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nikeman 06-27-2012 07:57 PM

Need tips for flower garden
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I promised my wife that I would fix up our flower garden around the front of the house for her birthday. I have been slowly working on it since April when I get time. It was full of lava rocks which we both hated so I dug them all out. I have now bought 82 border block things (still not enough for one side of the house!!!). Them things are heavy and took a while to put down in a straight line so I am looking for a way to help prevent them from moving around a lot. I am sure I will hit then with the mower.

Also, how do you stop the damn weeds from taking over!! I know nothing about gardening btw.

Here's a pic of the side I put the blocks down do far. I am going to add dirt and mulch when I have money and time.

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joecaption 06-27-2012 08:15 PM

A single layer just sitting the ground is just not going to stay in place for long and the weeds will just go under them and through the spaces.
Really needed to rototill out the area where the blocks are going, rake out the grass and weeds and back fill with crush and run or some compactable sand.
(A Mantis tiller works perfect for this)
Each block needs to be set level, I'd split the first one in the bottom row in half with a brick chisle, that way the second row will over lap the joints.

DexterII 06-27-2012 08:40 PM

I agree with Joe; you need a level surface, free of grass, weeds, soil clumps, etc., so would do as he suggested. Before you start, decide at what elevation you want the top of the stones, and how far off of the foundation that you want them; the curves you can obviously free hand, unless you want a perfect radius, but you probably want them straight along the house. Set a stake at each end, an equal distance from the foundation, and a foot or two beyond where you want to run the stones. Now, you can use the bottom of your siding as a benchmark, to determine how far below that you want the stones, and then use a 4' level to extend that mark to each stake. Remember that you want your finish grade in the beds to slope away from the house, a minimum of about 1/8" per foot. Run a string from the mark on one stake to the mark on the other, and you have both a straight line, and an elevation. Now, mowing, then trimming along the stones, can be a pain, so, going back to planning, you need to decide whether you want them at or above grade. Personally, I prefer a free running mulch bed, no edge, which requires a little bit of dressing once in a while, but more than makes up for that in time spent mowing and trimming. But, that wasn't one of your questions, so back to task. While you are doing this, buy a few elbows and enough downspout to extend them out, at least 3-4' from the house, away from your foundation. Also, going back to the mulch thing, I would plan for at least 2-3" of that inside the stones, while you are working out elevations, as it will help hold moisturte for your flowers. Keep in mind that nice, neat, appealing beds do not happen my accident, and a little additional planning and effort on the front end will pay huge dividends in the future.

joecaption 06-27-2012 08:50 PM

I'd also get rid of those shrubs that are right up againt the porch.

nikeman 06-27-2012 09:34 PM

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Thanks guys. She likes the look of the block border so I'll have to just trim around it when I mow. We had wooden posts laid all the way around the garden and I am using those as my height and distance guide. The gutters drain down into plastic tubes that go under ground and drain somewhere that I have yet to locate. I do have a drainage issue where over the years water has overflowed the gutters in one section and eroded a lot of dirt away leaving a slight ditch. I didn't notice it until I shoveled out all the lava rocks in that area and have now filled it in with dirt. Luckily it's in front of the porch and not right up against the foundation.

nikeman 07-31-2012 06:15 PM

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I had a little time to work on this again. What do the experts think of what I'v done so far?

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nikeman 08-02-2012 10:54 AM

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Should I mortar the top layer?

joecaption 08-02-2012 11:36 AM

No need to.
You really should use a couple of stakes and pull a string to keep it straight.

nikeman 08-02-2012 12:51 PM

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That's a good idea. I kept putting down a couple blocks and then making sure I was going in a straight line. That's what was taking so long!! For the rest I will use a string.

nikeman 08-05-2012 07:39 PM

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One side done minus mulch.

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creeper 08-05-2012 07:50 PM

Happy Belated Birthday Mrs. Nikeman.

Hosta's and Hydragea. Looks great

nikeman 08-05-2012 08:00 PM

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Originally Posted by creeper
Happy Belated Birthday Mrs. Nikeman.

Hosta's and Hydragea. Looks great

The hydrangea is the newest plant and I actually just sprayed it with round-up on accident because the sprayer is messed up apparently! It wasn't much so hopefully it survives.

creeper 08-05-2012 08:05 PM

Dang. I hope you hosed it off in a hurry. You will know in a day or two

nikeman 08-05-2012 08:15 PM

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While we are on the topic of round-up.... I bought some ortho groundclear because it says it will last a year. Upon research it appears this stuff is pretty potent and I even read a story of someone who killed a few 40' pine trees and had to have them cut down. Is this true? I'm not using it in my flower bed now obviously but killing full grown trees.... Really? I would like to spray my walkway and drive way but the walkway is beside the flowerbed and their is a huge tree actually touching the driveway. The way people talk about it I don't want to use it anywhere in my yard since there are so many large trees.

creeper 08-05-2012 08:45 PM

Where I live a product like that would not be avaliable for purchase for the average homeowner. I've actually never heard of it. We can't get weed'n feed products. Round up in small amounts only. The jugs are kept locked up.

Someone else will be around the corner shortly

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