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Friday, August 6, 2021

The BIG Fix! Or how we remedied our snow melt puddle...

Water water everywhere! Part of our yard was very sloped. Unfortunately, that slope stopped right at the path to enter and leave the house. Not a problem until the snow melted each spring...and The BIG Fix got rid of the water and gave us a nice garden area to enjoy! From the DIY Homemade Household side of the blog!

Gardening in Montana is quite different from the Pacific Northwest. 

The ground here is sandy, rocky and the drainage can be slow. But I totally love Montana, including the new-to-me gardening challenges! And this project put them to good use. 

As our winter snow melted it created a large puddle right where our walkway is to the front yard where our vehicle is parked. That run-off puddle was something we needed to remedy because it lasts forever as the snow continues to melt. In winter here, with changing temperatures we can have a puddle of water today and a mini ice skating rink the next...

Like most projects, it was more work, more supplies and more time needed to complete.

It is hard to tell in this photo, but the slope was steep enough this area took five (5) cubic yards of topsoil to flatten out the sloping of the yard to stop the snowmelt runoff. 

Since there was no way to get the dump truck close to this area, the dirt was shoveled into the wheelbarrow and moved and dumped...countless times. 

The area beside the cinder block wall was the perfect spot for a little garden bed. I decided it would be a rhubarb bed because rhubarb is a favorite of mine and the heat from the blocks won't hurt it. We filled in the area with rich compost from our compost pile and planted 5 large rhubarb plants. 

This photo gives a good view of just how large the area was that needed to be backfilled to get rid of the slope and reclaim our walkway!

Use what you have! 

We had reclaimed 6X6 beams left from the recycled wood that we salvaged when we were building the Bird Habitat earlier in this year.

Those leftover 6X6 beams were used to trim the top of the cinder block wall. I love the spikes sticking up, plus it prevents folks from using the wall as a bench to sit on...We also made rustic metal patches to "piece" the beams together. 

Since we completed this project we are harvesting rhubarb regularly and stocking the freezer! From my perspective, all the work was worth it to have this rhubarb bed!

Later on, the only change or update we had to make to the rhubarb bed was this short fence was added to keep the hens out, but of course, it did NO GOOD! Later we built short gabion towers between the plants and used additional flat rocks to act as a "mulch". This extra step has worked...the rhubarb stalks are not being slept on and destroyed in the process of daily outdoor time with the girls! 

Shoveling gravel is the workout, no gym required!

Once the wall was built and the backfilled completed, it was time to gravel the walkway from the car parking area to our apartment door. When it was all said and done, five (5) yards of gravel were shoveled and wheelbarrowed into place, to create the walkway...

Because the gravel was delivered to the driveway, we needed to get it moved quickly. This is how we completed the project...

The grass and sod were burned off and scraped away, the dirt was leveled if needed by scraping the little bumps off with a flat head shovel. While leveling was needed, it did not need to be perfect, as lots of gravel was next.

The outside edge of the walkway was determined, and large rocks were laid out to mark the outside boundary. The rocks are a lot of work to move, and to date, I have moved thousands of pounds of them! And will probably move a thousand more...

Bricks were placed in a square pattern to act as pavers for flower pots. Again, like the 6X6 beams,  we were fortunate to find free, used bricks for this garden spot outside our door. 

In addition, a French drain was dug to accommodate the water runoff from a rain chain at the corner of our porch roof.

Then the entire area was filled with gravel. Wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow!

I love the finished area right outside our apartment door! I am playing around with the idea to place a small outdoor table and chair set right here!

Since we did not have enough bricks, a few pavers were used to finish out the the opposite side of the yard. 

Unfortunately, we did not have enough bricks for the car park side of the walkway. Because I knew flowers would be wanted there also, we purchased pavers at the building supply store in town. Since these two areas are on opposite sides of the root cellar, the different materials do not clash. 

These recycled flower pots are opposite the walkway from the cinder block wall and rhubarb bed. There are seven flowerpots total. Each was planted with colorful perennials, except the center one... 

The flowerpots are arranged with the largest one in the center, descending in size outwardly. 

The center one being the largest holds a yellow rose. I have planted a yellow rose in the yard of every home I have owned and lived in for the last 25 years, in honor of my Grandmother Carter. 

This short roofed building is our root cellar, each side had a rock garden bed that was already established when we bought the house. I am pretty sure these rock beds were put in to accommodate the snowmelt run-off from the root cellar roof. 

I have gathered old boxes and other items to use as planters that sit on top of the rocks. In this bed, we have daisies in all the boxes, with chives, rosemary, and thyme in various metal buckets and a watering can.

Once all the gravel was raked smooth, we did a little rearranging to the bricks. Since we had 20 bricks (counting the broken pieces that we made work) we ended up with five pads for flowerpots to sit on. Each has a different perennial, each of the small pots can be picked up and stored in the shop to overwinter. 

Without outside electrical power available on this end of the root cellar we needed to come up with a way to light up the walkway. The porch light at our door did not shine enough light to reach the walkway. To make this walkway safe for nighttime use, we went solar! 

Puck lights were placed beside each flowerpot and a standing light at each end of the rhubarb bed. They work perfectly to shine a little light for a safe walkway.

With the hard work done, all we need to do now is water the flowerpots and the rhubarb! When everything is in bloom, this is a very pretty garden area to enjoy.


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Would you like to comment?

  1. Wow what a project -- I love the end result. We use solar lights on our deck.

    1. Thanks so for the kind words! To be honest since I fell on a "puddle" that wasn't a puddle, our first winter here and broke my wrist, I wanted to avoid that in my own yard! And I got rhubarb in the end...

  2. Love the solar lights! And I am a bit jealous that you can harvest your own rhubarb whenever you like it.

    1. As it turns out our hens love the rhubarb also! But when they get in the bed, they tend to trample the stalks, we had to do a little remodel to the spaces between the far so good! Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate it.

  3. You are doing so well with the gardening and I absolutly LOVE your views! The solar lights are so pretty.

  4. That was quite the project! What a lot of work. Looks great though and hopefully really effective at stopping that puddle. I'm a huge rhubarb fan so your patch looks fantastic to me!

    1. Thanks! I have to admit, I am glad it is now completed...But boy oh boy are we getting rhubarb for the freezer.

  5. That looks lovely! I bet it was so much work but it sure looks like it was well worth it. Pinned.

  6. That sure took care of the problem and gave you extra gardening space!! Thanks so much for linking up at #IMadeItMondayLinkParty 2. Shared.

    1. I loved our new walkway with all the rhubarb. Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate it.

  7. CONGRATS! Your post is FEATURED at #IMadeItMondayLinkParty 3.


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