Lack of forethought means a lot more work…

Almost three years ago, I gave up on the cypress mulch in the garden paths and put rock down. I was tired of re-mulching the paths every year ($$) and the mulch washing away when we had a hard rain.  I failed to think before doing so…

The reason I had to re-mulch every year is because as an organic substance, it degrades over time. A long-term composting, if you will.  I put the rock down right on top of the mulch. I should’ve done the hard work of taking up everything first.

Two-plus years later, nearly all of the mulch is now dirt. Nice stuff, too, according to the weeds that are filling the pathways. But it’s compacted down, so there’s moss filling in gaps. Weed killer, of any kind (and I’ve tried just about everything), doesn’t completely work. (Salt does kill the moss – leaving black crap between the rocks instead of green.) The paths are a mess I can’t keep up with, and it all offends my Virgo sense of neatness. So, I decided it was time to take up the rock, get rid of the dirt, and put the rock back down on the weed-block fabric we’d put down when the garden was originally built. (At least we thought about that!)

I thought it would be a simple matter of scooping the rock to the side, shoveling all the dirt off (I have plenty of places to dump dirt) and smoothing the rock back down. Not! I also failed to think about the weight of the rocks themselves, or the fact that those paths get walked on – a lot. The rocks have worked themselves all the way down into the dirt.

So, it’s scoop it up a bit at a time, put those scoops into a screened box the husband built, wash it off, empty the box into the wheelbarrow, repeat, ad nauseum. Once the wheelbarrow’s full, clean up the rest of the dirt, dump the rocks back into their spot, and continue. Unfortunately, I can only do this for about an hour at a time before my back, hips, and knees start barking. (Gads, I hate getting older.) I can get about 9 square feet done before having to stop. To give you some idea of the scope of the project, just the outer ring is about 400 square feet.

I’d told husband it was going to be a summer-long project. At the time, I had no idea how right I was…