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May
12
2015

We Built a Border

As new-ish homeowners, Adam and I have been trying to get little projects done here and there, but man, somebody should have told us how busy life can be and little time and energy you have most days! I thought we'd be further along by now, but I'm learning.

Anyway, we finally got to one item on our list this past Saturday and it feels good! We put in a border around the two main sections of landscaping on the front of the house. Come see!

First, I have to admit that we didn't plan this project particularly well. We decided on this specific endeavor at random on Saturday after breakfast because I wanted to get something done and decided on this on the spur of the moment, so we didn't get up early to beat the sun like we might have. We headed out, looked at a couple stores to see what our options were and finally decided on a border stone.

Now, I have to interrupt my story here to tell you the best part of this entire thing -- we got these stones for free! 

A few years ago, we signed up for a Visa rewards credit card as part of an attempt to build up our credit score by using the card to pay most of our bills each month. Since we pay off the card every month, we never carry a balance and therefore pay no interest. But in return for using the card, we'd built up quite a few points over the years. We finally cashed in for two Home Depot gift cards, which completely covered the cost of our garden border stones! And since we did all the labor ourselves, there was no cost there.

It took us two trips to get them all home (didn't want to overload the car weight-wise), so we didn't get start on actually laying them until after lunch. Um, possibly a mistake. Can you say HOT?!

At any rate, here is a closeup of the stones.

They've got a slight pink-gold tint, so not just a flat concrete grey, but not a dark brick color, which is exactly what we wanted. Also, these in particular have a nice interlocking design, so they're easy to arrange either straight or on a curve. And it's hard to see in the picture, but they actually slope up from front to back across the top, so it lets them appear a little lower on the grass side and a little higher on the mulch side, which helps keep in the mulch & moisture.

Adam and I took turns digging out a level space between the mulch and the grass and then carrying over and lining up the border stones, while making sure to step back occasionally and see how things were looking.

He's such a perfectionist that, had we not already exhausted ourselves and soaked our clothing through with sweat, he might have gone back out and adjusted a few places he didn't think were entirely even. Lol. (I think it looks impeccable!)

And now, a view of both the right- and left-hand borders...

Both sides of the house had their challenges, although the left side above is obviously the larger area and posed the difficulty of sloping down and then back up on that curved section. So we had to make sure the stones not only sloped down and up evenly, but also as they were turning. It was tricky, but looking at it now, I'm extremely proud of how smooth that line is!

It is back-breaking work, bending over for so long, hauling stones and the like ... particularly in 90-degree weather! Thank goodness for my lovely wide-brimmed gardening hat!

Because not only do you have to dig it out and then smooth and place the stones so they line up evenly on the tops, but you then have to go back and fill in some dirt around the base to stabilize them and replace the mulch you pushed out of the way at the start. Tiring!

And lastly, here's a before and after look -- not just at the border area, but also, if you look closely, you may be able to see the small area of trim at the top of our columns. In the initial shot of the house before we moved in, you can see that everything is one color. In the after, we've added the garden border, but also, we took time some months back to grab the pint-sized can of matched paint the builder left us and brush on the lighter cream color on that top trim area.

It's a small change, but we think it adds some additional definition to the house.

(It's also interesting to see how small all the plants were one year ago!)

Anyway, hopefully this sort of blog entry isn't boring for you all. I know it's exciting to me because we worked on on it and it's our house, but hopefully it's somewhat entertaining for the rest of you!

We Built a Border
Copyright 2004-2018 Elizabeth Shiver