May 15, 2017

Landscaping with Herbs: A Lavender Lined Walk

We've been tackling quite a few weekend-sized home projects since the spring weather has kicked in, one of which includes a little refresh of our front sidewalk...
Specifically, the addition of lavender lining the brick walk:

For some background, you may remember how at the start of this year we'd made plans to remove the dying gardenia bushes lining our front walk...

To make a long backstory short, the beautiful hedges that lined our front walk upon moving into our home 5 years back took a slow turn for the worse (see them in their original glory here). After browning from winter freeze, then pruning them down to stubs two summers back, they began to grow back but ultimately never reached the same effect they'd once had. Womp womp...

We also liked the widened look & feel of the front walkway the trimmed-down shrubs provided, so over the fall and winter months, we dreamed up a plan to remove and re-plant the area with a completely new approach.

So! That time has come — over the course of a Saturday morning this April we set out to completely uproot the gardenias, remix the soil lining the front walk and cover the area with weed barrier before planting with fresh lavender.

The gardenias were surprisingly easy to uproot, likely because they were dying so it made for a quicker job than we'd originally anticipated.

It's amazing how empty and clean the space felt once the hedges were gone:

We prepped the beds by mixing in some fresh organic planting soil before planting 4 lavender bunches in each row. We'd also measured out strips of weed barrier to nestle between each plant that will hopefully cut down on future weeds in this space.

To finish the beds, we poured in 4 small bags of marble rock chips. The marble brightens up the beds and should help provide nice drainage while keeping everything in place. Here's a current shot, just a few weeks after planting which shows the rock and how the lavender blooms have really begun to take off:

We decided on lavender for a few reasons. First, we fell in love with the wild, fragrant bushes from the grounds of our stay in Italy the summer before last and felt like it would be a nice reminder of that trip. Secondly, as a landscaping element lavender is known to be hardy both in hot and cold temperatures. It's also bee-friendly and a perennial, so we're ultimately hoping that this choice will be low maintenance, easy to care for and eventually grow bigger into bushier, more natural feeling shrubs to line the walk.

In general, it just feels so good to be out in the spring weather, working on outdoor projects again. Little weekend updates like these are fun to tackle together and seem to make such a difference once complete, you know?

We're happy with the results at this stage and as a next phase are mulling over replacing our current grass with sod since it's proven difficult to fill in the patchiness. And for those wondering — those are early spring pea shoots in the front planters. Now, if only we could find our concrete dog statues!

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  1. Did you guys ever find your Weimaraner Statues?

  2. Heike, we are still looking! We've found a couple good leads, but still on the hunt for the perfect pair — we think they'd look nice out front here :)

  3. It's been a couple months, how is the lavender doing? I live in Italy and my husband and I are wanting to plant herbs outside, but every time I put something out there that says full sun, they dry up within a day. I am currently trying to regrow mint, cilantro, celery and basil in the apartment, but I want to do lavender and rosemary the most. We have a shed that we are planning on doing pallet planters we'll see. So glad I ran across your page!

    1. We are so happy you asked! Things are looking great and we were just talking about taking the dry older lavender leaves and putting them in our guest room. This should allow for continued new growth.

      Best, Tim and Mary


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