On The Beach

I am not really on the beach, but every time I look at my new path, it reminds me of sand.  It is not ‘sandy’ coloured, so it must be the texture. I am not sure that I like it, I am hoping after all that work that I just have to get used to it.

When I laid out the Flora Glade, 4 years ago, I used the very lazy mans method of gardening. The lasagna method.  I laid out all my beds with bricks, placed a very thick layer of newspapers down, and then added a deep layer of topsoil.  For the paths, I also laid newspapers, then covered the newspapers with a thick layer of bark chips. I never wanted to leave the bark chips as a permanent feature, but we had a lot of them when a tree came down on our property. So I used them. 

They weren’t a perfect solution. As they decomposed, they turned to soil, which is good, but not for paths, and weeds grew in it, which is also not good.

So last week, I finally did something about it. We changed our paths.

First all the wood chips were raked up, and used as mulch on the existing flower beds. 

 Then I had to weed. Oh, it needed to be done.

Then the stone was wheeled in. I gave this a lot of thought, It might not appear like I did, but I did. There is not a huge selection of places in Owen Sound to get stone for paths, but I went to all of them, and looked at what they had. I decided to get what I call limestone screening, but might also be called stonedust. I had pea gravel paths in Kingston and really loved them, but I found that they were not firm enough under foot. I thought maybe we had laid it too thick, so this time I would have a layer of stonedust under it, and then the peagravel could be a very thin layer over top.

The stonedust was laid down

Do you think Ian deserves a new pair of trousers?

 and raked smooth (kind of) and became firmer the more I walked over it.

The  path is much wider here, although that is temporary. One day we hope to attatch a pergola to the back of the garage. That will be 6 feet deep, and will take the path down to a normal width. The clay pot is there, marking a high tree root. The tree had been cut down before we bought the house, and the stump removed, at least all of it except this one root.

We got rain one day and that really caused the stonedust to pack down, it became as hard as stone, lol.  I am hoping that the weeds will grow much more slowly in this, as it is such a hard surface, but we will see. Maybe next year, we will add the peagravel.

While we were at it, Ian even built a step up between his new pillars.


I was really proud of myself until my dad came by later in the week. I proudly showed him the new paths and felt really pleased until he told me we should have laid the pea gravel at the same time. That way, when it rained, the peagravel would have sank into the stonedust, and when it dried out the peagravel would have firmed up, and it ‘would not roll around so much’. Now he tells me!

I am hoping that I will get used to the pale paths, and they will stop standing out so much, I mean they are stone coloured.  What do you think?

40 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Edith Hope said,

    Dearest D, For me, pea gravel makes the most lovely pathways, especially when a more relaxed look is aimed for. I should certainly include pea gravel on your paths here since it will mellow beautifully and, with regular raking, is relatively easy to keep weed free and will not attract the eye as the ‘stonedust’ does at present.

    I love the entrance to the Flora Glade being marked by the pillars and the planted containers. A tip which I am sure you know is that with a liberal dose of yoghurt and rubbed in earth, new containers can be ‘antiqued’ very successfully.

    Kilbourne Grove is definiitely taking shape this year. The ‘bones’ are becoming more apparent with each posting!!

    • 2

      Edith, I want to switch to pea gravel, I would love to do that this fall, but I do not think that I could look Ian in the eye and tell him I want to redo all the paths again, hopefully by spring he will have forgotten how much work it was and I can go ahead. The stone dust is more glaring in the photographs, and I am hoping that it will darken up, however the snow will not be long in coming to Owen Sound and it will soon be covered up.
      Funny that you should think the containers are new, they were my mothers aand are over 40 years old. They are not painted, there must have been a colour put in the cement when they were made. They have been left outside all these years and have never ‘aged’, but I will try the yoghurt and see if it work on them.

  2. 3

    Lynne said,

    It’s a pity the woodchips didn’t work out. I must admit I’ve always been drawn to the natural look of them. But then, I like the look of pea gravel too. And the sound 🙂 At the moment it looks like a limestone pathway with the whiteness.

    Your garden really is looking lovelier and lovelier. It’s very exciting seeing each new development.

    • 4

      Lynne, I have a bit of a hedgerow between me and my neighbour, one day I plan to clear out a bit of the brush and have a path gowing through it. I think the woodchips would be lovely there, very foresty. I also love the sound of the pea gravel, (no sneaking up on me), lol.

  3. 5

    ellada said,

    With the sand it is really beautiful. Nice job.

  4. 7

    Catharine said,

    Hi KG this is a really useful post but what exactly is stone dust?

