1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Green vs. rubber mulch update

Post in 'The Green Room' started by Mo Heat, May 17, 2006.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    848
    Loc:
    St. Louis, Missouri
    Well, I got scared and decided to forego the rubber mulch. We put down pine nuggets instead. They look pretty cool, are about the color and texture I was shooting for, but a bit here and there still sticks to Doggy Mo Heat's paws. This may improve with time and settling of the little pieces below the big ones.

    I saved quite a bit of money over the projected rubber mulch price. Hopefully it will keep the weeds down well enough. If I ever get a digital camera, or barrow the b-n-l's again, I'll post a pic. Thanks for the feedback.

    Now it's on to the stone planters (currently tie-wall planters). We've selected the stone style (from Home Despot) and have bought about 12 blocks just to get a feel for how they look. So far we like them. Due to the extreme variation in color of these blocks, I may skip some of the drainage infrastructure. I don't think there is much danger of water stains making them look bad and its a somewhat rain sheltered area (under the eve, atop a hill, and next to the foundation) with a healthy grade away from the foundation. The current planters don't have any special drainage accommodation and they are fine so I don't think it is absolutely needed since it's worked fine for 18 years as is. Anybody know something I don't?

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Messages:
    1,830
    Loc:
    Casper Wyoming
    How tall are the planters going to be? The only thing I'd be concerned about if your not going to do a pea gravel base is the weight of the dirt beind heaving the wall. I've seen it happen to alot of walls around here. One was kind of comical as it was a job that I was underbid on. I explained the work I would be doing, compacting the gravel for the foundation of the wall etc. The other guy just came in dug a trench and build a wall. 1 year later it's heaving all over the place. The one I built around the same time is still holding strong it's now been 2 years.
  3. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    848
    Loc:
    St. Louis, Missouri
    Shane, I WILL be doing a pea gravel base, placing gravel below the stone blocks. And I figure I'll even buy and use one of those hand tampers if it's not too expensive.

    The parts I was planning to skip were:

    1. The perforated landscape tube and dirt sock at the base and just behind the blocks and the accompanying water exit (drain?) through the blocks (somewhere);

    2. the stone building instructions I've read recommend placing (a whole lot of) pea gravel on top of that drain pipe so that it occupies six inches or so behind the blocks. This separates the blocks from the dirt, thus allowing any water free egress from the planter dirt. I assume this is to help prevent heaving and water staining of the blocks where water might otherwise be forced to exit here and there through the block facade.

    My wall is only around 2 feet high. Less in most parts (four tiers: 1 square, 3 rectangles of diminishing depth). There is one section, less than 5 feet wide (the square), that is about 2.5 feet high. I plan to use the existing foundation as a starting point for the entire project, so that dirt should be plenty compacted after 18 years. I don't know if there is a pea or base gravel foundation or if it is just dirt below the ties and timbers. I suspect it is just dirt (I'm pessimistic by nature ;). I'm not aware of anyone ever mentioning (to me) using foundation gravel as a base for railroad tie-wall and landscape timber boxes. My boxes are a mix of the two.

    Have you ever included, or do you regularly include, a drain pipe setup behind the lower course of blocks (with or without the dirt sock), topped by a six inch wide layer of gravel to separate the blocks from the dirt? This would tell me a lot. Especially if you build higher retaining walls without this type of drainage setup.
  4. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Messages:
    1,830
    Loc:
    Casper Wyoming
    I'd never go over a couple of feet without one. I always lay a 6" wide layer of gravel behind the wall and compact it as we go up even if there is no drain tube. The hand tamper is definately a must and they're only around 30 bucks so it's not likely to break the bank.
  5. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2006
    Messages:
    3,654
    Loc:
    Boulder County
    The hand tamper might break your back, that tool still gives me nightmares.
  6. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    848
    Loc:
    St. Louis, Missouri
    I came across a free-be camera. Here's how the mulching turned out...

    Attached Files:

  7. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    848
    Loc:
    St. Louis, Missouri
    ... and another angle...

    Attached Files:

  8. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    6,987
    Loc:
    Sand Lake, NY
    Looks very good. I just got finished putting in a concrete paver walkway. Ditto on that hand tamper - you get to feeling insane pretty quick. Also with the mattock. I did 4" of what they call crusher run base around here, plus a 1" stone dust leveling layer on top of that. Did a basket weave design to minimize cuts but still had to do a bunch to match the round concrete step. Used a masonry blade on a table saw-worked well. There is a link below to pics, if anybody cares. I figure I saved 3 grand doing the work myself - but it was quite lengthy and tedious for me. I have a new respect for labor saving devices, since I used none, lol. The sand is still on the pavers.

    http://velvetfoot.com/coppermine/thumbnails.php?album=5
  9. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    848
    Loc:
    St. Louis, Missouri
    Wow. That's a lot of pavers. Makes my back hurt just looking at them. Looks nice, though. I like that crescent shaped step. The whole house has charm. I don't think I've seen many breeze-ways like that on newer homes. I had one of those once on an old farm house. It was screened in and I just loved sitting in there in the spring and fall (Texas). Not so good in the winter or summer, though.
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    49,862
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    We'll be setting pavers this weekend after the steps and landings are mortared in. We're using the old bricks from the chimney for these spots. They looks really good. Before the pavers went in we put in tons of fill, compacted that with a jumping jack. Then about 20 tons of crushed stone (about 8" deep), compacted again with a vibrating plate compactor. We were told don't use pea gravel or stone as a base. You don't want to use a rounded stone as they can move over time and don't compact as well as crushed stone. Today will be 1-2" of compacted fines ( the dust from crushing rocks). Then come the pavers and they get compacted when sand grouted. This is a pretty large setup and we don't want it to move when done. Around the perimeter is a perf. drain in pea stone with landscape fabric wrap. I'll post pics soon.
  11. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    6,987
    Loc:
    Sand Lake, NY
    Thank Mo. We have a long way to go since we have absolutely no landscaping.

    BeGreen, sure sounds like a big job. Labor saving devices are indeed wonderful. How are you doing the edging? I used plastic edging that I never got the hang of and I'm confident it'll move after this winter. They told me 8" of crusher run was good enough for a driveway.
  12. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    49,862
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Plastic edging is a pretty common solution. We're using Abbotsford edging system. It will be visibly hidden but is pretty stout and anchored by 10" galv. nails.

    http://www.pavingstones.com/edgepro.htm

    PS: Hi Mo, Welcome back. I'm like the mulching solution. Hope it works out well for you. If a bit of it sticking to the dog paws is the worst issue, I'd say " no worry!" :)
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page