In April 2015 we laid-out our garden plan for the front yard. Given we have the septic tank and two overflow tanks, we needed to be sure the Main Septic Tank (the one with the two access covers circled in red) remained accessible.
After the septic system was installed and graded over we ordered topsoil and I spread it at about 4″-6″. I gave myself some extra for future flower beds:
We came up with a semi-circular plan. In the below photo, I’ve already set the 4″x4″x6’0″ pressure treated (PT) posts for the picket fence.
About the Fence:
The yard is sloped slightly to the right and also toward the street (background) in the above photo. I had to figure the 4’0″ maximum height, permitted by the Township, and determine whether the fence could be horizontal or if it would have to be stepped. This meant each post would be set at a slightly different height but the tops of which would be level with its neighbouring post.
I also had to take the height of the pickets and set them as close to the ground as possible at the highest ground elevation so, at the lowest elevation there wouldn’t be too much space (or so I hoped).
I dug 30″ deep holes at 8’0″ on center; starting with the post at the lowest point since that is where the natural gas and water lines are located. This way I would know my 8’0″ center wouldn’t be right on that spot I couldn’t dig. That spot is the nearest (bottom right) post in the below picture. One can also see the lines of rose bushes we planted just inside where the fencing is going up. They alternate in colours of red and pink.
Using a post level and strings strung from the temporary lot-corner posts; set 12″ back from the property line, Marina and I would wrap the bottom of the post in a 4’0″x4’0″ piece of landscaping fabric and lower the post into the hole. I poured small stones into the space between the post and fabric and carefully lifted the post out of the hole until its top reached the 4’0″ level string. The stones would fall from the sides of the post and fill the cavity created when I lifted the post to the string. Then, using a rubber mallet, I’d pound the post back down, to compact the stones, pour more stones into the space around the post, and lift it again to the string. By the third time the post would be set. Then I’d pack more stones around the post and compact these using a piece of 2″x4″ as a tamper.
We bought inexpensive, assembled 8’0″ sections of picket fencing and screwed these into the posts; pre-drilling holes to avoid splitting the wood. During this process I realized the posts were between 8’0″ and 8’4″ apart, as a result of trying to center a 4″x4″ post in an 8″-10″ diameter hole, straight and set-back properly. About half of the 8’0″ sections of fencing don’t abut its neighbouring section. And, in those cases when it does, I see the manufacturer wasn’t exactly consistent in the dimensions of the horizontal wood supports and the heights at which they were set to the pickets. Meaning, I had to accept a little imperfection:
In most cases, I was able to fill the gab with wood putty. But in cases like that pictured here, I’m not sure what to do to conceal the gab; if anything. I might cut filler pieces from 1″x3″s to fill such gaps. This is also a good picture to point out that the pickets of the fence we bought are shorter than I prefer. We set the posts at a height of 4’0″ and, in a few years, may replace the pickets with something fancier and taller. I know it looks odd to have the post so much taller than the picket but, “So what?” I’m thinking of attaching a carved wood medallion or small decorative design of some sort to ‘take up space’.
Above: This northwest corner has the largest gap between the bottom of the picket and the ground.
Below: This southwest corner (looking north) has the lowest gap.
Above: Looking north from the driveway. Actually, the pickets were touching the ground so I shoveled out a V-shaped ditch, lined it with landscaping fabric, and filled it with stones.
I laid a brick walkway as a “placeholder” for when we have the asphalt driveway and parking area replaced with reclaimed brick. When the driveway is redone we’ll have the walkway redone at the same time. Also, by seeing the walkway there now, we might be inspired to how we want the brick pattern, as well as, whether or not to add seating or an archway of some sort.
About the Garden:
This is what was planted, in early 2015, to see how we liked the selection and how they would hold up in that location. (No, the house isn’t sinking; I’m not holding the camera level)
We made sure there would be spaces to walk among the landscaping. We’re still thinking about what sort of growing thing with which to replace the grass as it’s annoying to mow in arcs.
In the below photo, the birdbath is on one of the access lids to the main septic tank. In the foreground left will be a gate to give access to it, as well as, give access to the side yard.
This gate will be to the left in the below photo.
“Before” photo, taken when we bought the house: