Remember that eroded clay bank of a hill in my backyard? I’ve tried grass seed, grass mats, and I have thought about railroad ties, landscaping timbers but nothing seemed to work until I bit the bullet and started designing and building a landscape block series of walls. They are of different length and height but are all of the same color, texture, and effect. Each wall has its foundation buried into the hillside and is further supported with a 3 foot long, ½ inch thick steel rebar pounded into the ground with only six inches exposed. This holds the foundation block in place and each successive layer of block has a lip on the edge which secures it firmly in place.
I started at the top of the hill on a fifty-fifty coin toss and I am sure many would say I should start at the bottom. I curved the wall into the hill at several places as I wanted to avoid a static straight line wall. The different heights of the wall gave variety and created pockets for daylilies and vases to hide, swarm, and peek out at the world. I worked through a whole pallet of block and will need to order one more to complete the third wall at the bottom. I am using a variegated red and gray unit which again adds some color interest and with brown mulch should look pretty good. As the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening, the texture changes with shadows and brightened crevices.
My neighbor, Tim, made an early statement that it would be a long project and his prediction is coming true. But I enjoy the work and some days I can only dig and pound for a few hours or like yesterday, I worked two three hour shifts. As the sun and temperature rise, my ability to work fades and I am getting into a mid-morning and early evening routine. I keep the block behind my fence in the back of the lot and I did have enough foresight to build a six-foot hidden gate in the privacy fence last year. Only five block at a time can be wheelbarrowed from the back and then I toss each down the slope and watch them hop, slide, and plop next to the wall in progress.
So far, only the very first group of daylilies were transplanted and that patch was only to act as an incentive so I could focus on my final goal. They are doing well and I water them daily. I have hundreds more ready to go and the vision of red-gray block, bright green daylilies leaves, and multi-colored vases and planters keep me plodding onward. This project will get done!