Prior to laying down the railway, we had to build our garden and make the yard presentable. All the weathered brick we dug up was used as landscaping stone. We also used 12 inch flat cement blocks - also dug up. When the driveway was paved, the slate was taken up and used to make a patio and to extend the walkway past the garage.
We used about 12 bags of palmetto green stone for the garage walkway. Six bags of round, yellow stone was used on the patio. Six bags of 3/8" terra-cotta stone was used to ballast the track.
Here is a description of the work, in case you would like to make similar things for your garden:
Walkway: the walkway alongside the garage was made in three stages.
1) a trench was dug - 6 inches deep, about 18 inches wide.
2) brick is laid on both sides
3) larger blocks (you can also use flagstones, etc.) are placed at intervals, equal distances apart and evenly between the brick.
4) Gravel is poured and spread. We used a broom to spread it. Gravel is then tamped.
5) The area by the door is wider. In place of blocks, we used a circular stone. It was bought at a local nursery for $2.00
Brick well: the brick planter was a trick to conceal a tree stump. The original idea came from similar planters that had been on the family place since...well...as long as I could remember. Those were made of round field stone. Mine used brick. I ran a course of brick around the tree stump, leaving about 6 to 8 inches between brick and stump. The brick was inclined very slightly inward. The gap was filled with soil. Moist - not wet or muddy - soil was also used as "mortar." Another course was run, edged slightly inward about 1/4 to 1/2 inch. It was completely filled with topsoil. Again, soil was used as 'mortar." A third and final course of bricks was laid, and the inside filled with topsoil. Any gaps between bricks was plugged with brick shards of small stones.
The "well" was allowed to settle. More soil was added, more gaps plugged. Ours was to be part of a garden that had a rustic feel, so any unevenness in the courses was allowable. We eventually planted tiger lilies. These had to be planted close to the brick, as the stump did not allow us to plant them deeply in the center.
For added effect, small slabs of slate were placed around the base of the brickwell. These serve both to fend off erosion and to highlight the red brick and the adjacent ground. The different stone adds a nice effect. Had we not had a railway, it would still have offset the terra cotta gravel nicely and separated it from the brick well.
"Ballasting." We ballasted our pike., Even if you are not running a pike, you might want to have a small course of gravel surrounding the brick well. Dig a trench about six inches wide, three to four inches deep. Spray the trench well with plant killer. Fill with gravel. (We used terra-cotta, as it worked well with the brick.) Tamp and allow to settle for two to three weeks. Fill, grade, etc.as needed.
The "rocks" After breaking up some thick slate, I ended up with striated, uneven pieces. These were put in the corner of the garden. They resembled miniature cliffs. The longer line was placed at the edge of the garden area itself. A smaller clump was placed closer, on the near side of the track. I feel that if it were not for track, the smaller stone pile would be unnecessary.
Our stations are bird houses and bird feeders, painted and placed. They will receive more embellishment as we enhance our railway. Main station is in Lackawanna station colors of green and maroon. The others are painted the same yellow as our house, with green roof and appropriate trim.
At the start of the walkway are two Emerald Green evergreens.
Pines were planted around the yard, outside the garden area. One stands to the front of the garden.
Those four big green tufts are heather.
A yucca was already growing 18 inches from the tree stump. The brick well runs between stump and yucca.
The original driveway was slate. We has an asphalt driveway put in. This left us HUGE slabs. Some were used in other chores, and some were made into a patio. Slabs were merely placed close together. Yellow, round gravel was poured into the seams between slabs. A broom was perfect for getting gravel into the cracks. I used brick as a border.
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