procedures for working on landscape project

chueh(7B)September 27, 2011

Basically, I plan to have some flower beds where surrounded by gravel. Since I need to till the soil and add amendments to it for the flower beds and lay down the landscape fabric, compact sub-base, and top dress gravels, I am not sure what is the right procedure to do it.

Do I till the flower beds first, then lay down the fabric to fit the contour around the beds for the gravel areas, compact sub-base, top dress gravels, and finally plant flowers and shrubs? Or do I lay down the fabric in all the areas, compact sub-base, top dress gravels, cut the flower beds out, and finally plant flowers?

P.S. Since the soil in Georgia consists mostly red clay, I am afraid tilling the soil after finishing everything else would make the red clay stain the surrounded areas.


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bahia(SF Bay Area)

I'd suggest doing the soil prep first and follow up with the gravel. Planting and mulching could also prefers the gravel work, or could follow it if you use tarps to protect the gravel work. If these islands are mounded above the height of gravel and you get strong rains, you're probably going to have some problems with runoff in any case._

    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 11:46AM
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Its hard to advise without understanding the access to different parts of your garden which is what usually shapes our procedures. Assuming no part needs to be crossed to complete another area, I would probably do the soil prep and add amendments then prep the "gravel" area base add the top stone then plant and then mulch. If mulch or soil gets into the gravel area, using a leaf blower works wonders to get it out. Also a broom is really good for smoothing the stone so you can rake a pattern into it.

Have you decided on an edging material to separate the planting areas from the stone areas?
BTW - I put gravel in quotes above, because the inspirational photo you posted on your other thread has stone in it that I would call pea stone. In my area gravel means something different - but I have found its somewhat regional what people call certain types of stone.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 3:00PM
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Thank you for the replies.

Yes, you are right drtygrl, "gravel" could mean something else, :-) No, I have not decided yet what to do with edging, perhaps bigger river rocks... but not sure. Maybe no edging. However, without edging mulch may fall onto the pea gravel areas, even though the lot is as flat as a pancake. ANy suggestions?

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 7:39PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

I wouldn't attempt this without a border/edge between the bed and gravel. Especially with pea gravel which is small round particles that never "lock" into place like rocks with sharper edges do. They are always shifting and moving around. A layer thick enough to suppress weeds is not easy to walk on. Landscape fabric can only suppress weeds from below, and can actually create a protective vector for roots to traverse under it and allow stuff like rhizomatous grass or vines to come up again on the other side. Is this for a path?

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 10:33AM
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Yes, purpleinopp, the gravel is for path and the areas which are not the shrub or flower beds. What do you suggest instead of using pea gravel, that has angular edges rather than round. Yes I can relate to what you said about shifting.... I often almost slip myself walking on pea gravel which is on top of very thick but kind of sleek fabric...

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 2:52PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Is there a more specific name for the (usually white) landscape rocks that are usually an average of slightly-smaller-than-golfball-size? Those are usually very angular and make a better path, IMO. But after watching my Mom's path of this gravel age for a few years, I think she should just go to mulch. We didn't put any barrier underneath so the rocks locked into place pretty well but it's not great at avoiding weeds. With the barrier, the rocks would just slide around like pea gravel I think, or get so many holes poked in it from the rocks that weeds would still be a problem. The gravel has been buried by walking or sand washing into it, or both so that it needs to be topped off, as it would if it were mulch. The rocks don't stay in the path despite 4" high timber barriers, but I haven't had one of the rocks jump in my shoe like pea gravel can. Somewhat difficult to drive wheelbarrow over. You may still prefer the pea gravel but this is our experience for you to consider.

If it were my decision, I'd just put mulch for now and save up for concrete, pavers, bricks, flagstone - anything more permanent in the future.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 3:48PM
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The peastone will be fine, especially if you prep it the way deviant deziner described in your other thread. I have done several gardens similar to your inspiration photo and peastone works well, I actually love walking on it. I have used plastic edging between the two materials and camouflaged it with larger stones and mulch. In a more formal setting I used stone edging, but given you inspiration photo I don't think that's what you are looking for.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 5:10PM
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Great info! Yes, I don't necessarily like the look of EDGING.. Edging makes the bed look more confined, personally... However, if with edging, I can save a lot of trouble to pick up soil or mulch from the beds to the gravel. The look of edging or not edging does not matter too much...

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 8:09PM
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