When my father passed a few weeks ago, the fine folks at work gave me a sympathy card and a gift card to Milmont Greenhouses. My boss had no idea that this is quite possibly my favorite place on Earth. How fortuitous!
Keeping with the intent of the gift, I decided to build a memorial garden for Dad over the Memorial Day weekend. It’s just an extension of my shade garden, but I kept him in mind when devising my plans and think of him every time I water the Pachysandra. It is indeed a gift that will keep giving.
In order to extend the garden, I had to build a retaining wall at the low end. And while the plants were a gift, the rest of the construction was on me so it had to be done on an extreme budget. I played around with a few ideas and decided that the cheapest material to work with is landscape timber (under $2 per 8′ length). I pounded a combination of 12″ rebar and landscape spikes into the ground and wove the timbers between the metal. I didn’t design the wall to withhold a lot of stress, but it is remarkably strong. The design is a bit “loose” and timbers are disturbingly bright, but ivy will eventually cover and conceal the wall. If not, I may stain the wood a dark brown – just to tone it down a bit. The plants are the same as in the rest of this garden: Pachysandra, false spirea, coral bells and fern (ostrich).
Once the retaining wall was complete, I decided to take the project just a bit further and added steps along the garden and down the steep and slippery slope. Again, I used landscape timbers and landscape spikes. And bags and bags and bags of top soil! I will top off with mulch at some point, but I exceeded my budget and my back capacity and called it quits for the day.
While I was in landscaping mode, I rebuilt the little patio I started about 5 years ago. I don’t know what kind of surface I’m going to use (mulch, gravel, paving stones), but the structure is in place. Now I just need to clean out the leaves and weeds from the rest of that section, rebuild the crawl space doors and paint, and 1/10th of my backyard will be done. Yay.
FYI: Total cost of project so far – not including plants, Aleve and Bengay – was under $100. Not too shabby!