Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Marking Boundaries

Gratuitous existing front border shot
I don't need to tell chronic house renovators how often one can make a reasoned, cerebral decision regarding phasing on a particular project, then suddenly change one's mind for any reason or none at all.

In my case, I'd decided to put off doing much planting in my new front garden bed until the path and seating area could be done. But then I came across a really good sale on plant materials at Wayside Gardens' online store, which included items I've wanted for years.  Should I?  Could I?  Would I be more foolish to spend the money on plants now, or crazier to wait and risk the things I wanted not being available in the future?

I've been leaning towards doing it . . . provided I can come to a decision on the minimum amount of plant material to qualify for the free shipping offers that seem to come and go on the site . . .  But if I'm going to go through with it, I have to know exactly where I can put the shrubs and perennials I might be getting.

Which means defining where the shrubs and perennials won't get put.  So this afternoon out I went with the tape measure, the string, and a handful of millwork off cuts to use for stakes, to lay out the area that will be paved.

Since I'm working with curves I had to use a lot of stakes, and I ran out before I got to the other side of the bed.  Had to use metal plant stakes, and broken-off paint stirrers (which don't stand up too well). It has occurred to me that those pieces of 5/8" painted quarter round I put out for the Large Item Pick-Up three or four weeks ago could have been cut up for layout stakes.  And plant stakes, too, for that matter.  Oh, well.  Inutiles regrets.

Didn't take too long to get the general shape down and marked, a couple hours or so, though I had to tweak the shape of the path a time or two.

I tested the width with my lawn mower, and initally it wasn't wide enough.  No problem, move the stakes and shift the line over.

Once the stakes were in the right position, took the string and marked the line on both sides.

Frankly, I wish there was a longer path in relation to the size of the seating area, but it is what it is.  And how I pave it will make a difference.  Right now, my hope and dream is to do the paving in flagstones.  If I can get them free from some friend or acquaintance's land, all the better.  But that means the boundary line doesn't have to be precise.  And I want the flag at the west end to intrude into the grass past the brick border.

It'll also need a teeny-tiny "retaining wall" at the south edge, since the ground slopes as much as 6" in the 6' or so this area will be wide.  Rough ashlar limestone blocks?  Or nice Beaver County breadloaf-sized roundy rocks?  Whatever's cheaper!

Once the paving area was laid out, I had just enough time before getting changed for work to move the brick border to reflect the bigger radius I scribed and grubbed out yesterday.  This time I broke the line where the path will emerge, so only a couple non-matching bricks were needed.  Nice.

I think the enlarged curve looks a lot better.  What do you think?

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