Sunday, May 22, 2011

Logistics of Building Materials for our Xeriscape Garden

I'm the director, engineer, laborer, janitor, curator, gardener you name it. So I get right to it. I looked into irrigation systems; sprinklers, drip irrigation and the likes and decided that I'm going to hand water my plants since selecting drought tolerant plants will greatly reduce the need for frequent watering. As for drainage issues, I think that using 60% cactus mix and 40% pumice as a planting medium will be enough without me having to install french drains. Besides, it doesn't rain that much here in L.A.

I visited three companies that sell rocks to check prices and gather samples.

This is what we decided to use for the center gravel area. It's called California Gold 3/8" crushed rock.

I need to cover a little bit less than 510 square feet with 2" of California Gold 3/8" crushed rock. I needed 3.15 cubic yards worth of crushed rock according to a gravel calculator. I found a building supply company that sells to contractors but is open to public. I ended up using 82 bags (7/8 cubic yard) bags of crushed rock for the front yard, and 3 tons of 3/4" pea gravel for the side path. My crushed rock was only $4.73 per bag. Note that the side path is going to be packed four inches deep with the pea gravel ($55 per ton). I used half of it on the side path. I plan to use the extra for the backyard later. I bought two rolls of weed block landscape fabric with staples to hold it down. For the edging; I used 4" x 4" pressure treated wood in 8 feet lengths for the straight edges and a flexible plastic edging I found on Amazon for a very reasonable price. Some people said using wood stakes would be cheaper but I decided to give the plastic ones made by the same company a try.

Now I remove the organic top layer which was mostly weeds and a couple of wild mushrooms. I removed about 6" worth of soil just to make sure that I clear all of the roots of the weeds. This took me two weeks. I spent about 40 hours doing it. Then I sprayed weed killer in the gravel area, making sure to stay at least one foot away from the planting areas. Then I pin the weed block landscape fabric down. The company that sold me the gravel was quick to deliver my purchase on the next day after I placed my order. The delivery fee was only $65.

Their fork lift barely fit into my small driveway.

I sprayed the dirt with marking paint where my edgings were going and installed all of the edging first. I finished the gravel path to the side yard first because that was the easiest. My friend Yuho helped me fill the space in with 3/4" pea gravel.

Then the weed block landscape fabric was installed. I got excited and planted some plants in the front corner. Things are starting to look good.

I actually only put 74 bags of the crushed rock down and saved the extra 8 bags in anticipation that it will settle and sink a little bit over time. Done with the crushed rock! Man, that was HARD WORK! But well worth it. :)

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely brilliant! Your neighbours should be really proud of you ! Wish you lived next door to me ! Debs : )