Sunday, June 16, 2013

Hellstrip Redemption

Redemption:  The act or process of redeeming

Redeem:
  1. To reform, change (for the better)
  2. To save, rescue, or recover.
  3. To reclaim (to return land to a suitable condition for use).
My hellstrip has been redeemed!  It has been reformed, transformed, and changed for the better.   It has been rescued from a mundane life of Bermuda and weeds needing to be mowed on a weekly basis.  I have reclaimed that long hellstrip of lawn and returned the land to a suitable condition for growing beautiful blooming perennials that attract visitors of the pollinator and people kind.

Here is how the area looked in January right after having the utilities marked.


The transformation began in March by having the Bermuda grass removed.  As the Bermuda attempted a comeback, and as soon as temperatures allowed, I followed up with Roundup applications to make sure the Bermuda was killed to the root, leaving me with a clean slate. 

Then in late May the day I had been waiting for arrived.  
    
3 cubic yards of compost, 2 tons of cobblestone, and 1800 pounds of moss rock boulders were delivered first thing in the morning, and I got right to work.


Since phone cables run the length of the area literally just inches below the surface, and sometimes on top of the ground, I could not till the soil, so I opted to mound the bed with compost. 

Then with the help of my husband, the largest boulders were placed in random spots throughout the bed.    I  also added several pieces of flagstone along the front edge of the bed to make an area for visitors to have something to step on instead of flowers.  Then I began adding cobblestones along the edges to hold the mounded compost.


On Day 2 I finished adding the cobblestones along the edges of the bed.
 

On Day 3 I added the plants, and on Day 4 I mulched the bed.

And here's the finished product!

Notice the heart-shaped boulder :-)   
I love how the new bed turned out!!


You can see the taller plantings in the bed on the other side of the sidewalk.   All of the plants I chose for the hellstrip plantings are lower growing.
 (See detailed plant list below)


Elfin Thyme was added between the flagstones.  I am not sure if it can take this much heat, but I will replace it with sedum acre if it does not do well.  A variety of sedums and thymes were added along the cobblestone edges to soften the look over time as they creep between the rocks.



Before and After


Here's a list of the plants I used:

Catmint 'Walker's Low'
Zexmenia hispida
Lamb's Ear 'Helen Von Stein'
Ice Plant, Delosperma cooperi
Pink Skullcap, Scutellaria suffrutescens
Pincushion Flower, Scabiosa columbaria
Silvermound Artemisia, Artemisia schmidtiana 'Silver Mound'
Dianthus 'Bath's Pink'
Blackfoot Daisy, Melampodium leucanthum
Salvia nemerosa 'Snow Hill' and 'May Night'
Four Nerve Daisy, Hymenoxys
Creeping Phlox, Phlox subulata
Prairie Phlox, Phlox pilosa
Dwarf Mexican Petunia, Ruellia 'Katie's'
Daylily 'Little Missy' and 'Little Zinger'
'Hameln' Fountain Grass
Germander
Golden Oregano
Thyme:  Thymus vulgaris Lavendar, Elfin, Silver Posie, Lemon, Woolly
Sedum rupestre  'Angelina'
Sedum variegatum linearis, Cream & Green Carpet (also called 'Sea Urchin')
Sedum reflexum 'Blue Spruce'
Sedum pachyclados, Rhodiola pachyclados 
Sedum potosinum
Sedum sarmentosum
Sedum acre

I also added some 'Cora' Periwinkles and 'Sundial' Moss Rose just for some annual color this year until the perennials grow and fill in the extra spaces.   

Yes, my hellstrip has been redeemed!    In fact, I'd say it's downright heavenly now.

Do you have a piece of ground that needs rescuing?

Happy Gardening!

Toni :-)


41 comments:

  1. What a lot of work, Toni! It has paid off though as it looks great!

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Beth.
      Actually, other than removing the grass (which I paid to have a crew do), the rest of the process was really not that difficult since everything was so close by.

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  2. I agree with Beth. Hard work pays off.

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  3. It looks great now and so much better. Nice job getting rid of that useless bermuda.

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    1. Thanks, Shirley. Lawns can have a purpose, but not in that narrow strip for sure.

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  4. I do love a before and after project and yours came out great. You documented it really well too, in photos and in plant lists and sheer enthusiasm for reclaiming this spot. When the low plants all grow together and the sedum or thyme creeps into the rocks it will be such a nice welcome to your house. Great job!

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Laurrie. Yes, now just waiting for everything to grow and fill in so there will be less rock and mulch showing and more blooms and foliage :-)

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  5. You did a wonderful job, Toni. As someone currently in the process of removing large sections of grass I can appreciate the work that must have gone into your project.

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    1. Thanks, Chad. I have certainly done my share of grass removal shovel by shovel in my garden over the years, but this time I hired out that portion of the project. And believe me, I really appreciate all the work those guys did to get the grass out!! I just got to do the fun stuff with compost, rocks, and plants :-) Can't wait to see your projects at your new garden.

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  6. Nice job! This creates a nice welcoming entrance for your home-very inviting!

