When we built this house, we didn’t want a huge, concrete sidewalk in our front yard. We wanted something unique and more rustic, so we came up with a design using the bricks that were leftover. I had seen a similar design on Pinterest and helped my husband figure out how wide to make the sidewalk and what angle to lay the bricks to make the design work.
After he had everything laid out and made sure there were enough bricks, he dug out some of the dirt, leveled it, and then added sand to completely level the bricks. He also placed heavy-duty plastic edging along either side of the sidewalk to prevent the bricks from shifting from side to side.
We loved the look, and the bricks held up well until last summer. We had a tremendous amount of rain last May and then a drought the next few months. This caused the ground to shift under the bricks, and our beautiful sidewalk was ruined. Several bricks sunk in the middle about halfway down, and some bricks were raised in other places so that we were afraid someone would trip and injure themselves. We decided to replace the bricks with large flagstones.
My husband dug out all the bricks as well as the sand and dirt beneath them because the new stones were about twice as tall as the bricks. This was a lot of work, so he only removed a few sections of brick at a time so that we would still have a sidewalk even though he wasn’t finished. He removed the plastic edging too because we wanted grass to grow between the stones, and we didn’t need the edging to contain the bricks anymore.
He added sand again and made sure each stone was level and wouldn’t shift. These stones are so wide and heavy that they shouldn’t ever need to be replaced.
He placed the flagstones about four inches apart to accommodate all of the little feet that walk this path frequently. After he finishing placing all the stones, he added topsoil over the sand so that the grass would fill in between the stones.
He finished the new sidewalk on April 10th, and the grass has already grown between the flagstones. My father-in-law had already built a similar path on the other side of the driveway along their flower beds. This area receives too much shade for grass to grow well, so my father-in-law put decomposed granite between the flagstones and bordered each side with Oklahoma chopped stone.
We have been very pleased with our new sidewalk and love how it blends with the stone on the front of our house.
This summer seemed to fly by more quickly than ever before. It seemed like we were always busy, but I don’t remember what we were doing. I didn’t post often, so I’m really behind on sharing these photos.
Big Brother played baseball again in the spring and enjoyed playing catcher. He has had this baseball helmet for two years but refuses to take the MLB sticker off the brim. Goofy boy. He improved a lot this year, hitting, fielding, and throwing better. He is now swimming on a team at the Y instead of playing football (fall) and basketball (winter), but he wants to play baseball again in the spring.
Big Sister took ballet and tap (Combo I) last school year and just started Combo II for this school year. She performed in a recital in June and looked so cute and sassy in her costume.
In July, Big Sister lost her first tooth, began wearing a shorter hair style, and turned six years old. Whew! That was a busy month for sure!
The twins turned 18 months old in August and would not cooperate for pictures. We were unable to get any of them together for the first time since they were born. Stubborn little girls! I think they were a little shy. They wanted me to stay right with them the whole time. The next pictures we have taken will be of our whole family, so their daddy and I can each hold one. Maybe they will cooperate if they are in our arms. I can hope anyway.
My husband became the new chief of his fire department on August 1st. I think this is the best picture he has ever had taken. We are so proud of him!
My husband built raised beds for a vegetable garden at two of our previous homes, so he has had practice building the frames and filling the beds, and we have learned a few things from our previous gardens. We sold our previous home two years ago in May after planting our garden. It was actually a big selling point for the wife who bought our home, but I was disappointed that I had done all the work, and they were able to reap my harvest. Oh, well. I would rather have my current home and garden anyway. We are fortunate to live just down the driveway from my husband’s parents. Their house can be seen in the background of some of these photos along with their barn.
For our current garden, we decided to build 4′ x 8′ beds to maximize the space between the side of our house and the pasture fence, so my husband bought 8-foot-long two-by-sixes and cut some in half for the 4-foot sides. He also bought 4-inch square landscaping timbers and cut them into pieces about six inches long to put in each corner. He screwed the side pieces into the landscaping timber pieces, forming a rectangle, with Big Brother’s help. He made seven of these wooden frames for our garden. This is the most we have ever had, so we’ll see how well I do at tending our garden.
My husband sprayed Round-Up on the grass and weeds first to try to prevent them from growing in our garden. Then he put down a weed barrier fabric, using nails to secure it to the ground. We placed the wooden frames on top of the fabric and filled each one with a soil mixture that he bought by the truckload. We actually put part of the fabric down, placed a wooden frame on top, and he backed up his truck all the way to that frame to fill it. Then he would unroll more fabric, and we would place the next frame and fill it. This saved us from having to use the wheel barrow to move the soil to each bed. Sissy thought she could help Daddy with spreading the dirt, but that shovel is quite a bit bigger than she is!
We also purchased a truckload of decomposed (crushed) granite to line the walkways. This keeps them from being muddy, and my husband won’t have to mow or use the weed eater in the garden. We did this in our last garden as well, and it helped prevent grass from growing in the beds. This time, my husband also put the weed barrier fabric under the walkways, so I’m hoping I won’t be constantly pulling grass out of the walkways either. He put metal edging around the garden against the fence and on the back side to keep the granite from spilling into the yard. I leveled out the space under the gate and fit the square paving stones in place, which took me at least an hour. It was a good workout though.
Below is a photo of our garden taken today. We have planted broccoli, cauliflower, onions, basil, carrots, and sugar snap peas. (Disregard that holly bush in the middle of one bed. Hubby put it there, so it would get watered this morning, but the wind blew it over. We will start on our landscaping this weekend and find a place to plant that holly bush.) I started romaine lettuce in a flat container today, and my mother-in-law started my tomatoes, peppers, and herbs in her green house a couple weeks ago. We will also plant cantaloupe, watermelon, pumpkins, and butternut squash later, but we are planning to plant those towards the back of our backyard, since the vines would go everywhere and take over our vegetable garden. It’s a work in progress, but we are looking forward to having fresh vegetables this summer.