From dirt to a pallet wood walkway in the garden

We had the most fantastic past weekend weather wise! Which meant it was a great gardening day to continue on the massive front yard project.

So… what did we all do?

Ripped it out

Lotsa ripping out was to be had by all. Miss S helped by wheeling burnt out shrubs to a neighbouring burn pile.

Cut it up

In order to create a new shape for the flowerbeds, a half moon edger, a generous neighbour Rudy and sons Lucas and Kenny, plus their trailer did the trick!

Cutting new shapes is pretty easy if you break it down.

How to edge

1. lay out a garden hose to your desired shape



2. cut in small sections, much like cutting a sheet cake



3. dig it up!

The scraps went to another generous’ neighbour’s place. She needed clean landfill. Perfect! Thanks Francis!

turf tip: turn freshly cut turf upside down in any compost or area you desire more fill. It will eventually turn right back to soil again.

Here you can spot a glimpse of the curvy shapes we created. And then we shuffled a few plants around. 

This is going to be one amazing before and after transformation.

Design theory: curved edges are more pleasing to the eye outdoors because nature has no straight lines.

And then we…

Top soiled it

No messin’ around here. We ordered up 4 yards for a truck to deliver. 

I squealed when I saw the truck backing in! On the menu was a top soil mixed with a mulch and feed so your plants will be healthy and happy all summer long. Dark and delicious!

 Better than diamonds, girls! Better than diamonds.

I’m clearly low maintenance…

Ok, well, maybe not to my hard working neighbours…

Beautiful blank canvases…

… to be had at every turn, just begging for some artful additions.

You’ll see what I did with this space at the bottom of this post.

EVERYTHING got topped up, including the backyard garden.

Thanks so much Rudy, Lucas, Kenny, Cody and Sento!

And then I…

Pruned it

Nice hat, tree. 

Lots and lots of pruning on all kinds of trees and shrubs.

While my preference is more of the shaggy willow type look for this unique tree, it grows so fast and out of control it’s better to give it a good clean hack to start, then let it soften up naturally again.

The funnest part is coming right up, because I also got down to true blue DIY business and 

Created

I couldn’t wait! I had to make something cool. These reclaimed boards were sitting around that were collected some time ago. They were nearly thrown out during the big purge!

It pays to be a packrat. :)

A level pathway was dug lower than the driveway, then the boards were placed.

Yes! It’s a pathway from driveway to the sitting bench in the yard. Cool, huh?

I was always jumping over the soil to get to the yard so the removal of a buncha plants made this little pathway possible.

The boards are just sitting loose as I want them easy to lift for carefree weeding. The weight of walking on them appears to embed them just enough to hold them in place.

I started adding some rocks to work with the elevation of the sides. Perfect spot for mini rock garden plants I’m thinking…

And here’s the finished result. It’s working out perfectly! The wood is just high enough to clear any water and the planks are indeed staying in place. Love it! It’s not a long term solution as the wood will naturally deteriorate against the soil, but it’s easy to replace.

What cool little feature do you have in your own garden that you love?

All yard 2011 posts to date.

Is your pallet wood safe?


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  1. It’s looking great!!!! Unfortunately our weather was entirely way to hot for such labor intensive projects. Soon though!!!! :)

  2. PLEASE late August! We Southerners have to fight the heat with yard work… and the heat always wins. Takes us longer to do stuff.

  3. WOO HOO! Low maintenance, creative AND hysterical! Some girls just get it all. :) LOVE the transformation! We’re doing the same at our house, just a little slower goin’ over here! xoxo

  4. Thank You for more Pallet Wood ideas! My kind, hard working, DH, finished my farm table/desk this past weekend!
    Pallet wood as you have stated is not for the meek…it takes lot’s of work..those nasty nails!
    Please take a look..http:blessingtheelements-mi.blogspot.com
    the hardest part other than pulling nails out of pallet wood, is… then trying to screw your creation back together…as DH used his mighty screw gun to perfect this solid-heavy-HEAVY…table…My table still needs sanded..but..we don’t own a sander..as of yet..so even though it was built in office..it does require further attention..
    however follow the link and take a look-see!
    ~~PEACE~~

  5. Teri, late Aug or maybe even early Sept it is! Photo shoots keep well. Do something spectacular to YOU, take nice befores and afters and we’ll have our party at the end of summer!

    We need some time for some summer leisure too after all. :)

    Summer’s End party comin’ right up! Later. :)

    Donna

  6. I think it is a long summer, and we should have two events for a garden reveal..one in July and one in August? I think the boardwalk idea was inspired!! And your son saying you have the coolest ideas, well that was so cute to hear, you know we are their heroes! Edging makes a huge difference, I did a lot of that on my garden last week. I will still be working hard on it, so when you say REVEAL~I will be ready with my yard and garden. I can’t wait to see your final!!

  7. Learned two great things here, how to edge properly, my lawn sometimes ends up looking like it got a bad hair cut! Great tip! And…an awesome idea for a walkway with some of those old pallets I have. Your yard is looking just amazing. Such happy photos to check out!

