Monday, April 15, 2013

Landscaping from the Clay Up

Our new landscaper started last week.

I laid out the shapes for the grass,
and the garden crew followed behind, installing metal edging.
Now there's a clear line between the turf and the beds.
Inspired by this photo from my post on circle gardens,
I found a spot for a grass circle of our own.  It's above on the right.
Here's Kye surveying the change in his backyard.
The next step was tilling a soil amendment into the beds.
We have two distinct soil types on this property:
rock hard clay and builders sand.

We amended each with a 50/50 combination of compost and expanded shale.
Compost is well decomposed organic matter.

Expanded shale is basically puffed stone.
Small pieces of shale stone are exposed extreme heat, causing them to enlarge.
They become light weight granules riddled with lots of very tiny openings. 
Those minuscule openings hold both air and water.
Added to heavy or compacted dirt, 
expanded shale improves the soil structure,
 allowing roots to breathe and helping to retain moisture.

Once the beds were prepared, the watering zones were established, and the irrigation system was installed.  This week the sod will go down, and the mulch will be spread on the beds.
And then, at last, I can start putting plants in the ground.
This long bed across the front of the courtyard wall will be one of the first challenges!


Meanwhile, in the still unmown fields around us, the bluebonnets are in full bloom.

New piers and boathouses are popping up all along our little peninsula, so I'm not sure how long we will have these wild places.

Kye and I love to wander here.

The grass is as tall as he is,
and there are some fascinating burrows to check out.
Happy Spring!


  1. I have never seen in person fields of bluebonnets. One day...

    Is Kye a poodle? Does he swim in the lake? What a lucky guy to enjoy such a lovely setting!!

  2. Hi Loi,
    Yes, Kye is a standard poodle (15 months). We try to keep him out of the lake, but everytime he sees an opportunity in he goes! So far he has kept his paws on the ground. Now that the weather is warming up (so that we don't freeze trying to rescue him), we'll have to make sure he really can swim.
    Thanks for all your kind comments. It's always a treat to see your name pop up!
    Happy spring!