Building a Flower Bed Using Mortar and Limestone!

Along with all the blessings of plopping your house down on a raw piece of land (peace and quiet, you can leave up your Christmas lights..etc.) you also accept the responsibility of setting up all the infrastructure. You build and maintain the roads, fences, and landscaping for your “neighborhood”. While landscaping was offered to us as part of our build, we passed on spending that money and like most things around here, preferred to do it ourselves. But, two years later, after the road (click to read about that here), the fence (we did that one twice! Here AND here) the gardens, the chicken coop…well, life….Ya know? It hasn’t ever been bumped to the top of the long list of to dos.

Here’s the house when we first moved in- tire tracks all through the yard!

But this year, we are determined to get the ball rolling for spring and are off to a great start!

This past weekend, we tackled building our front flower beds using left over limestone from our build and some white mortar mix.

On a recent, warm day, we set out our rocks in a way we thought we would like. We lived with it for a few weeks to be sure we were happy with it.

To prepare for the mortar, we unstacked, being very careful to keep them in the order we had very thoughtfully put them. They don’t fit together just any way!

We started by digging a shallow trench for our rocks to sit in. Be sure to dig wider than the actual rock, you can fill in with extra dirt later.

We then poured half a bag of this white mortar mix into our wheelbarrow. (Wear gloves, and avoid breathing the mortar dust.)

We slowly added a cup full of water at a time until the mortar made a paste. Add water slooooowly so that you avoid adding too much and having to add more mortar mix. And then more water….you get it. Once you mix it, you gotta use it.

Once we had a nice paste, we used a trowel to spread the mortar onto the bottom and side of each rock. We pressed down firmly, and even though a lot of our mortar mix oozed out the sides, we scraped it up and spread it on the next one. Waste not, want not….

This is while the mortar is still wet. Don’t worry, after smoothing, and dry, it looks much better.

After an hour, and half a bag of mortar mix, we had finished the back flower bed, and done a good portion of one of the front flower beds.

Back flower bed. This is where our strawberry patch and basil grow in the summer. There’s currently rosemary and leeks growing.
So far, so good! Lunch break!

Quick side note, we have been “working on” our difficult, rocky soil in these beds for a few months. By signing up on GetChipDrop.com, you can put yourself on a list to receive free (YES, FREE!) mulch in your area. Tree trimming/removal companies often chip the trees they remove and/or trim and then need to responsibly dispose of their mulch. We have received two truck loads and used it in many ways (hmmm. Future blog post maybe?!).

The truck drops the pile at the front gate, so it’s up to us to get it into the truck and bring it to our house. Another way we stay “ranch fit” ūüôā

The moisture from the mulch helps softens up the soil, adds good bacteria and makes it much easier to work with.

Nothing like a picture of the ground right?!
I do love the look of mulch and, bonus: how it helps our soil.
We used mulch for our front walkway here.
Better shot of the front walkway.
Planning a post soon, sharing how we built these sweet, little gates.

We have already begun some little seedlings indoors and once Spring finally comes, we hope to have some plants ready to go in.

We ordered these seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

As always, I’m so glad you’re here. Thank you so much for reading about another adventure here at our Yellow House. See you next week!

(If you want to make sure you don’t miss any of my quirky diys, outdoor projects, or ranch life musings, be sure you subscribe to my blog by typing your email in the “Follow” widget above. I appreciate every single follower, so thank you SO much. )

Smith Adventure LIFE

Hi friends! I know I’ve really dropped the ball on the blogging thing. I was practically begging people to read the blog, but once i moved in…..radio.silence. Y’all. I’m sorry. I haven’t sat down in weeks. I’ve been unpacking, organizing, re-organizing. Last week I cooked all our meals again and went back to the gym. Life is returning to “normal”, although by normal, I mean our new normal. Life in the yellow house normal.
In our first few days in the house, Brian and I were sitting in the living room, and I asked, “how can we be so comfortable here? Already?” His response, “because we can walk around with our shoes off?” He cracks me up! Seriously though, we had taken the big steps before we got here: move to Driftwood, live on the property… I just feel so blessed and so happy to get to come home to this place, this land, but also be comfortable. In MY home. Really. I feel overwhelmed with gratitude.

Anyway, our weeks have been filled with indoor projects, and the weekends with outdoor projects. We have a lifetime of work ahead, but we have accomplished a lot already. Here’s some pictures!

¬† ¬† ¬† The mantel is a work in progress. I’ve already changed it since I took this picture.

 

  Master bathroom. Choosing those mirrors was tricky business, and I wished at one (or  more) point(s) that I had just had them install the regular, builder grade mirrors.

But, I think these were a good choice and I love the way they look.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                             Guest bedroom

 

                                                                   Guest bath

 

   Front walkway. Still a work in progress, planning to chip a bunch of trees we just                                     pulled up, and put the mulch down on our new path.

 

Planting our seedlings, to go in the greenhouse. We planted, okra, spinach, lettuce,                                            jalapenos, kale, cucumbers and cilantro.

¬† The compost! Brian saved these pallets from the build, and really planned this out¬† ¬†himself. I am so impressed! We used the builder’s trash, including all their screws,¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† which were all discarded in the yard.

 

 

Yesterday we (as in, mostly Brian, and his awesome parents) pulled up little cedar trees from around all our big, beautiful Oaks. The difference is incredible. It makes the yard look so much cleaner. Our trees will thrive now that they can have all the nutrients and water all to themselves.  Today, we will be using these piles of gravel to smooth out our road, and possibly create a parking pad next to the house.
We also may try to tackle the garden beds, which Brian started yesterday.

 

We are working on something all the time, so they’ll be more to share soon! Thanks for reading!! XO

(Originally Published February 12, 2017)