Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Q. What Do You Do With Rocky Soil? A. Make Dry Laid Walls

In honor of Gardening Gone Wild's Design Workshop on fences and walls, here is a post about a rock "wall" my husband and I created.

In a prior post, I wrote about the disaster which befell us two summers ago when one of our oak trees fell after a storm and the tulip tree growing with it had to be removed subsequently:
This event not only ruined the shade garden I just planted, but also unearthed more rocks than you could believe. Further, the heavy machinery in and out of our backyard compacted the earth and made even more rocks visible on the surface. I always knew my property was rocky seeing that each time I dig a hole I come up with more rocks. But, what to do with so many rocks at one time?

In preparation of redesigning our backyard, I sketched on graph paper the outline of a central lawn bordered by different gardens and play areas for the children. Before finalizing the plan and laying the new top soil and grass seed for the lawn, we used the rocks to demarcate the future lawn and garden areas. It always helps me to transfer my plan on paper to the ground and adjust the plan according to what looks best.

Once we finalized these lines, we decided to relocate all of the now visible rocks from the tree and lawn areas for the safety and comfort of running and walking barefoot. It was at this stage that we decided to make the "wall" that provided a name for the Walled Garden.

We followed none of the rules of laying a dry laid wall, but simply stacked the rocks together in a line. It's not as beautiful as New England's dry laid walls, but its primitive appearance fits with the rest of our garden. All of the rocks have the distinctive orange coloring of all of the iron-rich earth in Chatham, New Jersey and the surrounding area.

For more on Gardening Gone Wild's Design Workshop, click here:


Nan Ondra said...

Hey, I too have walls just like that! As you say, they don't follow the rules of proper stone-laying, but they *are* relatively easy to move, which is something that can't be said for typical stone walls.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I think you are lucky to have your own rock supply. I like the wall. I would like to do this in one part of my garden. I just need the rock supply. Rocks are very expensive to purchase.

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