During our infamous remodel of our home, we turned the face of the house around. It was facing the ridge and looking over the edge of the small mountain and our lawn was in the back yard. We decided that to maximize the use and structure of the home, we needed to have the front door face the lawn and utilize the back door that was surrounding my treetops as more of a shady retreat.
Our biggest problem was how to inform visitors as to where the "front door" entrance was to the home. Our drive pulls up to the side of the house facing an underground garage. It is difficult to know whether to go left (back door) or right (front door) to enter the house. From the driveway stop point, you can see steps leading to the screened-in porch, and to the right, you really can't see anything but a gate and retaining wall. I thought about painting a sign saying "This is NOT the way to the front door - turn around and go through the gate". But hubby thought that was a bit rude.
So we thought, we'll make the walkgate as attractive and obvious as possible and make the back door entrance as hidden as possible. So we started with flowers and ivy and herbs and nothing worked. We still got knocks at the back door. So, we decided to make a "path" leading from the drive way through the walk gate, up the small incline to the front door using natural stone. After researching, the only stone that matched the man-made stone on the facade of our home, was Pennsylvania Blue Stone. I wanted very large pavers and wanted them to look very organic. No straight edges or uniform size. The only place we could find those type of rocks was Earth Products in Marietta, Ga. They do deliver, but the delivery charges would have been astronomical based on the 2 hour drive to our home. So my dad has a small commercial truck and was willing to go with us to pick it up.
The pickup was easy. We needed four tons, by my calculations (and based on my profession, they were dead-on hahaha). My brother-in-law does landscaping and he and my nephew (the same ceiling painter I mentioned in my Behr review) were going to lay them in.
What we didn't expect, or I should say, THEY didn't expect is that some of those large 3' x 3' rocks could barely be lifted by two men. And since they were only 2-3 inches thick, if you dropped one, it broke. Which happened. But fortunately, I had factored that into my waste calculations.
Installation was a nightmare. The guys had to dig down into the ground, the red clay Georgia ground in July, which is like chipping away at a terra cotta pot complete with grass trying to hold it down. They had to dig about six inches and then pack it back with 3-4 inches of sand and level each rock until it did not move. These rocks were irregular on the bottom also so sand had to be packed and the rock tested and then moved and some more sand packed in places and so on and so forth. They said the larger rocks would take a few hours each and the smaller rocks around 15 to 30 minutes. The 2 largest rocks, which are at the front of the walk gate and at the front of the porch took all day to set.
And all I could do was clap my hands in glee saying "OH! That looks so good! Ya'll are amazing! You should do that for a living! Look how good it is!! Need some water? Want a sandwich?" while they just glared at me.
After all was said and done, it looked beautiful. Grass has now grown completed around all the rocks and Mark can mow complete over them and they look as if nature placed them there. A few are broken where the sand didn't quite level them completely, but I think it just adds to the organic feel of the path.
Later, we purchased 2 more tons of the same blue stone, but in much smaller dimensions to make a path leading from the front door to the pool and from the screened-in porch to the pool and fire ring. Of course, my brother-in-law just stared at us like we were idiots when we asked him if he was interested in the job. We ended up getting two out-of-work newphews over the weekend to set them while hubby supervised. This makes natural planting beds and with solar lights lighting the way, it is as charming and as fairy-tale of a home as I could every have dreamed of as a little girl. I'm very fortunate that I have a wonderful husband who helps me realize my dreams.