Saturday, April 5, 2008

Stepping Stones Galore!

I have diligently been working for about 18 months to collect enough 'bowling ball stepping stones' to totally carpet the parking area of Mr. Fix-it's garage. As you know from my introduction and previous posts, Mr. Fix-it is my husband and he collects old cars. We had a three car garage built for him in 2002. Our agreement was that he could only collect enough cars to fill up the garage. Unfortunately for me, he had that many before we even built the garage and now wants an addition!

Because we are a good pair and have been married a long time, we are very good at compromising and negotiating. He negotiates he needs more space for parking. I negotiate I need more space for gardening, then we each kind of get our way. He gets more cars which take up more garden space; then I go off and expand gardens in an out of the way area, or I work to landscape his cars (just kidding-only around his cars).

The stepping stones are for landscaping his area. Since I maintain the lawn, I am the one who has to look at the weeds growing out from under his many parked cars and trailers in our backyard. To combat the issue of wild weeds and weed whacking, I decided to install some hardscaping under his area.

There is a local bowling ball factory (about 35 miles from me); which sells stepping stones made from heavy, VERY heavy, fiberglass for ten cents a piece. The caveat is that not all stones are of a uniform thickness, and the stones are sold on a first come, first served basis. Like I already said, I have been working for over 18 months to completely fill in this parking area. I can't tell you how many times I have made the trip to get the stones only to find the factory had none available.

I finally gathered up enough to finish the area under Mr. Fix-it's very long enclosed trailer. The area to be filled is shown in the second picture, and the trailer parked in the area is shown in the first picture. Do you see those long weeds and grass growing on the left side of the area? When you have a car or trailer parked on lawn, just enough sunlight hits the outer area that grass and weeds (like poke weed) can grow just out of reach of the lawnmower. I am hoping the stones will fill in and prevent the weedy problem. Less maintenance down the road for me.

It took a full 120 stepping stones to fill in under the trailer area. I could not have done it had my good friend Geri not traveled to the factory and picked up 45 of those stones during the first week I had jury duty. I spent all one Saturday planting the heavy and sturdy stones. Planting the stones meant digging out the dirt so that the stones would all be level. I emptied about 20 wheelbarrows full of dirt into the area behind the garage; which had to be built up when the garage was built to compensate for the slope. I have been filling this area in for over 18 months and can finally see an end to the work. Yahoo!

The last picture shows behind Mr. Fix-it's garage. Initially when the garage was built we paid for a few dump trucks of red clay for backfill. That was a mistake, but at the time it was cheap and worked for a while. We should have gotten more trucks full of good soil and really designed a workable slope for this area. The initial slope was too steep and tended to wash away when the runoff from the garage fell onto it.

I am trying to rectify the situation by adding more good quality soil, a few tiers, daylillies and creeping lilyturf; all intended to hold the soil. This picture show the low end of the slope. Where I am standing is actually higher. Once I complete it this spring, I should have a lovely slope for tons of native orange daylillies that are low maintenance. You can already see the daylillies growing on the far end.

The little shed on the other side of the chain link is the adjacent property owner's shed. He built it in the middle of a dry stream bed. Now you can see why I am concerned about runoff. I really don't mind the shed, just the location as it was not a smart location. He at first tried to build it right ON the property line; which is not allowed in Montgomery County and could have affected my property. The runoff flows right through the middle of his shed and has damaged quite a few trees in the area by carving a stream out of the ground containing roots. What a shame. The dry stream bed is clearly marked on the plats for at least three properties in this area, including mine.

in the garden....finishing up with stepping stones.


  1. What a cool concept. I take it those are bowling balls lining the fence to the left in the first picture

  2. That is a bad place to park a shed! That's a neat idea for the bowling ball company to make stepping stones. How closely do they resemble stones?

  3. Good morning all! jillybean, yup, those are definitely bowling balls lining the fence. That is my bowling ball garden. they are bright and colorful, slow down water run off and make a neat edging. They did not come from the bowling ball factory. I have a local source who gives me the cracked or otherwise unuseable balls which work perfect for here and behind the garage. I haven't posted about the bowling ball shoes and the sedums I grow in them, but it all ties together to make for a different garden!

