New Concrete Paver Walk-Up

Concrete Paver Walk-Up

The powers that be long ago declared our old walk-up composed of 15-inch square concrete pavers to be unsuitable, and last week I finally made the plunge to replace it myself. I think it was the $4000 quote from a landscaper that provided the final incentive.

Above is the after photo, with 6×9 concrete pavers and new 6×6 timbers, bringing the supplies cost to around $200. The sand hasn’t completely settled, yet, and I may have to redo some pavers if they end up being too uneven, but even redoing them all wouldn’t be too bad.

The only physically hard part was actually moving the old and new pavers around. Skill-wise, the hard part was cutting the edge pavers, especially the ones needing diagonal cuts (near the timbers). I did all the cutting with a hammer and chisel, which worked OK for short perpendicular cuts and not as well for others. I only had one successful long diagonal cut. Usually it would break where I wanted eventually, and it doesn’t look too bad having a couple of pavers glued together with liquid nails for the unwanted breaks.

Anybody need any 15×15 concrete pavers?

Good Forsythia — Bad Forsythia

Natural forsythia

It’s great to see the forsythia plants blooming, but some are better than others. The photo above is a good forsythia, and the photo below is a bad forsythia. Forsythia grow and bloom on long shoots and aren’t meant to be shaped like boxwoods. Please prune with care.

Badly pruned forsythia

Deer Attack Quickly

Deer Eaten PlantOne downside of living in a heavily-wooded neighborhood is the abundance of deer and other pests. They decimated our azaleas over the winter but have left us mostly alone this spring. I guess there’s plenty to eat this time of year.

However, we only had our annuals in the ground a couple of days before I found the bare stalks in thid photo. One half-buried leaf remains. It’s as if the leaf dove into the mulch to avoid being eaten by the deer. Time to spray more Deer-Off.

Mulching Done

Mulched BackyardI probably could have scrimped by with 4 scoops of hardwood mulch, but it was nice having 5 scoops so I could be generous with it. I also bought cedar mulch in bags for the paths. At right is a shot of the backyard, which was tougher than the front since I had to carry the mulch up the stone steps where the cart couldn’t go. So in total, I’ve spread out 5 cubic yards of hardwood mulch for the beds and 18 bags (2 cubic feet each) of red cedar mulch for the paths.

Shoot. Just remembered I have seven more bales of pine straw to spread out…

Weird Azaleas

Late-Blooming Red AzaleaBonnie says we have weird azaleas. Most azaleas stopped blooming around here weeks ago, but here’s one that’s just peaking. We have others that are just starting to bloom, and we have some that bloom in the spring and in the fall.

The weirdest of all are those that die and bloom at the same time, like the one below. You can see a dying branch in the upper-right of the photo. I don’t know what’s going on, but it seems like whole sections of a plant dies off and those branches become brittle enough to snap off.Azalea Blooming and Dying

A Scoop of Mulch

Last time I ordered mulch it was by the load at Cordell Earthworks of Durham, which is about a small dump truck load and was about right for our needs. This time I ordered from a different place, Southern States of Carrboro, and they measure mulch in scoops, which I figured was about the same as a load. It turns out that a scoop is a lot less than a load. I spread out the scoop in a couple of days and ordered four more scoops, learning that one scoop is equal to one cubic yard. Below are the photos of each delivery for future reference. The Southern States mulch was woodier (less composted) than the Cordell mulch, but surely more expensive (I don’t remember the prices).

One Scoop Four Scoops
One scoop of hardwood mulch One scoop of hardwood mulch