Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Making of a Stone Path

We have an area on the side of our house between our house and our neighbor's house which leads to our backyard. We landscaped the area last summer, and made a path in the center. When it came time to choose the material to use for the path, I made a big mistake. I chose black lava rocks which looked okay, but we soon found out that they are very difficult to walk on.

A lot of hard labor was involved in laying the rocks. My husband is a firm believer in doing things "the right way," so the path area had to be leveled, then he put down a fabric mesh liner and installed edging on both sides of the path to hold the rocks.

[You can click on the pictures to enlarge them, if you'd like]

The rocks had to be hauled by wheelbarrow from our driveway in front of the house all the way around the back of the house to the side where the path is located. Then finally, the rocks were spread between the edging and leveled.

This is the lava rock path after it was finished ...

We lived with the path for a few months, but it didn't take us long to realize that it wasn't what we wanted. I really didn't like the way it looked, and, as I mentioned earlier, the rocks were difficult to walk on.

Naturally, after all the hard work (not to mention the money) involved in building the path, I was hesitant to ask my husband if we could take the lava rocks up and replace them with natural stones. I waited a while longer before I broached the subject, and he said, very sweetly, that if I wanted to take the lava rocks up, we could have stones put down, thinking that I'd never attempt to remove all those rocks by myself. Well, that just made me even more determined to tackle those rocks!

So, early one April morning, I decided I was going to begin the rather formidable task of removing the rocks. The first thing I did was go to Home Depot and buy gloves and a small wheelbarrow. This is the one I chose and I just love it.

It's lightweight, yet sturdy, a perfect size for me, and has a neat little storage place for my gloves, gardening tools, a drink, and my cell phone (in case I get bitten by snake or something and need to call 911).

I used a "flat blade" shovel and started where the path ended in the backyard, working toward the front. About an hour ... and three or four wheelbarrow loads later ... this is what I accomplished. I was pleased with my progress and when my husband came home that afternoon, he seemed to be surprised at how much I had gotten done in so little time.

This is where I put the rocks as I took them up (behind our house) ...

After two or three more rock-moving sessions (and probably a dozen more wheelbarrow loads), I finally found the rock I had been looking for all that time -- the last one! I was so happy to be finished, and was proud that I did it all by myself.

Another month or so went by and we hired a landscaping company to install an irrigation system and lay the new stone path. They "put us on their schedule" and work was begun two weeks later (no one gets in a hurry but ME).

We chose blue stone because it blended with the natural stones used around the pond and waterfall in the courtyard.

I discovered that there is definitely an art to laying stone ... even randomly. The guy who laid them does tile work in his spare time and it was amazing to watch him work. He did a beautiful job and we are thrilled with our new path.

But there was one more project to be done -- the addition of a stone bridge to connect the pond in our courtyard to the new stone path.

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I went to the stone place and picked out the stone for the bridge. It is eight feet long, weighs approximately 1500 pounds, and has lichen and moss growing on it which gives it lots of character. And yesterday was the day they put it in place (I was sorry I didn't take pictures of the guys bringing it in, but I was so excited, I didn't think about it until it was too late).

Here is the stone after they got it set ... Doesn't it look like it was just made for our bridge? [You can tell more about it if you enlarge the pictures]

We waited so long for this project to be completed and couldn't be more pleased with the results, especially the bridge. I've walked back and forth across it I don't know how many times "trying it out," and I just love it. The only thing I worry about is our little granddaughter falling off of it. We'll just have to keep a close watch on her until she gets used to it.


Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

Hi Janie,
Your landscaping project looks wonderful!

My back is aching for you this morning as I think about you moving all those rocks by yourself!

I'm going to revisit your post later when I can click on each picture and soak up all the little details!

I have an award for you on my blog when you have a minute!
Have a good day,

Nancy said...

Good Morning Janie, How beautiful your back yard is and that stone path way...well, looks like a picture in a magazine! You have a beautiful little retreat right in your own back yard.
I love the table redo turned out great! Blessings to you, Nancy

Screaming Meme said...

WoW! Im blown away! I love it!!!!!!

nikkicrumpet said...

Hey Janie!

You know I've always been a fan of your beautiful home and gorgeous yard. But I had no idea just how stunning it was. The pictures here really let us see what a masterpiece this is! And that new path is perfect!!! I admire that you were willing to do all that hard work yourself..and boy was it ever worth it! Thanks so much for giving us an upclose look at what you've accomplished. I can't wait for my hubby to come home so he can see this. There are so many good ideas to "borrow" here!

Gretchen said...

What a beautiful side yard and back yard! I can't believe you gathered up all that lava rock yourself. Amazing what we can do when given the right incentive. I also love your statue of the little girl by the bridge.


Sharron said...


What a beautiful oasis you have created. It is perfect! I thoroughly enjoyed watching it develop through your pictures and words.

Sharron M.T.

Brenda Kula said...

Your yard is certainly beautiful! I too have a courtyard, with a Target gazebo I just love in it. I also had some flagstone put in last year and they put Mondo grass (which looks like what you have) between the rocks. I added more rock and more Mondo grass. So my entire sideyard no longer has lawn. Just stretches of various pathways and gardens! And a pond!

Tracey said...

LOVE the stone walkway! So inviting :)

Nancy said...

Hi Janie, I never forgot about the award you gave me several weeks ago. I finally have it posted. I still don't think I know how to do it but it on my blog and your link is there too. Thank you so much for thinking of me. I am so sorry it took me so long, but I didn't want to do it till I was sure about what I was doing. Blessings, Nancy

StitchinByTheLake said...

Janie can I just move in with you? I could live in that back yard! I'm allergic to dirt (mold) so I can't work in the yard without getting sick and my husband will mow but he's not much for doing more than that so while our yard is pretty it's nothing like that! I need you to live next door so you can help. :) blessings, marlene

bj said...

And, I'm proud of you doing that hard work all by yourself. Guys sometimes just don't give us enuf credit and...don't they know that if we REALLY want something, we can work our buns off!!
xo bj

Mrs. Trixi said...

I have to say you have an amazing yard. Absolutely, beautiful.

preppy little dress said...

cute landscaping!

Susie Q said...

This is truly amazing. So beautiful..a dream really. I know you are enjoying each moment soent in such a lovely spot.


Jon said...

Wow! Double wow!! What a winner you achieved with your outstanding landscaping project. I love the neatness and carefully thought out details....your "editorial skills" are evident in the design and placement of all features.

Jon at Mississippi Garden