    Dave, Yes, definitely a bad place fir a shed. They are trying to sell the property-yahoo! Now the next person will have to deal with the issues. At least one of the trees damaged is leaning toward our garage and the tree forester has already written a letter informing the homeowners of the possibility of it falling. We are trying to wait until they move to talk to the new owners because these people are-how shall I say it-different?

    The stepping stones come in either a variety of colors. The ones I used here are HEAVY, and are brown or cream or shades of those colors. They are hexagon shaped and blend right in with the environment. They never rust, rot or decay. They actually disappear once installed but still provide a nice base and barrier to weeds. I have allowed some moss to grow between the stones and to allow for soak in of the water and breathing of septic lines if they are here. The stones are smooth, that is a drawback as they can get slippery, but they have worked for us, the dogs slip on them though. The money the factory collects for selling them goes to the United Way, that is why I think they are so cheap-10 cents! They are like 18" I think. I use the white ones (which are not as heavy) as paths in the garden. The white fades to a tan and they seem to disappear. Which is good. I don't much white in the garden.

    I should've emailed you about Skeeter, I never thought. She had her tonsils out and that is hard when you are grown. I know she will appreciate your well wishes.

  4. Hi Tina --you always amaze me with your use for items and how they all tie together --I love the colored bowling balls. They remind me of gumballs --something fun:) Although, I wouldn't want to be the one toting those bad boys around, hahaha. I'm sorry about the runoff problem --I actually saw that where I live --it really made me sad to see someone totally ruin another persons yard. Now, when it rains the water races into another families yard --it looks terrible. I was wondering if there was some sort of law/code against this --I don't know either person but drive by the houses each day. The stepping stones make Mr. Fix-its area look great --looks like a stone driveway. I should get off --looking much too nice outside today -still a tad cool but it should start warming up in a few hours. See ya! Hi Jean, Lola, Dawn, Dave, Jillybean,
    Nina and Skeeter!

  5. Good morning anonymous, There is actually a code governing stormwater runoff. The codes officer and I talked over this issue with the adjacent property owner. His work did not affect my property directly, but the pond behind our properties. It was all irresponsible. But here is the website:
    It is the Building and Codes homepage. Once there click on Stormwater information. At last look it was more than 25 pages long. I read it like three times. It spells out exactly what homeowners can and can't do. You actually need a permit when disturbing an area more than one acre. So the adjacent property owner when he regraded and built his pond should've gotten a permit. Not sure if he did. But you also CANNOT regrade your property so as to divert water onto another's property. Especially when the map/plat clearly shows the direction of water travel and how the lay of the land is. Homeowners affected by others should first and foremost try to work it out with the other property owner, that failing, they do have options. I am sure all counties have these codes and I am glad we do. It needs to be more specific and is still a work in progress due to laws changing here in the south, but we DO have laws that protect homeowners. In Maine, where my sister was a codes enforcement officer she was well versed in their laws. Lots more laws up there to protect rights. Down here people would say it takes away their rights. That would be the liberal vs conservative side and I will have to step back from that. Fer sure! But check it out because water can damage property QUICKLY. Have fun outside today. I am yardsaleing today and going to a Home Show. Some speakers from HGTV will be there. I can't wait until Mr. Fix-it gets off work so we can go out! ttyl

  6. I did not know bowling ball factories made this kind of stepping stones, left overs from the balls? Old time glass blowers used to clear their tools by making marbles, thats why some weren't round, highly sought after today, might find a few on your trip!
    The stones look really nice.

  7. I did not know that about glass blowers. I will have to tell Liz because she loves glass blowing and maybe she can get some one of a kind marbles. The stones are a nice way of using the excess materials and sure have helped me out! Have fun cleaning today-I sure don't envy you. The mobile is gone soon?

  8. I think those stones are great! Never heard of them but the price is sure right! I know how you feel about the shed in the drainage area. Our silly neighbors filled up the dry bed (run off) under our fence that separates our property with boulders to keep his dogs out of our yard. It keeps the dogs in his yard but makes the water flood our driveway. We tried to work with him to change things and even called the county. The county said they could not do anything unless it was a running creek! Arggg. So the Saint and I took out the huge rip rap and pounded rebar steaks through the fence and into the ground. Works like a charm! Now we have to go out and remove twigs, leaves and other debris that washes up with gully washing rainfalls. I resent having to tend to what should be the neighbors chores!

