A New Garden Border

If the number of recent landscaping projects in the neighborhood is any indicator, our current pandemic has been good for nurseries. We’ve been considering expanding the plantings in front with the addition of a new strip along the front sidewalk, and it seemed like a good, manageable project after the many months I’ve spent on the basement. As is often the case, I began with a quick drawing in Sketchup to get a feel for scale.

Drawing of expanded beds.
A quick drawing in Sketchup provides a sense of scale for the extended beds before any digging happens. A three-and-a-half-foot deep bed provides enough space for a row of plantings and some smaller accent planting.

After determining the depth of the bed, I was ready to layout the new border and strip sod. 120 square feet of sod might have warranted the rental of a sod kicker, but we’ve been minimizing our excursions. I stretched a length of mason’s line to mark the back edge of the bed and set to work with a half-moon edger and shovel. With the grass cleared, I piled on some mulck and headed to the nursery. After some remote back-and-forth, we settled on a mix of Wiegela, Nandina, and Hino Crimson Azaleas. I scavenged some larger rocks from around the yard to help stabilize the modest slope, then found some free rive rock on Craigslist to extend the stone border.

The freshly-planted front bed.
Most of the plants are in, as are the larger rocks used to help stabilize the slope.

While the strip isn’t big, it does provide some additional separation from the sidewalk and street. It also draws the eye while sitting on the front porch, providing a more interesting focal point than a parked car. I’ve taken to enjoying a morning cup of tea on the porch bench, enjoying the slow-motion parade of our quiet street, and the regular visits of birds to our feeder.

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