Happy May from Desert Rose! This month's blog is part two of a three part series all about a substantial landscaping improvement project completed by Desert Rose. If you missed the first part, check it out here, but if you did not, we will pick up where we left off - at the gate.
After walking through the gate to the side of the house, the first thing you see is another gate between the house and the studio. The first thing to be done was to remove the second fence and gate to ensure that the yard wouldn’t feel so isolated. Once the debris was cleared out we began trenching a dry river bed next to the studio to help divert the water from the canales to the front yard. This was completed by using a gradual slope that continued below the fence to the front yard so the water would travel to a field, away from the house and the landscaped portions of the yard. At the same time, our staff began to cut more flagstone for the pathway so that it would continue seamlessly from the front yard through the side of the house.
We had another crew start the demolition on the stucco flowerbed that surrounded the porch. This was accomplished with elbow grease, as well as some sledgehammers and a jack hammer. The stucco flowerbed was made up of cinder-block that was reinforced with rebar and concrete, which made it extremely difficult and time consuming to remove the flowerbed. Once the debris was removed and thrown into a large dumpster, it was time to re-do the flower bed. The first thing the client wanted was for us to remove the dirt 3-4 feet deep and place chicken wire at the bottom of the bed. This was to prevent gophers from digging underneath the bed and destroying any plants in the future. Once the bottom of the bed was prepped, it was time to trench the area where the landscape blocks would go.
The flowerbed was designed to be three blocks high. Two blocks are above grade; that way the height of the flowerbed would match that of the patio. There is one block below grade which is our common practice to provide a solid foundation for the block.
Next, fresh soil was needed to amend and backfill the flowerbed, which would also help prepare the bed for a successful planting. Lavender, Agastache, Red Twig Dogwood, Karl Forester grasses, Yarrow, and Giant Soapwort were planted to give the client a variety of plants that would bloom from spring to fall.
The last step for the side of the house was to finish up the flagstone work. The crew had spent a full day cutting and hand chiseling the flagstone to prepare it to be laid and leveled. The ground was leveled and tamped after which the sand was spread to help with the leveling of the flagstone. Each piece is laid on top of a leveled layer of sand, hammered with a rubber mallet, and checked with a level to see what adjustments are needed. Every flagstone piece needs to be leveled left to right and front to back, as well as leveled with surrounding pieces. Once the flagstone was complete, we laid weed barrier on all areas that needed to be graveled, including the dry river bed.
More Pueblo Rose gravel was brought in and spread on both sides of the flagstone. After we finished with the small gravel, several wheelbarrows of two to four inch river rock was brought in to fill the dry river bed. This process entailed spreading the river rock by hand to give the dry river bed its unique look. With the dry river bed completed it was on to the backyard, which will be covered in next month's blog!
Phew! Until then, happy gardening from Desert Rose!