The Last Little Bit

My entire landscape budget and a lot more for 2010 went to repairing the fountain of my dreams.  So fine.  But every gardener knows how one improvement  project can lead to another. Buck made new steel edger strip for me, so the herniaria surrounding it would be on the same plane as the stone pool coping.  All of the herniaria had to be replaced, so why not fix that grade while I had the chance?  Given the heavy spring rains, it became apparent that the pool yard did not drain.  The grass was drowning-especially in the shadier end of the garden. So why not fix the lot of the problems, and then move on to some place else in the garden?  GP Enterprises came with a loader, a sod cutter, a plenty of plastic pipe. Their primary business is in the sale and moving of very large scale plant material, but they do drainage. Ralph would regrade the yard, install drainage pipe in gravel, and drain the water away in a solid pvc pipe to the driveway level garden.  Sounds like fun, yes?   

I know this sounds about as interesting as a trip to the dentist, but I knew it was time to address the problem.  The entire yard was torn up anyway-what harm could a little more commotion do?  The grass that came out of that yard had that too wet and rotting smell to it; I had made a good decision.  The best part of the story-the water in the pool yard was going to empty into my bed of butterburrs.  Butterburrs thrive on water; they are happy in decidedly swampy conditions.    

I went back to work after the first few yards of sod were stripped off.  I am only a fan of watching the deconstruction phase of landscape in someone else’s yard-not my own.  Too much water is frequently a problem in landscapes where the irrigation systems run amok.  But some ground just does not drain fast enough to keep plants healthy.  Too much water has the potential to rot the root hairs of every living plant.  The irony here-no matter how much water you pour to a plant with root rot, there is no absorption going on.   

Of course the Corgis thought the dirt was great fun.  They ripped around, rolled in it, tracked it onto the pool coping, and into the house.  Fortunately this phase was only to last 24 hours.  

A perforated drain set in pea gravel was placed at the base of the wall.  The nicked irrigation lines and low voltage lighting lines got repaired.  I was handwatering my new herniaria, in addition to all of my pots.  Having this to deal with in the 95 plus degree heat working outside all day long was exactly like a visit to the dentist.  Not visible in this picture-I finally ripped out all the not hardy helleborus angustifolius, and replanted the remaining ferns with European ginger.  I am happy about this change.

The drain pipe in place, all that remained outstanding was a finish grade, subtly sloping towards the drive, and the grass.  Positive drainage-as in ground pitched such that water would naturally drain to a good spot, is the drainage method of choice.  Pipes can get clogged, or are too small to handle a deluge of water.  But where there is little pitch, a well done drainage system can be the difference between a landscape that thrives, and a swamp. 

I do like my grass; it will take a while for this sod to root sufficiently such that it can be mowed. That green is the best, is it not?   

This part of the garden is finally ready for company.


  1. Hooray for you! The fountain area is complete!

    P.S. I feel smarter every time i read your posts.

  2. Lovely, classic simplicity — stunning!

    You’re right in that the grading, irrigation, and all the ‘unseens’ are so important — not only to your continued maintenance and plant health, but also in protecting your investment.

    All the work was obviously worth it.

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