    I plan to get caught up on your Blog today Dave...

  9. Hi Skeeter! We all love you coming on here. I remember you mentioned this neighbor before and it IS so frustrating with 'neighbors' like that. At least you came up with a good solution and tried to work with him and the county. So frustrating and you have done such a good job with all of your yard. Is it under water now? We are. So much rain! I do hope it helps Georgia get out of the drought range. 1" per week will work. :)

    I pulled out my plants the other day and they all made it. The lantana you gave me looks great. The huge one. I don't think my cuttings made it. I will be planting it out this week. Can't wait to see it in bloom.

    Are you feeling much better now? Back to normal? Hope so. Tell the Saint we think he is great. I thought it funny your remark about him not being happy you could talk!:) ttyl..The Home show is calling for us now.

    Where is mom today? Must've been a late night. Hi Nina.

  10. You sure are getting some wet stuff up there! Mom sent me some pictures taken at the Conservation Club boat ramp. She was standing at the top of the boat ramp and is even with the water! Real scary looking. I recall lots of floods on the river when I was a child but yall have not had a good one such as this in a long time...

    We are not so lucky but getting more rain then projected this winter. The lake is now 9 feet below normal but climbing with each rainfall. We have 3/4 inch in the gauge as I type with more to fall throughout the day. It is to clear off by Masters Monday. I hope so as I dont want to wear flippers to the golf course! LOL.

    Nope I am still not back to normal as of yet. I am taking it easy and trying to do all the right things to keep the recovery on track. I still cannot eat solid foods so more broth, creamed potatoes and banana popsicles for me today!

    Yep, I have been doting over the Saint since I was able to get off my butt yesterday!

    I walked the yard and took note of the spring blooms. The dogwoods are magnificent this year! The azaleas are not as pretty so far but the ones we have do not all open at the same time. But it does look like the drought may have damaged them... The Crepe Myrtles are greening up now and the snowball bush is loosing the green to the balls of white that are popping through...

    The Saint has Monday off so after we attend the Masters, we will drive around town to enjoy everyone’s beautiful yards. Augusta is nicknamed "The Garden" city and I am sure it is due to its beauty in the spring....

    I am glad your lantana made it! I was wondering about that. You should see the purple Verbena now! I will send you a picture of it. Yesterday I went out to snap one and Tiger Swallow was sipping nectar! Remember I had to take the coral bells you gave me out of the ground due to soggy area? Well, I did not have time to plant it so just put it back into a container with some other stuff I dug out of the garden. I left them all at the side of the house and yesterday I noticed the coral bells were blooming! I must find the perfect spot to plant them....

    Back to couch now…

  11. Not a late night as we were home at 10pm but got up early today and spent most of the day being sick.
    Don't know if it was something I ate or the flu. Since I am the only one that got sick think it must have been the flu. Am able to stay outta the bathroom now but still feel crappy. I did have my flu shot but they only work on some of the strains. Maybe the wine did me in. Since I am not a drinker I only had a half of a glass (and only drank half of that) just to be polite. But I have such a dislike for the taste maybe it was the cause. Now had it been a good mudslike maybe I woulda been sick from drinking too much. That is the only stuff I like the taste of at all and I really like them, except a really cold beer with lobsters or steamers.

  12. Hi Tina --I was outside since this morning --after I posted. I finished the yard --all 5 yards full of mulch are spread and not an ounce left --I probably could go for six yards full next time. I feel pretty tired but need to get the kids back out for a bike ride. I met a very lovely couple walking behind my house --they live in my subdivision. I gave them one of your cards so they could find the new blog. They are wanting to plant a tree to block a telephone pole by there house and I suggested talking to you. They read your blog and saved a few articles that you wrote --I believe the soil testing one. I was so happy to share your new blog site with them --very lovely couple and they have a really nice yard. They had to start the yard themselves --landscape it and it is really looking good. I hope you enjoy your day with Mr. Fix-it --my hubby is working today --but should be off tomorrow:)
    Hi Skeeter --your area sounds wonderful --I think it would be so nice to drive around and admire all that hard work people put into there yards. I hope your recovery is going well --they have some delicious butter pecan ice cream bars at Walmart --not sure if you could tolerate the pecans but these things are absolute heaven:) --they aren't for the kids:) rofl

    Hi Jean --I'm sorry you weren't feeling well. It might've been something you ate --it could've just upset your stomach. That happens in my sisters house --her hubby could eat anything and if she tries it she gets sick. Please drink lots of fluids and get some rest so you will be back up --and about.
    I guess I should get a move on --I did mow the front yard but the red beauty would probably bog down if I took her out today:( The backyard lays low and is very squishy. See you all later!

