Friday, May 30, 2008

Stone in the Garden

The bloggers over at Gardening Gone Wild sponsor a monthly design workshop. I have not participated before, but since this is a type of post which is useful and which I would do anyhow, I thought I would get on board with this month's workshop.

This month's subject is "Stone in the Garden". I have already posted on making my home a part of the garden by adding this manufactured stone. It has been six months now and Mr. Fix-it and I couldn't be happier with the results. That's him hanging out in the driveway. The manufactured or faux stone has held up wonderfully and seems to insulate the house better. It is not real stone but has more advantages. The most being the cost and weight of it. The cost is generally lower than that for real stone, and the faux stone weighs less than real stone. Both benefits. I can't see any disadvantages of using faux stone. It can be custom made to order and is readily available.

The above two pictures are the two long sides of the same garden. The picture on the left is the east side, and the picture on the right is the west side and closest to the house. I call this my 'Center Front Garden' and it is the main part of my front yard. The below picture is the north end of the same garden. You can't see it, but the 'Road Shrub Border' is to the left of the garden on the east side and can be found in Making the Road Disappear.

This is the second season for this garden. Since this post is not about the gardens though, I will stick to the 'stone'. This stone is broken concrete. I know, it sounds kind of tacky but it was free! And it really works. It has been described as more like blocks of granite, but regardless of its looks, it serves a functional purpose.

The below picture looking south from the north, shows the low end. When we moved the split rail fence we had a lot of broken concrete from the poles. For lack of a better place (meaning landfill) I stacked the rounded concrete blocks on this garden end. I like the stacked look, and especially like the lambs ear growing in and around the new blocks of concrete. Works for me.

Lest you get worried that I don't have any real stone in my garden, I need to post at least one picture of some 'real' stone. I gathered this limestone from a fellow Freecycler last summer. It is great stone and is pictured below. I believe it is cut limestone? Though I am not an expert on stone, it may be something else.

Last year's freeze and drought caused three large white azaleas in this garden to die. The azaleas were planted just above this stone wall, but the wall wasn't there at the time. I never could reconcile myself to the slope of the soil in this 'Driveway Garden', and felt a bit unsettled even before the azaleas died. Once they died and were removed, I took the opportunity to add this short stone wall (isn't the timing just perfect) to level the soil. I then added three seedling oak leaf hydrangeas, hostas, sedum and lamb's ear. There is also an epimedium, alyssum and liriope in this area of the garden. This garden does get sun in the afternoon since it faces west, but is located under a large oak tree; which is to the left of the viewer.

I can see this garden from my office and am looking for really good things from it. The stone wall adds so much to it already and once the drapers (alyssum and lambs ears) begin draping, it will be even nicer. I had to leave a lower part of the garden flat since we back our cars up there and would likely run over the stones if I had not. The 'Powis Castle' artemesia on the low part in the back doesn't mind being run over. The ornamental stones on the lower part serve to stabilize the ground for our tires.

I recently changed another part of the 'Driveway Garden'. Above are before and after pictures. I must say a hearty thanks to my daughter Lizzy, she is building a house in Kentucky and was privy to a bunch of stone the developer says to "Take all you want". I am loading Mr. Fix-it's truck and trailer to its max as much as I am able with all this free stone. The stone is a lovely yellowish color; which is characteristic of most stone in Kentucky. It has neat little fossils in it, as shown in the picture below. I think it is a limestone? Maybe someone else who is better with stone can enlighten me. I just don't know what kind of stone it is, but it is stone.

The garden has changed a slight bit. I removed a ton a Perennial sunflowers, Helianthus 'Maximilian' from this garden, added the stones and built up the soil a bit. I now feel like it is has a more finished look and I am slowly refining it. Gardens as we all know, are works in process. I gave some of the perennial sunflowers to Frances and I hope she enjoys them. The rest may go to the Master Gardener sale on June 21st. We'll see how they look as it gets closer to the time.

Stone in the garden is very useful because the bees can't drill into it, the termites don't eat it, and the little lizards and toads all seem to love it. Almost as much as I do!

in the garden....


  1. HI Tina, I enjoyed reading your stone stories, and the free stone from KY is great, lucky you to have a large trailer to load up with it. The sunflower, and everything else you gave me, are all doing well. Max sulked a little at first, but with water has perked right up. He got planted with some other large native sunflowers that no one has been able to identify, but grow to be ten feet tall every year, they might even 'party' if you know what I mean. The stone on your house looks wonderful too. The rock wall you built by the driveway is perfect, don't back into it, like I would. ;->

  2. I love the look of your house and all your stone borders. I've been wanting to add stone to my garden beds but have been worried about some of the costs. The fossils just add so much character, I love the look!

  3. Tina,

    I am partial to limestone ;) cut or other wise and the Office garden is lovely and will continue to get lovelier with the plantings you have added. I love when people reuse concrete and I think it looks great in your garden...I wish I had kept the concrete when they ripped out the old sidewalk (last fall), but we no longer have the backs for that kind of lifting.

    You all will learn not to hit the stones, it's the occasional visitor who UPS, they hit mine all the time!


    Is rain in your forecast?

