You learn a lot as a first time home owner. About half of that learning comes from making costly mistakes. My pea gravel pathways are a prime example of that. I’ve spent countless hours leveling and sculpting pathways around my beds in order to create a nice harmonious flow throughout the yard. I’ve spent quite a bit of money on pea gravel as well in order to do this. Admittedly, I knowingly took a few shortcuts along the way. And…now I’m paying for it. Big time.
Not more than three months ago, I finished making this lovely grassy knoll with a cute and quaint little retaining wall for accessing the laying box of my chicken coop and for sitting in the shade of my young willow tree. Surrounding that, a nice little pea gravel pathway. In those 3 months, all of that was fairly buried under a blanket of crabgrass. The same crabgrass that I painstakingly removed when I started this project. Here it is this morning.
What an unholy hot mess huh. Seething tendrils of green revenge oozing out every surface that was so lovingly placed. I watched this happen slowly over the last few months. Like the mighty Kraken advancing at a planetary slowness and determination, these weeds crept up from the darkness to reach my toes and envelope my pea gravel. And it was all my fault. I tried my best to ignore my blunder and focus on other things instead.
Well, today it’s getting fixed damn it! The first step was to re-remove ALL of the pea gravel as well as ALL of the river rock while trying to keep all the dirt and dead grass and debris out of it. Tons of fun this afternoon! After a few hours, I got everything fairly cleared away.
I pulled as much of the crabgrass as I could bear to do seeing as this was the second time around. I wanted so badly to just blast it with Roundup just to teach it a lesson. But, that’s not how I roll. Roundup is made from Nazi tears and I will never add any chemicals to my yard. Ever. I also imagined using some Napalm from a tiny remote control helicopter blasting The Flight of the Valkyries by Wagner to reenact a scene from Apocalypse Now.
I then did what I should have done the first place. I went out and bought some cheap weed barrier material. After punching the crabgrass and doing some pile drivers off of the top of the chicken coop to finalize its humiliation, I began to lay down the barrier.
Take that evil crabgrass! You’ve seen your last ray of sunshine sir and will be undone! I then realized that the area surrounding the low wall needed to be better protected because the weeds would just sneak on through between the stone and the weed barrier. So I dug underneath the wall a bit to shove the barrier into the gap and then place the stones over that.
Nice and snug! I went in about 2″ underneath the whole wall in hopes that no sunlight will penetrate at all. If one tiny little ray of light enters, then the crabgrass will grow right back again. I have absolutely no interest in doing this a third time!
I then moved on to the river rock section along the side of my chicken paddock and around the apple tree. That tree, by the way, is a Granny Smith and a Pink Lady planted in the same hole. The goal is to have them grow together forming one trunk. This way, future generations will be amply confused when two different varieties of apples are produced from the same tree. I’m sneaky like that.
This weed barrier is supposed to be light proof but not water proof. So, hopefully, my trees will get enough water when and if it ever rains. Time will tell. Last winter it didn’t rain at all so I was unable to test all my grading and leveling I’ve done with the landscaping thus far. This year, being an El Nino year, should prove to be a wet one. I hope.
Once the borders of the pathway were well secured, I began re-re-adding the pea gravel.
I discovered that I wasn’t able to reclaim all of it initially so I didn’t have enough to finish the section. Sad news in pea gravel town. It was also filled with bits of dead grass and a dusting of dirt that I tried my best to sift out as I went along. In the end, I will have to buy a few more bags to finish the job as well as more barrier to redo all the paths I’ve done already. As well as the paths I’ve yet to do. This will be a test to make sure that all is well before moving on to more backbreaking endeavors.
With a light blast of the hose, I was looking good again. Here’s a little before and after action for ya. We spare no expenses when it comes to special effects!
And here’s the final product. Or at least this section of the final product.
Ahh, much cleaner! Here’s to it staying that way. Lesson learned? When you know the right way to do something, don’t cheap out or get lazy. Do it right the first time. It’s my hope that, if you decide to do this project, you learn from my mistakes and be smarter than I am. Which won’t be that hard to accomplish.
This is a prime example of what I meant in the beginning of my blogging experiment about me not having all the answers and not being a professional landscaper. I will always try to be one step ahead so at the very least you can learn some tiny iota of the pitfalls of gardening and landscaping. I am no stranger to eating crow and this will not be the last time. Until then, I will be sitting on my mini wall picking crow feather from out my teeth.