Finishing my Garden Pathway: Day 5

My summer (and my pathway) got away from me a bit with a few unexpected events that took up a handful of my weekends.  But such is life and projects will always be there!  So after my brief hiatus, I was able to finish up the project.  I’m labelling this “Day 5” and so it is, but it certainly wasn’t 5 consecutive days!  I do have longer term aspirations that include raised beds for flowers, herbs and edibles complete with benches and lights, but that will have to wait for more time and more money!

When last I posted, I reversed course a little and worked in some crushed gravel to give the pea gravel a little more stability and “bite”.  But I still had the issue of building steps on the hill and then finishing things off so that I could feel good about bringing this phase of the project to an end.  I built the steps by cutting 8′ with railroad ties in half.  That was a project in and of itself that included a skil saw and a reciprocating saw and then a pruning say when the battery ran out of that.

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railroad tie steps

Using the reciprocating saw to finish the job

railroad tie steps

When the reciprocating saw batteries died, I finished with a pruning saw!

I found that the biggest challenges with building the steps are getting the spacing right, having an adequate “rise & run” that isn’t too short or too long and then making sure that the steps are level.

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The hill I was working with had a 3 foot drop to the top of the base step that I had already laid over a span of 12 1/4′.  Since the railroad ties were about 7″ thick, that worked out to 5 additional steps in addition to the one that the bottom, making the treads right at 29″.

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The soil in this area was pretty rocky, so levelling the ground for each railroad tie took a good bit of work and some landscaping sand to even things out.  I also covered the ground with landscaping fabric and added the steel edging to keep my gravel contained.

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To bring this project to a decent stopping point until I can work on lighting and raised beds and get some outdoor furniture, I bought a truckload of mulch – so much cheaper this way! – and used that to give the path a nice finished look.

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So I’m please with the result.  What was previously an unsightly patch of mangey weeds and dirt is now a functional space with lots of potential to become a relaxing outdoor room.  Just add furniture, a fire pit and maybe – if I’m feeling really ambitious – some kind of overhead trellis.  Complete with café lights.  Yea, now you’re talkin’!

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