Over the weekend we worked on adding garden beds and plantable space into the backyard landscape. The big project was building the compass bed that we mentioned in our 2010 planting guide. The final result looks like this:
The stones are reclaimed antique quartzite street pavers. They were under Lake Street in Minneapolis until a few years ago when they were removed during major re-development of the street. We have been using reclaimed street pavers for most of our landscaping. The look and feel of these old pavers adds something unique to the landscape and the beds immediately have the look of being there for a long time.
We started on Friday afternoon marking off where the outer circle of the garden bed would be in the yard using chopsticks and twine.
With the circle marked off we used a shovel to dig up the grass and our rototiller to break up the clumps.
We then moved the chopsticks and twine to the inner side of the outer circle and made a trench were the pavers would go.
The trench was compacted and class five limestone was laid down. The limestone was then compacted and forms a sturdy base for the pavers.
Each stone was set into place, forming the outer circle, and then the earth within the bed was evened out (with a little help from the chickens!)
Next we marked off the inner circle. Then using compass and string we marked off the north-south line and the east-west line. In a similar way to laying the outer circle, we set the N-S and E-W lines with stones.
Lastly, we added the inner ring raising it slightly from the rest of the bed. With all the stones set in place we added a compost and vermiculite to the soil, and cultivated once more. The bed is now ready for planting!
We finished on Sunday afternoon and are really happy with the results. This bed is really ascetically pleasing and very functional. The N-S and E-W lines allow easy access into the garden without ever walking on and compacting the soil. The inner side of the outer ring has a radius of 5.5 feet. If you subtract the area taken up by the stones within that circle we have added another 83 square feet of plantable space! This year that means: squash, corn, beans, basil, lavender, calendula, and sunflowers!