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Flag Digging

November 23, 2009

In a sudden flourish, after seeing my pal Sarah’s garden this weekend, I spent my lunch digging up some of the flags and tentatively laying out the garden path:

Before - House Return Looking Back At The House

Before - House Return Looking Back At The House

After - House Return Looking Back At The House

After - House Return Looking Back At The House

Before - Garden Path From Centre of Garden

Before - Garden Path From Centre of Garden

After - Garden Path From Centre of Garden

After - Garden Path From Centre of Garden

Before - Garden Path From House Return

Before - Garden Path From House Return

After - Garden Path From House Return

After - Garden Path From House Return

The first flags lifted and the sand and cement underneath

The first flags lifted and the sand and cement underneath

It was great fun. The flags came up without too much resistance – I’d had a few of them up before, and once one is up it’s relatively simple to get the next one up, especially if you’re a man with a brand new crowbar. The cement under the flags is very sandy and crumbled quite easier. Either that or I could get the fabled crowbar underneath the cement base and lift it out in chunks. It might take a few hours but it shouldn’t be a horrendous job to fully clear it. Once it’s gone, I can bag up all the gravel that lies in the ditch between the flags and the fence, which is going to be used to fill the gaps at the edges of the flags close to the house. The space cleared by the out-going gravel and flags will become flower beds.

Island flower bed

Island flower bed

The original path has four short steps that rise up from house level, each step 6 flags wide. I thought about narrowing the steps in incremental stages, going from 6 at the top, 5 at the next, 4 on the next and 3 on the bottom step, with each level indented half a flag to form a wedge, but instead it seemed to work better to split it into two paths, one a continuation of the path that runs down the house return, and the other leading down from the patio. To this end I took out 6 flags from the middle – 2 from each step – forming an island that will become a serviceable flower bed.

It’s nice to see it shaping up to fit the layout I have planned for it. Seeing the path in approximate place has made me think about slight changes to the plan, too. For example, I need to consider where the two or three trees I intended to plant are going to go. I expect to spend several hours standing around looking at the garden from various viewpoints, not just to admire my handiwork, such as it is, but to figure out what to do next.

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