Easiest cleanup?

jplee3July 2, 2012

Hey guys,

So I've been working on clearing our yard to make room for planting vegetables and also laying stone/rocks or flagstone pavers, etc. There are a couple large Jacaranda trees just outside of the yard wall where the branches overhang. So when the seeds/pods/flowers bloom and shed, they fall into the yard, covering a good portion. It gets pretty messy. I was wondering what would allow for the easiest cleanup in terms of ground cover if I were to go with decorative rocks versus flagstone pavers versus other... currently we have nothing out there - it's just a mixture of dirt, woodchips, the latest bloom from the Jacaranda and other stuff.

One other question: with all this other stuff that's gotten mixed in with the soil, is it a good idea to plan vegetables on this ground?

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jplee3, Are you asking what paving material will be the easiest to clean up? The smoothest, unbroken surface--such as unadorned concrete--will be the easiest. Next will be things like interlocking pavers or brick (really, there is not much difference between keeping unit pavers and concrete clean.) Much lower down on the list will be flagstone. At the bottom will be some kind of pebbles. In your case, I think pavers would be the best all-around solution... do-able and workable.

I suggest that you make a scale drawing of the space and show how you propose to pave it and post the drawing here. That will make it easier to give you feedback on your ideas.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 7:39AM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

The jacarandas will stain any paving below, be prepared for that. I love these flowering trees, but they look best where the debris falls onto a lawn where it can be mowed or easily raked off. A "pool" of fallen blossoms on a lawn can look almost like a reflection of the tree canopy above, quite beautiful. Another "color reflecting" idea that works well under jacarandas is a dense planting of blue agapanthus. They usually flower at the same time as the tree, in a similar shade of purple/blue, and the debris from the tree gets swallowed into the foliage.

As far as how the debris will affect your veggie soil, it's basically organic ammendment, although a bit twiggy. Your main concern will be that your vegetables get enough hours of full sun.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 11:20AM
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Thanks for the responses! Here's a rough sketch of the yard:

The Jacaranda branches mostly extend out over the left-hand side in front of the kitchen patio (this patio is actually covered by our neighbor's patio because we're the bottom unit condo - the column is one of the supporting structures for that).

The blue agapanthus idea is an interesting one. But those seem to be very similar to the the birds of paradise that I've been struggling so hard to get rid of in the yard. My main goal is to clear out as much space as possible to give way for more 'usable' space: setting up a patio table to sit outside, bigger space to setup the bbq and grill, etc. Of course, the Jacaranda bloom will make things messy, but I'd want to be able to more easily clean it up.

If it will make a nice amendment to the soil though, that's something else to consider (in terms of gathering up the bloom and mixing it in). I've noticed that it's not uncommon for seeds to get mixed into the dirt, resulting in Jacaranda tree sprouts! I actually let one grow to about 3ft before I decided it probably wasn't a good idea to let it continue, and uprooted it; especially seeing how it was right next to the outside wall of the kitchen!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 1:26PM
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BTW: when I mentioned flagstone, I probably was thinking more about the flagstone pavers they sell that are uniform in thickness and are cut with the 'jigsaw' interlocking shapes. Assuming there are little to no gaps between the stones, I'm guessing this would be another option right? Only thing is that it'll probably cost more and possibly also take more time to install since the pieces are not fully uniform in shape.

I've never worked with pavers before, so I'm not really sure what to expect if I start going down this route. Maybe I can do a portion of the yard with pavers (the left-half side that gets messy from the Jacarandas) and the rest (right-half side with pea gravel or even woodchips to cover the soil. This might add a nice 'contrast' to the ground cover and also allow for more flexibility in the future.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 1:44PM
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Maybe just get a blower? That would make cleanup pretty easy, although honestly I have no experience with cleaning up after jacaranda trees.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 2:13PM
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Before you commit to a walkway material, you might want to propose how you would lay out its geometry. I think the space is so small that it would be better looking and simpler to install if you select one material and avoid any combination of materials. Also, because it's more difficult to clean than a hard surface, I'd lean away from granular materials. You might also consider decking that lies directly on grade. It might be easier to construct than some of the other methods. (But I don't know your skill sets.) There is an advantage to a walk that is slightly elevated above the surroundings in that when you sweep it, there is somewhere for the "bits" to go and you don't have mulch spilling onto the walk.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 8:31PM
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