So, lest you think we've just been sitting around on the porches all day eating bon-bons ;), I thought I would show you what we've been up to... our latest project! If you follow me on Instagram (which I'm loving btw, you will have seen some of these photos. I try to post once a day on sightings/happenings around the house, or places we travel to. If you don't have a smart phone you can still see the current photos at the bottom of the blog. If you would like to follow you can find us at "for the love of a house".)
This is our entrance from the street that I showed you most recently. You can see the "brides" (Endless Summer Blushing Bride Hydrangeas) planted behind the granite curbing. You can also see how the edge to the gravel drive has lost its shape after being driven on and plowed over! Although I didn't love how it looked it has never really been an issue since we had yet to landscape this part of the property. But, knowing that we are working our way down from the farmhouse I wanted to address this issue. It was decided that an antique cobblestone border would be the perfect (and period) solution to keep the gravel in the driveway!
I love working with stone and was Dan's hod carrier on this project which was a two-person-on-deck-at-all-times project! Minute changes in the angle of a single stone changes the entire curvature of the line, so working the line required constant tweaking and decisions to be made... and re-made, over and over!
Dan and Big Blue bringing the cobbles to the job site.
I drew the curve on the dirt and Dan dug the design first with a pickaxe and then a shovel making a channel for the stones to sit in. He then put down a base of granite dust (also referred to as stone dust) which is granite crushed to a very fine consistency and is used for setting stones. It allows for water to easily pass through and once wet it helps to lock the stones in place. New cobblestones have a more consistent size, but antique cobbles can vary greatly, so the granite dust allows you to add or subtract the base to get all the stones to the same height. At the street the stones are flush with the road, but as you come up towards the stone beehives it has a small lip to contain the gravel.
New fill dirt added behind the edge which will eventually (hopefully in the next week) be planted with grass. This south side of the project was a breeze! From start to finish it took only 4 hours; the north side was a bit trickier!
One side completed, one to go!
For scale it is 16 feet between the beehives.
This side proved to be more difficult and took two days to get right! Day two we even worked in the rain to complete the project before Dan had to leave town! On this side of the drive Dan had to first use the pickaxe to remove asphalt left over from a previous driveway on the property- you can see the pile on the left. Then, trying to get the curve to match the installed south side was a big challenge. Dan found the center of the drive and used mathematical measurements, but that wasn't working. Eyeballing it wasn't working either. I decided to draw the start of the completed curve on some thick bubble wrap, cut it out and flip it as a pattern for this side (this was the day it was raining, so regular paper wouldn't have worked;) That got the ball rolling and the rest of the project went pretty smoothly after that.
Stone beehives as command central!
So, once again...
Once the grass is put down you really won't even notice the cobbles, but it's a subtle improvement and a detail that looks like it could have been installed a hundred years ago.
And, for the record... apparently the "house angels" like Dan more than me as my Endless Summer Blushing Bride (white) Hydrangeas are turning blue! I wanted this bed to bloom white and Dan was partial to blue. The gardener (me;) chose white! I do admit that this icy blue is a gorgeous color, so don't tell the house angels, but I'm happy too!
This is the "runaway bride" hidden in a little clearing in the trees several feet down from the other "brides". When the brides get all droopy and cranking needing water we call them bridezillas!