The flower box

When we bought our house back in 2001 the house had been vacant for about 18 months and it was evident that it had not received a lot of upkeep even when it had been recently occupied. The stairs in front of the house were in sad disrepair (dangerous rotting wood with exposed nails jutting out) and the landscaping left a bit to be desired also. Frankly it was lacking in curb appeal.

We took care of the rotten old steps by pouring new concrete steps a couple years ago. But then it was time for the curb appeal and my wife had flower gardens in mind. Luckily the area in front of the house had previously been graveled and cars had been parking on that gravel for about 18 years. So getting it out should be no trouble at all. (You’re seeing the sarcasm here, right?)

The wife specified a planter box running the width of the front and about 4 feet wide. So the first thing to do was to dig a hole. This is what a hole looks like.

 Big Hole

Note the compacted gravel still in place. That’s what I dug through with pick, shovel, and rake. The old gravel was loaded by wheel barrow into a debris box and hauled out. My back is still telling me how much it disliked that project. In retrospect I really should have hired out this part of the job. A guy on a bobcat could have cleared that space in very little time and would have done a better job of it.

Other picture of a big hole

Once we had a hole we needed to line it with “garden cloth” to keep the gophers out (yes, gophers will dig under concrete and through gravel, trust me). For those of you not familiar with garden cloth it’s heavy wire mesh with holes about 3/8 of an inch on each side. I don’t kow why they call it garden cloth, I call it “a fence”.

large hole with bricks and gravel

After the hole was lined with wire mesh we could put sprinkler lines in place and cover the bottom of the hole with fresh gravel to give drainage and a seat for the stone that would form the planter walls. The wife couldn’t understand why I didn’t just wash and screen the old gravel I’d just dug out. She figured that new gravel just *had* to be expensive. She relented after I had the debris box hauled away and bought a truckload of clean gravel for $20.

hole with a boy beside it

With the hole prepped we could move on to building the walls, which was surprisingly easy once I spent a couple hours making sure my base gravel layer was perfectly level.

Then a truckload of planter soil showed up and some plants got plopped into place. This was the kids’ favorite part of the process, watching the truck dump dirt in the new hole and get it all messy. The plants went in a couple weeks before Thanksgiving but I didn’t actually make time to take pictures until after I’d put up Christmas lights on the house. There will not normally be a Christmas tree or lighted candy canes in our flower box. But the flowers seem to be surviving quite well and are maybe even growing a little.

flower box

other picture of flower box

So there ya go, curb appeal in four easy steps. Dig hole, build box, put in dirt, plant flowers. No fuss, no muss.

curb appeal

Explore posts in the same categories: fatherhood, home improvement

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