  4. Your comment about the stone made me curious...but here is a site you can go to for more info...I will check it out later but I have to take a walk! Wish you could walk with me!

  5. It's nice to have a place to go to get free stone like your daughter's. Stone is very expensive to purchase. I definitely would like to have more to border our beds!

  6. Mom- I really like the changes that you made to the driveway garden. It looks much cleaner and kept than in the before picture.

  7. Good morning all!

    Frances, Thanks. Free stone is the best. That trailer has gotten ALOT of use lately. I am so proud of myself as I backed it and drove it in the backyard WITHOUT hitting one single tree or other vehicle. Go Tina! That is hard to do! Those sunflowers will have a party for sure and with the native it is perfect!

    Karen, Hi there! I like the fossils too. At first I didn't know they had fossils then found them. Free is best. You can find stone at new subdivisions and usually the builder doesn't mind you taking it. I even asked the backhoe driver if we would be in his way. In true construction fashion he said, "NOPE!"

    Gail, I checked out that website. Very interesting. I like to learn for sure. It did not identify stones for me. I suppose I should find out what kind they are. Here in this area I am blessed not to have any stones so the yellow ones were a treat. The Fed Ex man came yesterday, I am thinking I need to check the rocks....

    Dave, You can get some of this stone too but it would be a drive. Just email me if this is in your schedule and I'll tell you where. But I bet there are some subdivisions in Nashville with stone and brick laying around.

    Christine, Thanks you! It is much neater. I am happy I raised this bed when I filled it in so the stone completes it. Hope you are doing fine. Any rain for Maine?

  8. You go go go girl cause I know from driving the 5th wheel I could not do that and a 5th wheel is easier to drive!!

    I love all the changes and can't wait to see it all in person. I have always loved stone and/or rock work of any kind. Remember the stone house on Bailey Island?
    Always loved that and they say all the stones for it was brought to Bailey Island long before there was a bridge and they came from Ragged Island!

  9. Hello Tina,

    I hadn't found your blog last fall so appreciate the links to your other posts. We've hauled some free stones in the back of our car but on a much smaller scale - you really trucked them in!
    You're really good at blending the different kinds of stone with your plants to make a lovely landscape.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  10. Mom, Backing the trailer WITHOUT a ground guide was a huge feat for me! My confidence went sky high. Though I didn't mention the fence pole I took out coming out of the yard two nights ago. But that was while pulling forward. lol Of course I remember the stone house. I always go see it when I come up there. Love that house. It is still just as beautiful but doesn't compare to when I saw it the first time.

    Annie, I am sure your car does not appreciate the stone hauling but hey, the garden sure looks great for it! I am not so good at blending styles and all, I would probably prefer all the same style of stone but then, as hubby says it, "Our garden wouldn't have so much character." I think that is a nice way of saying it is a big mix, but free and works functionally and I do like it. What kind of stones do you haul in?

    I am glad you can look at some old posts. I used to publish thru an FTP which had no access to archives. Many bloggers did not visit as much and I was due to lose all the posts, so I went to blogspot. The drawback was some of the pictures did not transfer. I am slowly fixing that problem but these links should be good with pics. You know how much work bloggers put into their writing and pics firsthand and I was happy to be able to keep my posts when I switched. Pictures I always have, but the writing would not be the same. Anyhow, have a great day!

  11. I guys,
    I'm on late tonite because we went to the "big" city today. We got a bigger bird feeder and a shepards hook for the balconey. My grosbeak had a hard time trying to eat from the finch feeder. Soooo, even thou I had 12 bluejays hopping on the rail, flowerpots and tree last saturday, we broke down and got another feeder. Hope it doesn't empty out quickly. We got two kinds of sedum for the new rock wall. We have decided to make it planted with succulents, hens and chicks and whatever else the winter won't kill.
    Rock? I have plenty of and it does make a nice look in the landscaping. Granite (of course) and quartz is what we find. I think some of yours might be a sandstone. Heavy, hard work and you have done well. I remember when we borrowed a 350 dumptruck and loaded that! I wanted a river stone (handheld round) so it was worth it.
    Get the character thing too? I heard that about everything that is different in this house. Yep, inexpensive, been around for a while, and not quite matching! But you do like it, I think most everyone does.

  12. Dawn, You are SO right about character-and inexpensive. We must be from the same family? Glad you got a bigger bird feeder. Now to afford the food! Do you know sunflower seeds have doubled??? ttyl

  13. The stones really frame your garden well and make it very aesthetically pleasing! It makes it such a friendly garden! :-)

  14. Hi Tina, great blog. The drive way looks much better. You have such a pretty yard. All your hard work has paid off.

  15. DP-Thanks! I always love garden visitors so if you are ever up the Clarksville way-let me know.

    Lola, Nice to see you! I have worked hard and FINALLY the hard work is paying off (only after about several hundred years it seems!)

  16. WELCOME back Lola!!!! Sure did miss you!!!!

  17. Hi Tina,
    I enjoyed looking around your yard, too! I clicked on some links to see things, like your perennial sunflowers, and the rocks along the driveway. Oops, I should have called them stone. :o)

    I've had fun visiting with you this evening!

  18. Same here Sue. A garden tour all around.