Sunday, February 28, 2010

Playing With Blocks

Sometimes you just never grow up. When I was a kid one of my favorite toys was Legos. My brother and I would build all kinds of contraptions from buildings to vehicles. Even today I still play with toy building blocks with my kids but there is a different sort of block that I like to use in the garden: concrete/cement. Concrete and cement blocks are very handy in the garden whether you want a retaining wall, a patio, or just a few well placed stepping stones. You can always make your own too with a bag of cement and a nicely shaped form.

In my garden I've used several kinds of concrete blocks for different purposes. I prefer natural stone whenever I can get it for things like stepping stones but concrete works in a pinch.


Here is how I've used blocks in the garden:


As Stepping Stones


These blocks are actually retaining wall caps that we used during the Arbor Project for BHG last year. Soon I'll move them to use as additional flooring material in the greenhouse. I want to replace them with some homemade stepping stones of a different design. Larger stepping stones will work better here.


As a Retaining Wall/Raised Bed

These large and heavy blocks were used to build the area up a little around the arbor. They also add a little presence to the pathway.


The raised bed around the patio garden is made also constructed with retaining wall blocks. The blocks are heavy but can be arranged into curves which makes them good for ornamental gardens or creative vegetable garden designs.

As Lawn Mower Treads

In order to create a good resting location for my riding lawnmower I used some very cheap 8"x16" concrete cap stones to make treads going into the greenhouse shed. Of course this also means a significant event has occurred...THE LAWN MOWER IS OUT OF THE GARAGE! I'm sorry...please excuse this brief moment of exuberance!





As a Patio

The patio was one of the first big projects we did here in our landscape. It's a porous patio where the water can move between the cracks.  Underneath the stones the base is made from gravel and sand. My best advice when building a patio of your own is to make sure you dig the area out sufficiently enough to spread a good layer of base material. There were a few spots that needed dug out more as we went which slowed down the process and was pretty frustrating but I'm happy with the results.



Garden Blogger Assignment:

Write about how you have used blocks in the garden! You have two weeks (March 14th) to write about blocks in the garden or this post will self-destruct...um...not really. (The due dates are just general guidelines, if you would like to post about one of the earlier assignments you are more than welcome to and I'll add a link into that assignment to your blog post.) Have fun playing with your blocks, I know I do!

Completed Assignments:

Tina at In The Garden: Stone in The Garden

7 comments :

  1. I have lots of stonework in my garden and I love the look it creates. Stonework gives structure to the plants and creates rooms of interest in the garden.

    Thanks for bringing this subject up early so planning can begin!

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  2. This would be fun to attempt, but I'm not sure if I'll have time to create a post. We'll see... ;-) It is fun to see your progress and changes. Your brick patio is Beautiful!!! :-)

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  3. Lots of concrete in either form sure is pretty in your garden. I've used the ones that are for walls as a retainer to keep the soil in place.
    Love that concrete & natural rocks to work with in the garden.

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  4. I really like all the uses you've found for blocks in your yard. We use them for edging around our front beds. I'm going to try to do a post on them!

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  5. With our steep hill, we are all about blocks of all sizes! And hooray for your lawnmower in the new space! That is a big step forward! :-)
    Frances

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  6. I love playing with them myself. I have posted about it before so I'll find the link and give it to you. I will be preparing to build a new patio and firepit soon though but not in enough time. Concrete is awesome in a garden!

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  7. Ok, here is a link to an old post that pretty much sums up some stone here. http://tinaramsey.blogspot.com/2008/05/stone-in-garden.html

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