  13. Been on the couch resting all afternoon. I tried to catch an old Betty Davis movie but caught some ZZZZZ’s instead. Then I Love Lucy kept me going for a few hours. Only took one spoonful of medicine today for pain so the pain is getting better.

    Hey Anonymous, that Butter Pecan sounds yummy but I cannot eat anything with nuts or any substance in it just yet. It feels as though I have nuts stuck in my throat now with the scabs. arggg. Sounds like you had a full days work! Come spread some pine straw for me! LOL...

    Jean, Sorry you are not feeling well. Same thing in this house as Anonymous says, the Saint and I can eat the same thing and he is fine while I get sick. Thank goodness we dont really get sick that often though...Hope you feel better soon....

    Okay, back to the couch I go for my pre-night nap. Ha, all I seem to do is sleep anymore! LOL What ever it takes to get me back to 100% is okay though…

  14. Hi Skeeter, I am vacillating between writing properly on here or just typing without regard to capitalization. It is killing my how to do it. I notice most type properly but it slows me down. I am trying. Anyhow, we have gotten tons of rain. It was nice of your mom to snap a few pictures. Sounds like something my mom would do. I am so happy the lake is coming back up! I can see you and the Saint out there on that pontoon soaking up some rays pretty soon! Do you take the kittys with you? Just thought of that. I would take BJ probably. You get some rest, that is what my mother is doing too I am sure. Weekends are good for that, especially if you are recovering from surgery or sick.

    Mom, I am so sorry you are sick! I knew something wasn't quite right when you weren't on here the first thing. Usually anonymous lets me know if you are out of town or if someone has something else going on like a birthday and she didn't say anything so I was wondering. Maybe it will pass as quickly as it came. Like anonymous said, drink plenty of fluids and relax.

    anonymous, To use your word-WOWSER-you were working hard-and still taking a bike ride afterwards? I would be on the couch with mom and skeeter and big bottle of aspirin. Hey you all, this is a MARATHON runner, a mother of four and former Army soldier who goes non-stop! Hope you don't mind me telling that but it is quite an accomplishment;)

    Thanks for sharing the blog with your neighbors. I am glad they enjoyed the articles-even that awful technical soil testing one. I hope they got something from it. They should feel free to ask any questions and maybe I can help out with their choice of a tree. I already have a great one as I have seen it planted in this way many times in the area. A Red Tip Photinia. If it is in full sun this shrub will do awesome! It is evergreen and grows quickly but will never interfere with the wires. The pole will disappear, truly.

    Mr. Fix-it and I attended the home show. It was so cool, but honestly he had more fun than me. We learned he can have a concrete specialist pump up under his garage floor, which has settled-without disturbing the existing concrete or anything. Then we went grocery shopping-or at least he did. I just pushed the buggy. Now to dinner. It is so nice sometimes to stay out of the garden and spend time with family. ttyl

    Hey Lola, Did the rain pass? Dawn, did you get your cleaning done?

  15. Hi Skeeter --when you get better you'll have to try those Butter pecan ice cream bars:0) For now, I'm sure smooth pudding bars and frozen ice pops sound alot better. I will probably feel the blunt of what I did today tomorrow, lol. I hope not though since it's church and Sunday school tomorrow. I hope your resting speeds up the healing process --sounds terribly painful. Boy number two had it done --but he isn't one to tell me much --had ear tubes four times and had a plug taken out of the back of his ear to fill in the hole from all those ear tubes. I would never want to imagine how scary and painful it was --it was hard enough for me to see him like that --so please get well. The garden will be happy to see you all healthy again. I couldn't mow that darn backyard --it will probably take a few days for things to dry out up here. I saw so many creeks and rivers overflowing yesterday --scared me!
    Hi Jean -hope you feeling better tonight --
    Hi Tina --hope you had a great day today. I need to start the bath routine --we are all dirty mulch covered individuals with a grass coating too, lol. And, of course it's almost bed time for two of them:0) I hope to watch a movie tonight --not sure what is on but I'm sure I haven't seen it, lol. I rarely watch but it is a weekend so maybe something good. See you later! Oh, Tina I mulched around all my onions --now they look so cute. Two ladies stopped this morning to see what was coming up there --I told them onions, lol. They said OH??? I said they are in the backyard and I didn't want to dig a special spot to put them --they are next to my tulips and daffys. What a lovely sight:)