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    1. Thank you, Lee. It's been fun meeting new folks who were walking and driving by as I was working on the project.

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  7. That is wonderful..love it! Glad you could eek out a little time for your own project.
    Sheri

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    1. Hi Sheri!! Thanks for visiting :-) Yes, finally had some time to work on my project after everyone else's. Better late than never. Had so much fun transforming your front and backyards this spring!! Can't wait to see them fill out and mature.

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  8. Your hellstrip garden bed looks fabulous, even before the plants get a chance to fully establish and fill in! I am so impressed at your vision with the flagstones, cobblestones and raised bed.

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    1. Thanks GG! I always say a garden needs to look good even before a single plant goes in -- good bones :-) It is so much fun when the vision in my head comes to life!

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  9. That looks so nice. And it also looks like it was a lot of work. It will be stunning when everything has grown in a bit. I bet your neighbors are so jealous!

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    1. Thanks Holley! Truly, I have worked harder on other projects. This really was one of the easier jobs I've done in my garden because all the materials were just a few feet away from the project. I have the best neighbors! They were patient with the mess on the street for a few days, and they do appreciate the end result :-)

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  10. Very nicely done! Now I wish I had a hellstrip so I could do something similar. Wish I lived closer so I could stop on over to see it in person.

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    1. Thanks PP! I know it's a long trip down from WI, but if you're ever in the area, please stop by!

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  11. WOW...what an enormous improvement! It already looks amazing...and just imagine how awesome it will look as it matures! Your stone edging is so beautiful...great choice, there!

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    1. Thanks, Scott! You did a beautiful job with your hellstrip as well! I just couldn't wait till everything matures to post pictures; had to show it now :-)

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  12. Wow, it looks nice, you really did a great job, it has a lot of improvement.

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    1. Thanks for visiting and leaving your nice comment, BWF!

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  13. The step-by-step approach is so useful, but how you combined so many plants into that space is exceptional; I couldn't do it! Your use of cobbles / river rock, varied their sizes, then added spots of field stone / flagstone is a nice touch. In your case, I don't think you'll have the weeds I might here with such an approach (blowing dust here and all). Nice!

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    1. Thanks so much, David! It was kind of a jigsaw puzzle combining the plants and coordinating it with the beds on the other side of the sidewalk. The Hameln Fountain Grasses were the anchors and then placing the Zexmenia to stagger the yellow color in the new bed with the Zexmenia in the existing bed and placing the most drought tolerant plants farthest from the sprinkler heads and spacing out the different types of sedums and thymes along the edges. It all came together nicely without a plan on paper. I don't think there will be too many weed problems once everything fills in.

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  14. It looks so much better after the grass was removed. Our neighborhood won't let anyone tear up the grass next to the street or I'd love to do the same. Love all the mini boulders. :o)

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    1. So far I'm the only one in the neighborhood who has planted the hellstrip, but maybe I will start a trend :-)

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  15. WOW! Looks fabulous! Such an improvement over a strip of grass. Your neighbors must be inspired!

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    1. Thanks Steph@RW! Yes, maybe the neighbors will be inspired to try this too :-)

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  16. Redeemed indeed! It really looks better now, great job on that.

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    1. Thanks for your nice comment, AML! Hopefully it will just get better as the plants mature. I'll keep everyone posted on the progress as time goes on.

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  17. This is looking great! I can't wait to see it in another couple seasons.

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  18. Toni that turned out awesome! Can't wait to see how it matures. :)
    Ken and Jackie

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  19. It looks great, Toni! I like the use of the different types of rocks.

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  20. That's the best before and after garden I've ever seen. I love rounded boulders and the edge work on your project is so appealing. I like the way the whole garden strip with stones and plant flows naturally in this makeover. I would be tempted to think that the hellstrip went from your least favorite to your MOST favorite part of your garden.
    Great post.
    David/:0)

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  21. What a transformation! I love your design and all those plants packed in there. I will be following the progress - can't wait to see it filled in.

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  22. Beautiful garden and indeed, what a welcoming new view to everyone who visits. Love it!

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  23. I came across your blog accidentally and I am impressed! I bought my house a year ago and I am just in the beginning of the process of transforming my lawn into a garden. I can tell it will take me a while.

    It seems that we are neighbors as I live in the northern part of Euless (and I also have beautiful pictures of the winter ice!). Would you mind sharing the information about your soil supplier? I am planning to create flower beds and it looks It will be easier to have the soil/compost delivered than to buy it by a bag at a local home improvement center.

    Thank you!
    Olena

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    1. For bulk compost, here are the suppliers that I have used:
      Alpine Materials 817-685-2448
      Tex-Art Stone 817-481-9602
      Silver Creek Materials 817-246-2426
      Call and check per-yard price as well as delivery. Some have a higher delivery charge depending on your location.
      Happy gardening!!

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  24. We don't have a sidewalk near the street.. We have a sidewalk leading from the right lower part of the driveway to the house. Between the driveway and the dirt is a stone retainin
    g wall. I am working on the area between the sidewalk, the retaining wall, and the house. The left side border of the property is bushes. I am also working on the area between the upper left side of the driveway and the bushes.

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