Thursday, May 31, 2012

A New Flower Bed

We decided to make a flower bed in our yard this spring.  We had an area in our yard where the grass had been struggling for a couple of years so we decided to put a flower bed in the space.  The most interesting part of the project is the border.  It is made from left -over bricks.

If you have any left-over bricks, this is a great way to use
them to make an attractive, durable and inexpensive border for your flower beds
or other landscaping projects. 
 The border is also a great weed/grass barrier. 

So if you have bricks like this, you can turn them into the border like we did.
We used this same idea about 11 years ago when we built our home.  We have used bricks to make borders for all our planted areas in our yard.  My husband said he has even bumped one with the riding lawn mower and the border didn't give way so they are durable.

Here's our problem area as we got started with the project.  We have red clay.  It is very hard and unpleasant to use for gardening.  My husband dug up the area by hand with a pick ax and shovel.

We had already decided on the shrubbery we were going to use.  We selected Helleri Holly (they look like a boxwood-not a prickly holly). We already had some of these growing in our yard and they seem to do well in the clay.  We also wanted to add some summer color, so we got these knock-out roses.  They bloom all summer and many of our neighbors have them, so we felt like they would do well in the new flower bed, too.  Our other purchase was a Japanese bloodgood maple.  We have two of these in our back yard and they have done well.  We have been composting for several years and we used all that wonderful compost to mix into the clay. 

Here's my husband finishing up the planting in the afternoon sun.

The next task was for me to haul bricks from the back of our property.  I know my husband
was going to do this himself, but I don't mind doing things like this. 

After I got the bricks moved to the area where we were
 going to be using them, I needed to get them
placed just right.  This is the most tedious part of the project. 
 You need to put the person who has
an eye for detail on this job (I'll volunteer). 
The better the bricks look now, the better they will
look when the project is complete. 
You will need a hand trowel to help
even the soil up under the bricks.
  A little scoop there and a little scoop scraped away here. 
The bricks need to be about a finger apart.

This is what ours looked like when I was done. 
Yes, I did continue to tweak them before we finished.


Then, a day or so later, when the ground isn't too wet or soft....you walk on them.
  Don't rock your feet, just walk across them.

Then, get some cement. Do not get the kind with the little rocks in it. 

Get a few of the plasti-cor campaign signs and cut them into two or three strips.

Place the sign strips on either side of the bricks. 
They should be flexible enough to use with curves.
Then, shovel the DRY cement onto the bricks.
We used to be very careful and exact. We would use a trowel to
put the cement onto the bricks and try to be so neat and tidy.
Nope! Not any more!!
Over the years, we discovered that you could just
shovel that cement in--it looked the same
when the border was complete
and was a lot easier and quicker.

Then, get an old paint brush and brush the cement into the spaces between the bricks.

Your bricks should look like this when you're done.

Now,take your hose and set the nozzle to mist and lightly mist the top of the bricks.

Your bricks will look like this when you're done.
Don't over mist.
Wait about five minutes....move the wheel barrow, have a sip of water, wipe your brow.

Then you remove the sign strips.  Move on and reuse and repeat the steps.

This is what the bricks look like in less than an hour later. 
I did use a large putty knife to scrape off the excess
 cement off the ends before it dried. Remember--details!

I was happy to garden in an area that has full sun.
When we first built our home, we had a lot of
sun in our back yard.  Now, the trees adjacent to our
property block the sun and I'm planting hostas.
 I was delighted to find some Shasta daisies this year. 
Gotta love a daisy--especially since they are perennials.
I planted a few Stella de Oro day lilies, too.
I also added some jonquil bulbs that
I hadn't planted that still seemed pretty healthy.
Now, a couple of weeks later and
everything we planted is doing great.

Here are the pink double knock-out roses.

I moved this garden bench from another spot in our yard. 
I like it here so much better

The brick border cost under $25.00--
the price of five bags of cement.
That's a pretty good price to pay for a border
 that will be enjoyed for years to come!

Joining the Party:

The Great Outdoor Linky Party


Anne said...

What a good man you have there! Your garden looks lovely. I adore bricks!


Jennifer L. Griffin said...

What a pretty bed! I feel your pain with the red clay, we have the same. The border turned out lovely, and your tutorial was great! I'm pinning because I think this will come in handy some day!

Revi said...

It looks great, Marsha, and I KNOW how hard that kind of work is! (We have black clay here.) Thanks for your tutorial about the cement between the bricks, too. I didn't know you could do it that way! I had laid a brick area just outside my small front porch, and I used sand. It now has things growing in it. I'll bet the cement wouldn't allow that to happen! Maybe I'll try this in a different spot now.

thistlewoodfarm said...


I love this idea! I never thought of using the dry cement? Then watering it down. We have so many extra old bricks from an old chimney here. I am totally showing this to my husband!

Have an awesome weekend!

PS Thanks for linking up.

Sarah said...

What a terrific job on the new bed. The border is lovely. Thanks for sharing your garden spaces.

Olive Cooper said...

The brick border is stunning. You will enjoy your hard work for sure.

Designs By Pinky said...

This looks beautiful! Thanks for the tips about doing the cement. Great idea to use the cut up signs as edging! XO, Pinky

Katie said...

Hi Marsha! Thank you for your comment on the blog! Your lamdscaping looks fabulous. You will like those pink double knockouts, I have five. Just watch out for the Japanese beetles, they will chew them up overnight! And do not spray too much weed killer around them, found that out the hard way. New Follower! :)

Karah @ thespacebetweenblog said...

So great! I love the use of the old campaign sign when sanding the brick!! Thank you for linking up at our party! :)

Linda @ it all started with paint said...

I have to agree with Ann. What a good and amazing man you have there! That is quite the undertaking and just love the results!

... and so very happy you shared at our Great Outdoors link party!



Alison @ The Polohouse said...

What a great project!
I am dying to put a new bed in for some privacy near my neighbors driveway and I am dreading having the whole grass thing dug out and hauled away!
So much work!
Should have done it before the heat came. Wish I could find some nice 19-year-olds to do the dirty work for us..... WAIT! I have one of those and he has friends!!!

You have INSPIRED me big time! We can do this!
Thanks so much for posting this. THANKS!!!


Eclectically Vintage said...

$25 - this rocks (I mean it bricks)!!

I have a ton of old bricks left over from our patio reno. This seems like the perfect project.

Thanks for sharing at our Outdoors party.

Shannon @ Cozy Home Scenes said...

Your garden is very nice Marsha. We made a few flower beds in places in the yard where grass won't grow, but we stacked landscaping rocks. If the lawnmower hits them, they always fall down. Your idea with the bricks and cement is a great tip that will make any garden look spectacular! Thanks so much for joining me at Your Cozy Home Party. Sorry it took me so long to drop by. Been a busy week for me. I do hope you'll drop by to share something again next time.

Kathryn-Victoria Smith said...

Thank you Marsha for your easy and cheap method of a brick garden edging. I too am a Christian living in Brisbane Australia. My garden is constantly a work in progress but keeping the grass from growing into the garden is a constant battle. Using brick edging would make mowing easier. I too live alone so all manual jobs I have to do. Keep in touch Kathryn.smithy@gmail.com

ionltd said...

No wonder so many campaign signs get stolen!!

Going to try this today