Real Work at May Dreams Gardens

Just so you know, not all my time is spent smelling the flowers (in this case, asters), taking pictures to share for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day or reading the latest book selection for the Garden Bloggers' Book Club. Sometimes real work has to be done here. Real work, like rebuilding the retaining wall for the foundation planting bed that was once full of English ivy, Deutzia struggling to survive with the ivy and some Hypericum shrubs that succumbed to bagworms.

I've been digging and pulling and ripping out the ivy off and on for several days, and I've removed most of it. So today was the day to rebuild the retaining wall.

Here's the before picture of the wall, leaing out, all crooked and looking like it might fall down with one good kick.

Here's the 'in process' picture. All the retaining blocks have been removed and that's one of my hoes that I brought out for the job of moving the dirt out of the way.
And here's the after picture of the wall rebuilt.
I sure hope you can see a difference! I used a little level to keep the block level side to side, and ever so slightly tilted in toward the bed.
The most awkward part was getting down here under the Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata).
I'm sure that was a good show for the neighbors to watch. My neighbor next door came over and said it looked like too much work. His house next to me has nothing planted on the side.

When I got all done, I had one block leftover. I'm not sure how that happened, but I don't see a big gap anywhere, so I guess it was just a spare part and I was more efficient building the wall a second time.

Tomorrow I'm going to go to the mulch store and get half a scoop of top soil to fill in the bed. Then the fun part! Going to the nurseries and garden centers to find some shrubs to plant in here.

After that I can turn my attention to the patio, which needs to be weeded. The work really never ends in a real garden.
Any guess as to how long it took me to rebuild the retaining wall, start to finish? Hint: I'm told that I work pretty fast and I had a break to eat an apple and drink some iced tea and then a second break to just get some water.


  1. That looks so nice! You deserve to be proud of that work...I guess the time it took depends on the temperature...if it wasn't too hot or humid and if wasn't too hard to take down I'm guessing four hours?
    And it's so true...every time I, I got a lot done!.. I see some other big job waiting in the wings.

  2. Your new wall looks great! Be sure to keep that extra block just in case you need it the next time you redo the wall, which you probably won't have to do for a long, long time. ;-)

  3. It looks great, Carol. Since you had the layout already done and you are a fast worker, I'm going to guess 3 1/2 hours, not counting break time. More time if you had to remove grass or weeds.

  4. The old wall looked pretty loosely built especially around the curves so that's probably why you have the extra brick. The new wall looks nice and tight, you really did a great job! Boy, everyone is guessing for rather quick times. It would probably take me at least a day to do the job if not longer. You would have to remove the brick, tamp and level the footing soil and re-brick probably more than a 100 bricks.

  5. Since it took my husband and I the better part of 4 hours to install a simple 16 block retaining wall, I'm guessing it only took you 3 hours to do a project roughly 10 times as large!

  6. Well, let's see, you did have a brick left over so it obviously took you less time than the first retaining wall. Hummm, I'm going to guess 5 hours 10 minutes and 38 seconds. Do I get the left over brick if I win?

  7. OK....let's see. 6 hours 13 minutes.

    BTW...since you seem to have that down to a science, would you like to come show me how to do that?? LOL!

  8. I love these before-and-after photos. It looks like you did a great job.

  9. Very nicely redone. But a leftover part...that's always the way isn't it. I must be a very dawdling type of worker because this kind of job always takes me days.

  10. Project looks great-and what a difference it made! I'm guessing 2 1/2 hours for your project.

  11. Carol,

    Your wall looks great and very sturdy. Now the fun begins! I am eager to see the final result.

    I think that job would take one day of daylight for me - so, for you, only 4 hours.

  12. All... thanks for the nice compliments on my new wall. Those were good guesses... Robin's Nesting Place came the closest. It took me 3 1/2 hours, which included breaks, to tear down and rebuild the wall.

    Carol at May Dreams Gardens

  13. Great work - makes you feel accomplished, doesn't it?

  14. The wall looks great, Carol. Can't wait to see that bed all planted up :-)

  15. Dang, you're a fast worker, Carol!

    As to weeding that patio - what you need is one of those propane torch wands. You could have a lot of fun with it.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose


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