  5. 9

    Racquel said,

    It looks very neat and tidy. I’ve never used stone dust or pebbles as mulch is much more economic. 🙂

  6. 11

    Laurrie said,

    What a project! It’s already looking so much nicer, and the finished product, complete with your intended pergola, will be lovely.

  7. 13

    Kyna said,

    I like it! 😀

  8. 15

    Turling said,

    I like the sand, even without the pea gravel, better then the bark. Bark always ends up looking so tired after a short time. And, no worries, no one would have thought of putting the pea gravel down at the same time. Well, except for your dad. But, that’s probably it.

  9. 17

    Tatyana said,

    I think this white sand gives your garden a bit of mediterranean flavour and makes it look lighter. Your post can be very useful for those of us who are planning new paths. Thank you!

  10. 19

    Mama Ecolo said,

    Oh, I love it! I’ve been trying to decide what kind of paths to make here too, I’ve flip flopped between cedar chips, pea gravel, flagstone… obviously price is the major concern.

    I like the light walks, actually! I would imagine it will take time to get used to though.

    • 20

      Yay, glad you love it. It wasn’t as expensive as I thought. I bought 3 yards of limestone screening @ 20/yd, the delivery was $30. Pea gravel is more expensive, I think it was $50/yd, but now that I have a firm base down, it could go on very thinly, maybe next year.

  11. 21

    The shock of the new. Like Mama Ecolo, I think it would take some getting used to. My main concern would be tracking it into the house, but then perhaps you are better than we are about shedding shoes at the door.

  12. 23

    It will mellow, and weather. Take another picture in ?six weeks?

  13. 25

    noel said,


    i actually like the color, it looks nice to see a different color for the ground and makes your plant beds pop, i like thinking of the beach pathways also 🙂

    • 26

      noel, it does make the plants stand out a lot more. In the spring when I looked down at the beds, between the mulch on the paths and the mulch on the beds, you couldn’t tell one from the other, now you can.

  14. 27

    Valerie said,

    The paths look clean and neat. The limestone screenings won’t be able to creep into the beds because you have briick lining the path. That is a good thing. I look forward to a progress report on whether it seems to be working.

  15. 29

    Sandra Jonas said,

    Deborah, when you add the pea gravel it will compact nicely into the stonedust. You did NOT make a mistake. Usually the stone dust is the BASE for pea gravel. It will be just fine. Get the pea gravel as soon as you can and do a rain dance! Alternatively a compactor or the roller equipment for lawns will do a good job compacting the gravel & stonedust so you will have a stable surface.
    Looking Really good!! Just dirty up those containers a bit…they look too whitewashed.

    • 30

      That is a relief Sandra, I thought that. I found the pea gravel was too thick in Kingston, and I wished it had been firmer, great to get some expert advice. I bet you can’t tell those containers are over 40 years old, and have sat outside at my parents all year long. They have never been painted, or even washed, I do not know why they have never aged. Edith suggested yoghurt and soil, I will see if that works.

  16. 31

    What a difference, the new paths make the garden look so very formal and tidy. Lovely transformation! 🙂

  17. 33

    Lesley said,

    LOve it!
    There is as you say something seaside about it.
    And therefore kind of quirky.
    You have some really great ideas.
    I loved the tom towers in previous post.
    Will sign off before your head gets too big!

  18. 35

    Sheila said,

    I ‘ll be honest – I prefer the natural look of the mulch than the stonedust. The stonedust just stands out too much. The plants should be the focal point, not the path in my opinion. One of the major problems people have with wood mulch is that they don’t use enough of it. They put down 2 inches and of course the weeds wlll grow in it. At least 4 -5 inches of mulch needs to be put down. You’ll still will get some weeds but they will be so easy to pull out because of the thickness of the mulch. The wood mulch does need to be reapplied every 3 years which is what I do and I don’t have a problem. It’s harder to pull weeds out of rock mulch in my experience. I know people hate to weed but if you weed on a weekly basis, it’s not that big of a deal.

    • 36

      I actually don’t mind weeding, if I had the time, it is just difficult when I am only up on weekends, and the lawn takes 3 hours. I am still on the fence as to which I prefer, I am planning on a woodland walk through the hedgerow on my property, and I will use the mulch there, it suits a foresty look.

  19. 37

    Your crusher run base will settle over time until the pea gravel can be acquired. But your dad has a point. Crusher run, after getting wet then drying, gets hard packed like concrete. Weeds still find it hospitable though. All paths are susceptible to those tenacious weeds, even concrete over time.

  20. 39

    Leticia said,

    Wow! How beautiful!
    This makes me want to get to work on my yard!
    Thank you for sharing!

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