Category Archives: Xeriscape

Gravel Patio in the Front Yard


We finally got everything ready to add gravel to the little patio in the front yard. I went to the rock yard to get some samples. Originally we wanted to put DG or decomposed granite but I have heard that they scratch the floor and I don’t really want to need with that.

Our criteria is that it needs to match the rock I the faux dry creek bed that came from our yard, be smooth as to not scratch our floors and not be crazy expensive.


We estimated that for our space we had about135 sq feet to cover, which ends up being about a half yard of gravel. The four samples that you see above range from $125/yard up to $700/yard. We have chosen the 3/8″ salt rock that we could buy in bulk (lower right corner) as opposed to bags which can be on the higher end.


Here ow what it looked like with landscape fabric on before.

Here is what it looks like all filled in!

Creating forms and pouring cement for our new walkway

This past weekend we got a new walkway! Our guests would previously have to make there way through our parked cars on the driveway to reach our front door. My parents came down to visit and my father, who is a contractor, helped us put in a new walkway.

I had no idea that there are so many steps to creating a walkway. Thus I broke it down into two posts. This one will document the prep work.

Weeks (months?) ago my husband spent the bulk of a very hot morning digging out most of a path for a walkway. Still though when it came down to it there was more to be dug and because he dug so deep and it is only supposed to be 4″ deep, there was also a bit to fill in.

1. We started by putting the forms where we thought they would look nice. We wanted a nice wide walkway that two people could walk on side by side.    iphone10-30-2013 055

2. Next we needed to make the walkway level from the sidewalk currently leading to the house and to the street. (the string is that line.  We also wanted to take into account the slope of the driveway as to not make either look odd.  iphone10-30-2013 060 iphone10-30-2013 061

3. With that line out as a guide, we staked in one side of the form and then used a board a top both of them with a level to make sure that the form was level on both sides (or slanted if you’d rather water run off one side, as long as it is consistant. iphone10-30-2013 062 iphone10-30-2013 063 iphone10-30-2013 064 iphone10-30-2013 065

4. As you might notice from the picture above there is quite a bit of dirt under the form. So our next step was to fill back in the dirt. We did so leveling as we went and measuring so that it was around 4″ deep the whole way.iphone10-30-2013 066

5. Once that was complete and it was all level the prep work was done. We sprayed it off with a hose a few times to help it compact on itself and then tried to find cement.iphone10-30-2013 067

6. We had difficulty finding a yard of cement and we ended up paying a bit more and getting it from a truck. That was much easier, but  because of the difficulty it ended up coming really late in the day.  Here it is starting to be poured in the form. iphone10-30-2013 078  

7. As the cement came out, Michael with the help of our dads tried to fill the form evenly with shovels. iphone10-30-2013 080

8. After the cement was all out they scraped the top with a 2″ x 4″ to even it out. iphone10-30-2013 084  

9. Then they filled in the low spots with extra cement. iphone10-30-2013 086

10. The next step is to tamp down those rocks. It  previously looked really bumpy and this process made it start to look smooth and settled. iphone10-30-2013 088

11. Then my dad went over it with what appears to be a large cement trowel. It made it really even and it started to look finished. iphone10-30-2013 090 12. At this point they measured half way down the side walk and put a break. Using a board as a guide, they used the tool to create a divot in the cement. iphone10-30-2013 092  

12. They then used another hand tool to finish the outer edges of the cement. I did this process as well and it required firm slightly angled pressure. iphone10-30-2013 094

Our son became really excited as well because he also got to help with this step. iphone10-30-2013 099   iphone10-30-2013 102

13. Because we got such a late start pouring cement we were working into the night. This isn’t a great picture, but at the end it gets smoothed out again and then my husband added brush strokes in for texture. iphone10-30-2013 103

We waited a day before finally running on it. iphone10-30-2013 108