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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.