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Stone landscaping a garden on a slope, between a fence and a waterfall: Part One

In an effort to decrease my yard maintenance in my out years; I’ve decided to expend a tremendous amount of energy in my ?in? years, or, at least while I have the requisite muscle mass. I am converting a sloping garden on the side of my house to stone–the Medusa-Gardner. All that will remain are 2 trees, three grapevines against the fence, and a few pots for tropicals; therefore, I may kill anything not tree-like, vine-like, or outside a pot :^). I win. Finally.

I’ve planted so much there these past eight years that I fail to recognize anything not white, with a yellow dot in the center; or yellow, with a black dot in the center. The picture below is from two years ago, before the weeds fully established themselves due to my not realizing they were weeds.


The first day, I cut everything down. This took two hours. I used a machete, not because it worked extremely well, but because it was black and big and made me feel perhaps more manly than I usually do. It worked best for stems held under tension, with the weight of the blade chopping down and rather horizontal.Machete I didn’t even cut myself, although I did come close on a few occasions.

The only thing that survived were the two grape vines. I have a third that I’ll be planting in the remaining space.



For the past week, I’ve been hauling loads of stone from a local quarry. My pick-up could only handle half a pallet at a time (1500 lbs), which I unload, one by one, stacking them in stone walls here and there while they await their final resting place.

Cut stone









The thick-cut stone will be used for edging pathways and patios that will be filled with quarry wash (gravel) and the thin-cut stones, which are actually fairly thick. The thick stones weigh from 40-80 lbs.

On the second day, I worked 4 hours in mid-day, in 90 degree weather. I drank two gallons of water and didn’t have to visit the restroom once, which was really very convenient. I excavated 1/4 to 1/3 of the lower garden and set the base blocks for the second to lowest level in the corner. I will wrap and cap the concrete walls with the thin-cut stone.

ExcavationYes, the concrete blocks are level, front to back and side to side.

I’ve taken the root balls of the flowers, and I’m sure a few weeds, and replanted them between trees on the margins and other places bare.

Water Lilly

Water Lilly

I thought water lillies were supposed to float on the top of the water. This one must be a mutant; else an aberrant water lotus tuber dropped from the sky.

My hard disc crashed over three weeks ago, and, well, between my actual day (and night) job, and yard work, it’s surprising I found the time to breathe–I know, poor me.

Sue and I’ve planted some minature trees in burlap bags filled with dirt and cut open on the top, so that the tree is growing on the top of a smooth rounded hillock. I looks pretty cool. One of the minatures is a twisty baby locust bush that is about 2.5 by 2.5 feet, and has a mature size of 15 by 15 feet. It is next to a path, and as it grows, I’ll prune the branches on the side of the path until the trunk is past seven feet so that the branches will extend overhead, if I’m not dead first.