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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Landscaping Advice Wanted :)

Things around here have been a bit crazy, to say the least, the last 4/5 years.  We are now into the start of our 5th year on the farm, and I am (hopefully) able to landscape the entrance to the house, and the rest of the homestead this year.  

Apart from our mudroom entrance and lawn, the entrance to our house has been a mixture of mud and weeds.  This week I tilled up the random weeds and had the kids help me bring some stones up from our ravine.  I have a general idea of what I want to do for the walkway to the house and walkway between the porch and mudroom door, but I can't figure out what materials to use. (I can think of many things to use out of our budget, just not within.)  So I am asking for a blogging brainstorm from any followers that are still out there!

You should be able to click on the photos to enlarge.

This first picture shows the walkway to the porch from the drive.  The stones I put there temporarily are to keep feet from being muddy.  They are too soft of stone to be permanent stones (one is already broken). The triangle area with the bell will be ornamental grasses with the bell on a post.  There is also another walkway behind the bell leading to the mudroom entrance.  The flower bed against the house will be for roses. (It is on the east of the house).

This picture shows the walkway to the mudroom.

This picture shows the full area.  The flower bed separating the drive from the lawn will be for some shorter bushes and spring bulbs. 
So for my question?  What would you do on with a low budget for these walkways and the borders for them.  I would love to do large flat stones but our farm's stones are too soft, and I'm pretty sure buying them would be majorly out of the budget.  I have thought of pea gravel.  Not my favorite choice because of winter shoveling, but it would work.  I have also thought of scattered flat stones with pea gravel in between. I think that wouldn't hit the budget either.  As for the borders, I was thinking stones again, but more rounded ones.  I could probably scrounge enough of those up here and there.  I do know I want it to look natural - cement is not high on the list at all.  What do you think??

Thanks so much!


Anonymous said...

I admit, pea gravel was my first thought when I looked at the pictures. It looks neat and tidy, it doesn't shift in those thaw/freeze cycles you likely get some winters. I like the idea of using rocks for the borders.

Anonymous said...

Hi Becky!
We too are getting ready to work on our yard. Have you considered the 12x12" or 16x16" patio blocks from Menards? They are on sale right now and make great pathways! They range from 0.99-2.25 on sale. Here is a link for the 0.99 ones:

Fill with pea gravel and border with wildflowers/etc. I think this could be beautiful and cheap! LOL!

I really enjoy your blog/FB posts. My girls and I started making CP soap last summer, they love it! Take care.

Good luck!
Danielle (Smith) Thorson

Nicci Lynn said...

Try looking up "wood slice walkway" on google image. I have always wanted to try one. They are super affordable (especially if you already heat with wood and have a supply of cut logs) and super natural looking. They wouldn't last forever (as wood rots) but they would probably last a good 5-10 years depending on what how moist they stay and what wood you use (cedar would be best).

Nic @

Paul @ Pastured Providence Farmstead said...

It's funny, my wife and I were just talking about you guys (creepy, I know) and wondering to ourselves if you guys were still living in what was originally intended to be a barn or not. Did you convert your old half-and-half building fully to a barn, or did that end up being one of those things that turned out to be too much and you decided to keep things the way they were? Just curious what you ended up deciding to do with that... we liked and appreciated the idea of building one structure and living in part of it for a time!

For the entryway, I think pea gravel is the best bet on a budget. It isn't "cute" but it will keep your approach clean and is relatively easy to maintain. Is simply seeding it back to lawn an option? That would look fine and you won't have to worry about mud as much once the the grass was established. I'll be curious what you come up with!!

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

Thanks for all of the great ideas so far everyone!

Paul - Seeding it is a consideration, but our ground drains very poorly and we often have standing water in the yard. We would probably have to build it up higher than the rest of the yard to make it work. Also, we still are living in our "barn" house, and will be for quite some time! You would never know when you are inside that it isn't a stick built though. It is finished off as any traditional house would be - dry wall , flooring, etc. There is 10 foot on the side of the house that is partially sectioned off for storage and also a freezer room - but other than that, it is all house. It almost seems silly to want to build a stick built some day now, but maybe if we ever need an on farm store and have surplus in the bank we might build a stick built house someday.

Anonymous said...

I've seen some neat stepping stones made from concrete in molds. They can be decorated with broken tile, stones or whatever you can think of. I've seen stones made with leaf designs in the concrete by placing actual leaves in the mold. Surround the stones with pea gravel.

Nance said...

I don't know if that link is good or not but it shows how to make wooden walk ways out of 2X4 timbers. I didn't have that link when I pounded together a similar walkway out of desperation. It was muddy! I was tired of it! I'll try to email you a pic of my actual walk. I am still using it 2 years later. 3? maybe three already. Nance

Anonymous said...

We have gotten on the list with the power company and local landscapers, who often want to dump mulch-ey wood chips from tree trimming projects. The load and delivery is free (since they just need to get rid of it, and don't want to haul it far). But the supply and type of material is variable, since they just look for the closest house on their list when they are in a certain area.

We really like it for pathways, and it even works well for roadbeds for tractor roads. My husband jokes that it's the "poor man's gravel". ;-)


what about a wood plank 'bridge' right on the ground for the straight part ( like this only flat)
as for the curvy one I would say pea gravel or just mulch?

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

Thanks for all of the great ideas! I think I have come to a conclusion. I am going to do pea gravel as many suggested, and I am also going to bring more large rocks up from the ravine, like the ones shown. I mentioned that I have already had one break, but I figure it is worth a shot since the large stones are what I originally wanted. I will somewhat spread them around and fill in with pea gravel. If they break, they break. I will just take them out, but hopefully I'll be able to enjoy them for a number of years, and by that time I might be able to get some stones that are a bit harder. So thank you so much to all for your ideas!! :)

Anonymous said...

Landscapers in this area use sand then pea gravel as the base and put stones or pavers on top which allows the stones to move without breakage. It also allows for better drainage. Any spaces between the stones could have more pea gravel to come to the same walking level.

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