Naturally, almost as soon as we put the back border in last year, I was dissatisfied with it and wanted to enlarge it. However, we knew there was an easement there and weren't sure where the utilities actually lay. A call to 811 quickly resolved that issue and we came home one day to find bright little red and yellow flags across the lawn, marking the phone and gas lines.
The other thing that needed to be done was that Eric had to replace the backflow valve (I think that's what it's called) on the sprinkler system, which froze over the winter. So he replaced the valve last weekend (and now we just have to pray we don't get another hard freeze) and we were able to run the sprinklers to see where the spray heads are.
At last! I had a clear idea of the amount of room we had to work with.
Now to move the rocks!
My poor husband had visions of moving 25 tons of rock with his bare hands, and we giggled together when I found this amusing cartoon by British cartoonist, Norman Thelwell.
I'm not sure if Eric found it so amusing when I dug up an mp3 of The Pretenders' Back on the Chain Gang to play for him, lol.
But as you can see, we're really only expanding it a foot and a half at the most and it really wasn't much of a chore to move them.
Even though we didn't expand it much, I think that will give us the room we need to create a pleasant border, with some taller shrubs against the wall and shorter plants in the front. Who know, I may be able to hide that ugly wall eventually.
When I first started on the border, I realized very quickly that trying to remove all the sod would be a huge chore. So I decided to take the easy route. What I did was to plant some base shrubs where I wanted them and then lay down a layer of Weed Block around them, and then finish with a thick layer of mulch on top of that. After several months, all the sod underneath had died off and I've been digging it back in to the soil a bit at a time.
Much easier than trying to remove all that sod at one go.
So when we were expanding the border, I decided to use the same approach. Basically just covered all the sod with a layer of weed block and covered it with mulch. When I'm ready to plant in it, I can work the soil a bit at a time and in the meantime, with mulch over the whole thing, it sort of looks done.
You can see, in the center of the photo, one of the flags marking the AT&T cable. We laid the rocks just to the inside of that line, so we can dig in the bed without worrying about cutting the phone line.
I love it when things come together right :-)
Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.