Friday, February 3, 2012

How I Am Making Gravel

When we bought this house, it came with large piles of dirt.  The outer piles had been formed into a dirt bike riding course, with a really nice curve and some jumps, like 8 steep little hills with a curve in the middle.  And since we purchased the property we have wondered, what will we do with those hills?

Well, the first thing we did was introduce them to the kids as 'the mountains'.  These hills are the kids' favorite thing to play with in our yard.

A few weeks ago I decided that the area right outside our front door was destined to be a wildflower garden.  But, it was to have walkways lined with rocks and little pockets of flowers also surrounded with rocks.  Gravel would be perfect for the space between flowers, but where to get it?  Any amount of money was too much for this project.

Then, I saw these:
'The mountains' otherwise known as - 'random piles of dirt'.

And I thought, the soil is pretty course, I bet I could make some gravel and then well, if I wanted the whole two acres covered in plastic with a layer of gravel on top to deter weeds, well I'm half way there!  Over the course of a few days, my plan involved the metal window screens that came with the house.  Or rather, on the house.  But seeing as we have a ton of windows and about 5 screens, we will need to re-screen most of the house anyways and if one old metal screen gets injured in the making of gravel, it's a small price to pay.

So I took two patio chairs, my old screen and set to work!

The set up.

How it works: shovel dirt on top of screen, move it all around until dust and debris stop falling out the bottom.  Move remaining bits (gravel) to bucket.  Take bucket, pour in desired spot.  Return.  Repeat.

So I got a few buckets full after sifting.  Here is the result:

Not the most uniform, but over some plastic it will definitely keep the weeds away!

Now.  There was the stuff that fell out of the bottom and it was beautiful.

Extremely uniform, wonderful, slightly orange sand.

I was thinking of all the uses the sand could have and decided that it needed to go on the walk ways through the wildflower garden.  When I sift the dirt, I get about half and half.  Here are some pictures of the gravel and sand in action.

Gravel in action, the stick in that clump of grass there is a rose bush.

Sand on the walkway.

I'm really excited to see how it will look when the whole garden has the sand and gravel in the appropriate places.  It will be a long time going because two buckets of gravel and two of sand take a totally of about 45 minutes.  But I'm out there watching the kids play most days anyways, so it's all good.

I can't wait to take my rake and leave wonderful little rake lines down my walk ways with bright bloom wildflowers hanging out the side of their planters... Slow and steady!  April looks like it may possibly be a big month here at Dusty Acres, so I'm setting April as my set up goal for the front and back gardens.  It's a tall order, but I'm a tall girl...


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