Paving the way

I’ve been working on a pergola project for a fair while now. Since October 2014 actually. It’s not exactly finished but it is now usable for more than just somewhere to dump stuff or for the kids to dig up. I spent New Years Eve, a glorious rather warm 34°C day digging and leveling sand out after having spent the few days before performing the same feat with road base. With that done I was most keen to get started and mercilessly beat into submission requested kindly of my hapless slave darling husband to purchase some pavers. With instructions on which ones to purchase and quantities, and with assurances from the store of adequate supply in stock, Martin came home with just enough pavers for me to play with to get an idea how it went and left me feeling both frustrated (at insufficient supply) and elated that the pergola was finally nearing completion.

The area I'm working on to put our pergola. The Cascade Hop vines are planted to grow over the arch over the back steps (hard to see here). Hops are medicinal, smell fantastic I hear and of course, are used in beer making. I believe nothing trumps using fresh hops.

Plans for a pergola begin with a salvaged pergola (timber in the bottom of the photo).

The corner sleepers are in.

The corner sleepers are in.


By December 2014 the reclaimed frame was in place and recycled laserlite up.


This is our cranberry wicking bed, still trundling along. In the background you can see some of the gravel down for the base of the paving. This is January 2015.

Yesterday however, the stars aligned. Our mate S met Martin at the store and with his trusty ute, brought home the hefty pallet-load of pavers. They then unloaded and S helped me to lay them out too, having had experience as opposed to my being a complete novice. Just before 5pm, Allegra helped to place the very last of the pavers. Hoorah! I swiftly moved a few bits of broken paver around, hauled my pots (with some assistance for the big one) into place and then filled it with potting mix, compost and an orange tree. The barbecue migrated this morning, as did our chairs. It’s now ready for use. 😀

Some of the paving, awaiting a light wetting down to help bed it all into place.

Some of the paving, awaiting a light wetting down to help bed it all into place.

The garden behind the paving doesn’t get much natural rain and most of the plants that have been left to their own devices in there aren’t looking so wonderful. Except the geraniums. I have a few others putting down roots in pots on the back deck which I will replant in this garden soon. Bright, cheerful and drought tolerant. What more can you want? 🙂 I’ll transplant the chives elsewhere. The violets I have already moved.

And my lovely new pots. They bring some colour but not too much hey Lynda. :)

And my lovely new pots (with red mushroom and a little hedgehog. They bring some colour but not too much hey Lynda. 🙂

We will keep an eye out for some matching chairs to the 3 or 4 we have been gifted and a table too (although I hope to avoid a brand new purchase if at all possible) and then before winter I would like to source some of those clear plastic blinds to try to keep our little orange tree warm and make the deck more usable in winter too.  I hope to install some gutters, some wire trellis and over winter, grow some grapes to plant in the garden to the north of the paved area which will provide summer shade and Autumnal snacks. 🙂

I spent this morning filling the gaps around the edges with a mix of potting mix, chook compost (clay soil, straw and “nitrogen berries” from the chooks and goats all blended nicely together) and water crystal mix onto which I’ve scattered either lawn thyme or low chamomile which will pretty up the edges too. I ended up replanting those extra violets along the western edge of the deck, next to where some are already growing. Hopefully they will all grow and fill out to be an aesthetically pleasing, aromatic, drought tolerant, low maintenance bee-food cover for the less than pretty edging in that area. I’m not asking all that much really. 😉

Violets planted in a small space. They will spread along the edge of the deck and smell beautiful.

You can see where I planted violets originally. I’ve now added some more to sit just to the front of the sleeper where there was a small gap between it and the pavers.

We have also ended up with a few more pavers than needed. I factored in several extras in case my mathematics was out and in case of breakages but it turns out that in many instances we needed marginally shorter than full length pavers and the broken ones turned out to be perfect for the job, so we’ve several more whole pavers than we needed. I will use them to lay a stepping stone path to the pergola and maybe even beyond if there are sufficient. This will help us to navigate the well worn path which becomes slippery in the wetter months. I used 2 of the pavers already for a base for a small rain barrel. 🙂

All in all I am super happy with how it has all come together and it is a productive and positive way to start off 2016. 😀


10 thoughts on “Paving the way

  1. Lynda D says:

    Yeah Jessie, well done. The blue with the red contrast is so lovely. Keep going and paint the frame and you;ll get a gold star from your neurotic friend.

  2. Michael says:

    Sterling effort!
    I too have some pavers to put down. I keep finding (any) other jobs to do first 🙂
    Although getting all the grapes netted was a priority 😀

    • From my experience (and such an awful lot of it there is 😉 ) the hard yakka park of paving is the preparation. I can understand procrastinating.
      Thanks for the reminder. Might be time to net my grapes too.

  3. Jo says:

    Jessie, that pergola is going to look lovely covered in grape vines. Very mediterranean. Excellent paving skills there. So what is the orientation of that side of the house? Is it going to give you afternoon shade in the summer?

    • Our block slopes down to the north (house facing the street is south) and the back deck, now a passive solar greenhouse, faces north. The pergola doesn’t shade the house (due to the slope) but it’s also to the north. The pots are on the north edge, the geraniums to the south and the violets are on the western edge, shaded by the raised beds and the barbecue is on the north eastern corner. 🙂

  4. Chris says:

    Well done, bringing it all together. I can appreciate the living in half finished projects, until you can find the time between children and animal wrangling. 😉

    And aren’t geraniums just the most die-hard plants, ever?

    • I swear geraniums get stronger the more neglect they receive. Mine must all be heavyweight champions!
      Half finished projects are part and parcel of our chosen lifestyle I reckon. For no sooner does the list appear to be ending when lo and behold, a new and exciting project is there, begging to be started. 🙂

  5. foodnstuff says:

    Lookin’ good! Well done. Paving must be in the air. I just bought some to do a bit alongside my garden work bench and at the entrance to the under-the-house storage area, leading on to the bottom of the back steps.

  6. Leigh says:

    Fantastic! I know so well how some projects can seem to take forever. And then when everything finally comes together it’s a joy. I like that you’re using the low growing thyme and chamomile. Great idea for ground cover and hopefully crowd out weeds!

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