The Wall: Part Two

Part Two? What was Part One?

I guess this story started several years ago, when I decided to replace some rotting timbers that formed retaining walls in our backyard. The pre-formed blocks--the ones with little lips on the bottom, so they stack securely--looked easy enough to use, and I figured that a middle-aged woman and four teen-agers should be able to do the work in a summer. We did in fact finish it, and the wall looked terrific, but it turned out to be a bigger job than I had envisioned.

Still, we gained experience, and when we found a problem this fall with our current yard--a section of lawn between the driveway and the house that is too steep to mow safely--we decided to build another wall. We started with a trench along the driveway to outline this small section of yard, then filled it with half a cubic yard of gravel (hauled inconveniently in our minivan, from the landscape place down the road) and began stacking blocks on the gravel, leveling each one as we went. The first blocks we used were scavenged from the yard, where a previous occupant had built a couple tree edgings. We did have to buy more to finish it--and we needed more gravel, too. Fortunately, by the time we needed to buy the additional heavy stuff, we had acquired a pickup truck, so hauling was considerably easier.

We edged the wall with daylilies; there were oodles of them in the raspberry patch that we could relocate. We started smothering the grass and mulching it, but that part of the project is on hold now until we get more wood chips.

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