily be done in a weekend...or an afternoon if you only have to build the path. :)

First step: removing all of those river rocks! Yes, hand!
(And my faithful companion there, never offered to help out...haha)
Next, I lifted all of the pavers and leveled out the dirt.
Once level, or pretty level, and packed down, I laid out the weed barrier and re-placed my pavers.
I took some topsoil and filled in the gaps.
 (I decided to start fresh, so I purchased mine, but you could use any soil you have or even bark dust/chips)

Remember how I wanted a ground cover? I love Corsican mint and it spreads beautifully. So I purchased some at a rummage sale for 50 cents each! I split each container in half and planted them along my new path-way.

Here it is, the final moment! I placed the simple bench I made and two pots of spearmint back along this area, and aside from some sweeping I obviously need to do, I'm done!
Now I must wait for the mint to spread its beautiful green fragrant carpet between the stones and along the sidewalk. I'm very pleased with the outcome! Now let's hope the weed barrier follows through and keeps the weeds out too!
Yard and garden projects needn't be complicated or expensive to make an impact and be extremely enjoyable. Simple can be quite wonderful, in-and-of itself. And think how great it will feel to know you did it yourself!

What projects have you started and are really enjoying now? I love to see what else others are doing and who knows...maybe you'll inspire me to try it too!



  1. This turned out great! I have some extra EP Henry pavers from my last project, I've been thinking of doing something similar in my side yard.

  2. Thanks! It is a nice transition in the garden and something just a little different. It looks even better now that the weather has warmed up a bit and the Corsican mint has filled in some of the cracks between the pavers! Best of luck with your project!

  3. I wonder how it'll look like after the mint had time to spread through the gaps. It looks easy enough to do, but judging from those pavers, there's definitely some heavy-lifting involved. Though it gives me an idea on how to separate my lawn and walkway. Thanks for the post!