Building a home and garden entrance—part two.
I was really enjoying the flagstone and garden project. Who wouldn’t? There was always a fresh pot of coffee, the sweet lady fixed lunch for us every day, and the job was turning into a true work of art. I was given total creative license. It doesn’t get much better than that. Read on, I will show before and after at the end of this article.
I didn’t like the way the side of the landing at the back door was looking, so after pondering a bit, I decided that we needed to build a shelf for large potted plants to the side of the landing. We started with cement blocks and framed in a nice level platform to end up a little lower than the level of the landing.
My choices for facing the side of the shelf were either stucco or rock veneer. It wasn’t really a hard choice to go with the rock veneer and I was intrigued as Jose showed me how to get the rocks to stick. It was the same principle as a suction cup. I got some pictures of the manner in which he made a suction application with the mortar. As I was writing this, my son, Paul, walked in and asked me how to stick flagstone to a wall. I laughed and told him to read the article when I was finished.
And when the veneer is finished, it looks really good. Mortar is tucked around the joints.
The elevation of the deck, the walk, and the hillside requires some creative terracing. To do this, we shape and pack the compost and then add rocks to hold the terraces in place.
Drip irrigation pipe is installed. This is Rainbird drip tubing with emitters placed at 18 inches. It is available at Home Depot. I will write some irrigation articles at a later date.
A small tube is connected to the drip line and runs up to the pots on the shelf by the porch. We keep the tubing under or behind the pots to hide them as much as possible.
An adjustable water emitter is placed in each flower pot.
The valve assemblies are installed by hooking into a faucet that is never used. The installation will be semi automatic. The white pipe will be painted flat black which will make it non obtrusive.
Wires are run from the automatic valves to a simple controller clock in the basement. The system may then be operated on either a manual or an automatic mode.
Some leftover flagstone is laid as stepping stones to the bird feeder and all that is left to do is put down some pine straw and clean up.
Here are some pictures of before and after.
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You may see the adventures of Johntheplantman in the book Requiem for a Redneck by John P. Schulz (Illustrated by my son, J.R. Schulz) at
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