  8. Wow! You had a busy weekend! I did absolutely nothing constructive over the July 4th weekend. No, I take that back, I did put a new window in the garage door where one got broken out a month ago. I was pretty proud of myself for handling the large piece of glass all by myself. I love your walkway…just perfect. So cute that your son gets into it too. I am working on a little project in the backyard…your party will spur me to get it finished. Can’t wait for your reveal!

  9. It looks wonderful and that soil is to die for. Our red GA clay is horrible to work with. Even after years of amending it. Guess I need a truck with 4 yards of good stuff LOLOLOL Our yard is so horrible right now I wouldn’t even dare post a picture of it. My garden has cooked itself to death. I was going to pull it out and clean it up last weekend but had a six day migraine – can you say “nope I’m not getting out in the 90 some degree heat”? Oh well, when it gets cooler – maybe October? LOL

  10. Donna you are just amazing!
    Your son is right, you’re the coolest Mom ever and you come up with the greatest ideas!!
    I love that walkway…you’ve got this girl thinking…that may very well work for a problem are in my side yard.
    I love what you’ve done…you sure are one busy gal!!! :)
    Have a great week..Im just peeking in from my holidays xoxo

    Deborah xoxo

  11. You are blessed with the most incredible neighbours. Our yard has been neglected for so long, this challenge is exactly what we need. All we have to do is dose ourselves with Off! Place several Off lanterns and we can get started.
    How about labour day long weekend!

  12. I love it. Your topsoil is to die for. Me, I am still working away on my yard from your last years “get-er-done” post. I decided to enlarge the beds I made,lay down dark brown shredded mulchn and plant more goodies. And here’s the funny thing. I have some decking material from a job site that I was going to use for a wooden walkway… I hope mine turns out as cute as yours.

  13. GREAT job! Its fantastic how curved edges and that lovely dark mulch make it look like a beautiful tended park… and the path is brilliant. Can’t wait to see the final results!

  14. I like your ideas! I think you are very talented! I was just thinking of getting some pallets to make a small fence for my veggie garden area.
    Thanks for sharing!

  15. I love what you did Donna ~ it is a blank canvas that you can do anything with now! Your walkway is fantastic ~ you do always have the coolest ideas.

  16. Love your ideas and what fantastic neighbors.
    Using pallet wood, do you have termites up
    there in Canada like we do here in the South?
    We could never use that wood on the ground here because that would be a termite’s heaven. You are lucky you can do that. I can’t wait to see
    all of what you have done.

  17. Ditto to comment #6 Teri…it’s so hot and dry in Texas that we water but everything is crispy :( so sad. But at least our early growing season was nice.
    Your walkway is fabulous and your son is too cute. You rock mom!!!!
    So now I’m putting my thinking cap on. We already tackled one dream idea this summer, but it does need some accessorizing now that you mentioned it.
    Thanks for the inspiration…again!

  18. So awesome. You guys did a great job. Hard work though.
    My father in law was a landscaper. He always said the rocks need to buried almost half way to look natural in the garden.
    Nothing like suggesting more work for you.

  19. I love your new path! I love your yard and is that your husband doing all the grunt work? What a guy… my husband is on vacation this week and guess what he’s doing? Yard work – same deal… weeding like crazy, I think we’re quite lucky, I usually do a lot of this grunt work myself, but I’m recovering from surgery so I’m so happy to watch the work being done this summer! I enjoyed your post as always – your comments make me laugh. I always remind my husband how lucky he is that I would rather have dirt than diamonds too! I’m a sucker for a load of compost for my perennial beds – to add to that healthy deliciousness you referred to (just don’t lay it too close to the plants themselves, it will burn them if it touches them but soooo rich and black and full of yummy vitamins that will slow feed them for years – no Miracle Grow necessary!)… Enjoy your summer!

  20. I have to agree with your son!!!! That looks so awesome!!! Doesn’t it feel great to get all that done! Lucky you with all the fun neighbors!!!
    Maybe if I take my lap top around the neighborhood and show your post, they’ll all want to come to my house and work!! You think???!!!

  21. gosh how much work went in there.. u r a one strong woman. i like it. the boards are favorite.

    silla

  22. Ugh! How well I know what a ton of work it is to dig up sod! I did it all by my lonesome in the backyard when creating my flowerbeds. I my achin’ back! lol! I loved seeing the before and afters, Donna! Your yard really looks more warm, welcoming, and so pretty! That boardwalk is awesome, girl!!! My fav feature in my yard…? It’s a toss up between my pond (dug all by my lonesome) or my big white rose arbor. :)

    xoxo laurie

  23. It looks AWESOME!I love your “boardwalk”. I’m so excited to hear that you’re planning on doing a garden inspired contest! We are just about finished with a MAJOR overhaul of our front yard where we did all the work ourselves & got almost everything for free! I can’t wait to share it through your contest!

  24. What an awesome idea! I’ve been wanting to do some landscaping in my yard and just couldn’t figure out how I could afford to even start. Pallet wood will definitely be in my new vision though. Thanks so much for inspiring me to get creative with it~

  25. Okay, you rock lady. I am in the same price range as you seem to be. I just told my hubby to keep an eye out for old pallets for the same reason and I am going to do a river rock walk way along with the pallet bridge to help with a drainage problem and dog path. Grass won’t grow there and the dogs just track in the mud. We live in Oregon and are never with a shortage of rain.
    Thanks for sharing