Splurging on the rear driveway

I’m no longer exactly certain why I chose to spend my hard-earned money on a piece of earth that I wasn’t using much (yet). It wasn’t because after the insurance appraisal guy came I got a letter from the insurance company saying:

“The following items, while not requiring immediate attention, were observed during the Protective Home Assessment. These advisory items include:

  1. All of the overgrowth/weeds in the rear yard should be removed from the premises.”

There was no item 2!

I showed you how nice our rear alley is a few posts ago, but let me show you again:

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Neat and tidy to the left of us.
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Neat and tidy to right.
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MINE!

This is after I removed the “overgrowth/weeds”! So perhaps, although no one said anything to me or complained, I decided to have the drive re-paved to keep up with my neighbors and not be the shame of the block. Perhaps.

Yes, it wasn’t very pretty. And yet, I liked it. Because from above…

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You could see it was once very nice. I adore those bricks!
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Maybe there had been grass or a tiny garden over here.

So after I turned down a small company to do the landscaping and hardscaping on my front yard, I contacted them again to ask about the driveway. Again, the price was over my head, but I decided to accept it.

Maybe it was because I thought being straight from Italy, they would have a good idea of what I wanted and do a solid job. I think they did, actually, but considering it took them three days and probably less than 10 hours altogether, the price was a tad European, too.

Here’s the work:

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They began tearing it all out on Oct 30. Goodbye lovely old bricks.
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Luigi said he didn’t want to re-use the old brick. 😦
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They took advantage of the good weather and came back to lay the concrete on Nov 2.
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Then we waited…
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…and waited…
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Until finally on November 8, Luigi and his countryman returned to lay the red brick.

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Done!
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I was instructed to sweep the sand into the cracks a little at a time.

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Actually, the concrete “tire paths” are a little too far apart, but man, it’s pretty!

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Luigi and I didn’t always see eye to eye, but I talked him into leaving a tiny strip on the right for water to drain to.

The old cinder blocks piled up on the side were from a wall that my other contractor had removed. He kept promising to come and take them away, but never did. Considering the oncoming winter, I wanted to get some topsoil for my new tiny garden and put in some plants. So, one day I just put on my working gloves (I have two pairs) and moved them myself to the pavement beside the house.

Then I did more research to figure out how to get topsoil and how much I would need. Happily, my go-to garden center sells it and delivers it.

So, I got on the phone and ordered one cubic yard of topsoil.

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That’s one cubic yard.

But it was all dumped neatly in one spot and I would need some for the tiny strip and would need to spread it out evenly. Luckily, a cement guy had abandoned all his tools in my garage (long story) so I had a shovel.

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Little shovelful by little shovelful, I moved some earth.

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Moved lots more to reduce the pile to a nice flat, plantable area of earth. See? I already have the plants waiting there behind the broom, which is why I had to get to work and not delay.

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Done. That was simply exhausting. Now all I had to do was plant my creeping myrtle (Vinca minor).

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What I didn’t realize was that that would be the hard part! There were 100 of them! I left a little room in the middle, near the neighbors’ deck post, for the future forsythia.

Taxonomy and Botany of Vinca Minor Vines

Plant taxonomy classifies this plant as Vinca minor. Its common names are “creeping myrtle,” “common periwinkle,” and “periwinkle flower.” But this is a case where the scientific name is at least as well known as the common names, so most gardeners just use the scientific name, Vinca.

Vinca minor vines are evergreen perennials of the broadleaf variety, with a creeping habit.

Because they are used most often for filling in large patches of earth, Vinca minor vines are also classified as ground covers. They belong to the dogbane family.

Qualities of the Plants

Vinca minor vines stay short, sprawling out over the ground. They typically stand only 3-6 inches off the ground, but their trailing stems can reach 18 inches in length. The stems of these plants root at their joints as they creep along the ground and spread rapidly to become a pretty flowering ground cover able to fill in a large area and keep weeds down.

Vinca minor vines most commonly put out a blue flower in spring. But the color can also be lavender, purple, or white. They may bloom now and again in summer, too, but the summer display will not be nearly as good as the spring display.

But there were only five plants to put in on the other side.

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Creeping thyme! You can walk on it, drive on it and it should still thrive. I hope it spreads and spreads. And spreads its scent as well. I can always add more in between if they don’t spread quite fast enough. I’ll keep you posted.

. . .

Considering it snowed again today, it’s no wonder I’m feeling blue. Perhaps my next post will be about the front yard. I simply can’t wait for spring! I want to sit on my porch in the sun and watch my plants grow!

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