  16. anonymous, I can picture those onions and before you know everyone will be stopping by your garden for advice and a look see to see what is growing! Maybe tomorrow the backyard will dry out. Today was nice!

  17. Hi Guys,
    Sorry you don't feel well mom, your right, the flu shot didn't cover everything and the strain affected everyone differently, Jack of all trades had vomiting, Nikki had a real bad head cold for 2 days with aches, I had head cold, tired , aches and pains for a week. Zack had nothing, Haveta be a oxen to escape it. Rest.
    No, I didn't get the washer and dryer moved over, hubby had a call then daughter has company. Got my dishwasher and icemaker hooked up though. Will try for the washer again tom. The mobile is out of oil again and we decided to leave it like that, no water, no problem, in the 50's next week. Yeh! We're on the upslide!
    I'm glad you got out today Skeeter, nasty swallowing! Sounds like all the flowers are beautiful down there.
    Whew, anonymous lotta work today! Do you use the tops of you onions? I like them to spice salads and spagetti.
    Hi Dave, Hi Jillybean, need to stop by soon, kids had free range of the 'puter last couple days.
    Where is Lola? She musta had a busy day too!
    Well, off to hear 2 little girls squeal tonight and tom.

  18. Good morning , y'all! Another beautiful day ahead of us --lots to do see you later:)

  19. Good morning all,
    Dawn, maybe today's the charm for getting everything moved? Icemaker and dishwasher are a good start.

    Anonymous, have a great day! I am going to try to get out there too sometime! Going to the zoo first though. Should be fun.

  20. The cats on a boat? Lord NO... One is too scared of the world and the other one would probably jump out of the boat to drink the water! LOL...

    Dawn, glad to see you are getting everything in place. I am behind on your house progress as I missed way too many comments in the past but it appears you are on track.

    Tina, I forgot to tell you, the day I was my sickest, the Saint repotted the seedlings for me. I never had to ask. They are all about ready to plant so once I get myself back to 100% and the yard dries out a bit, I will transplant all to the yard.... The gourds have not sprouted yet. What’s with that? In the planter by the chimney the onion, carrots, radish and lettuce are growing. But I want flowers there so they better grow quick so I can plant some flowers! LOL

    Anonymous, sorry your baby had to deal with this but they say children take it better then adults do, they seem to heal faster. I was expecting more pain then I had but the pain I had was about all I could take though. I am still eating warm Campbell’s Chicken and stars. Yesterday cold hurt and still today so no popsicles or pudding for me today! Tap water instead but it is more easy to swallow today! I am guessing my first solid food will be one of those famous pimento cheese sandwiches at Masters tomorrow! LOL

  21. Skeeter, I would think your gourds would've sprouted within a week or so. I just planted some gourd seeds in a seed pack this past thursday so I will let you know how long those take. Usually I start them in the garden and they do fine, so if yours don't sprout, just plant some in the garden.

    You and the Saint make a good pair, how nice he gardens too and repotted your seedlings.

  22. Hi,

    Just came accross your blog...I'm another MT garder...or attempting to be (it's our first home, so I'm a newbie!) I'm always looking for info. about gardening in Tennesse, because I'm new to this area.

    I know you posted this particular post awhile ago, but do you happen to know if the stepping stones are still being sold? I would like to get some if they are not too far from me. Could you tell me where to get them?
    Thanks! Look forward to reading more!

  23. Yes Lindsey Rae they are surely still being sold. In fact I need to get more since we are going to expand our parking area. The company is Ebonite in Hopkinsville. It is first come first served for these stones. Good luck! And thanks for visiting. I am headed your way to check your blog out and add you to my sidebar. So exciting getting new MT bloggers!