Sunday, September 04, 2011

72 bags of gravel (3,600 pounds!!), lots of elbow grease, 6 hours and .... Viola!

The fern grotto got a (long overdue) makeover!

Since we moved in a couple of years ago, we've been thinking about what we should do with the side yard (aka: the fern grotto). It's such a nice area - and huge! Last year I was thinking about a flagstone patio. Until, that is, I talked to my friend Michael about it. He'd just finished putting in a smaller flagstone patio at his house and I was asking him how difficult and how expensive it was. He told me that it really only took him one full weekend ... and $1,500.00!! Whoa Nellie - guess that's out!

This year we were thinking something easier that would still set the area off nicely and make it an inviting, useable space. We came up with gravel. Lots and lots and lots of gravel!

Yesterday morning we began clearing the area of everything that lived there - furniture, garden, crazy cement filled tire (Wuhhh? We have no idea why it's there.), and preparing the area for all of the gravel. Vicky came over with tools and a garden cart that made the job soooo much easier! (Thanks, Vicky, for all of your help! We can't tell you how much we appreciate it!). Kevin chopped down a tree that had been growing as an unplanned volunteer; I pulled weeds and moved some larger rocks; Vicky cleared the area of larger rocks and leaves. Then, it was time to start adding the gravel - one 100 pound load at a time. Load after load after load. Kevin made 4 trips back and forth to Orchard Supply Hardware (known more affectionately as OSH). He was becoming quite the regular. The first load had 16 bags of gravel, then 18, then two more loads with 20 bags each. If you're thinking to yourself 'Boy! That's a lot of gravel!', you would be correct! Each time Kevin dropped off a cart-ful of gravel, Vicky and I would begin spreading it out in all directions until we had the entire area covered. Holy cow - we were all completely exhausted!

It's totally worth it, though!! I love the new look! We still have some work to do. I'd like to put a scalloped brick border around the tree, maybe some potted plants, an outdoor buffet to hold necessities to have drinks and munchies over there and maybe even a hammock! Here are a few before and after pics:
Before ...
During...(it's funny how the gravel changed colors after it dried. It was dark to begin with and then dried a pale gray)
And after...

Isn't it just great! We love it. Now I'm more anxious than ever to get that red brick border in place!

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