Isn’t it amazing what we can accomplish when we are willing to exert the effort? It’s also amazing what developers will do to avoid the high costs of better drainage when homes are built ridiculously close together.
One side of our yard is steepest near the garage, and becomes more level toward the street. After almost turning my ankle on that slope, I decided it had to go, or be conquered. Conquering it was far easier and less expensive. Prettier, too.
I still stand and admire my 5 little stair-steps on the slope at the side of our garage and driveway. I did this in just two days! The stones used for the steps will also fit together in a nice shape for a patio or walk. I placed them such that the drop from one stone to the next is equal to the thickness of the stones. This required more stones than necessary, but made for a more gentle, gradual decline. Soon these flowers will grow to fill in the spaces between them, and I won’t need to buy as much pine straw mulch.
There is one good thing about the worthless sandy soil around here: it is very, very easy to dig and move around, so building this little “staircase” was easy for me. The hardest part was lifting the stones, and that wasn’t too bad. I began at the top of the slope, and used a garden trowel (a.k.a., tiny shovel) to scoop and shift the soil into place, checked it with my level, then positioned the stone. I then pushed some good soil into place against the sides of each stone to keep the sand from washing out from underneath, and moved down to the next step. You can see I also put in a low border with stones left over from building my kitchen garden (see the April 12 post). The bottom step is supported by one of those stones.
When the steps were done, I filled in the area around them with good garden soil, and began planting my flowers. The flowers are mulched with pine straw — the best mulch available anywhere. The plants’ roots will help hold the soil, too.
Between the two lowest steps, there was a small space of exposed dirt. To prevent weeds from sprouting there, as well as to prevent erosion, I planted Creeping Jenny on each side of the steps, and guided the longest strands of it into that space. Within 2 weeks, the Jenny had already almost filled in the space. In my Hub Pages article, 5 Great Ground Covers for Sun and Shade, I have shown a variety of good ground covers. Creeping Jenny is the only one I know of that is slender enough, can take full sun, and is not overly invasive. There are many lovely ground covers that would be ideal for tiny spaces such as this, for example, Irish Moss, but they require shade. I had to have one that can take the harsh summer sun.
I shouldn’t be at risk of turning my ankle anymore, plus I can enjoy watching the flowers grow and bloom.