Play Yard Upgrade 1: Gravel Pathway

play yard upgrade: doggie plankOnce the new fence was in and the entire side yard was enclosed, we began entering and exiting our house via the “back” door (which is really more of a side door) and the back porch I just built. I have steps coming down toward the front to a boardwalk – which is a work in progress – but no steps off the back side. Yet. So I built a quickie “doggie plank” for the dogs (and me) to use in getting from the porch to the pathway I’m about to build.

We travel through “The Chute” between the house and The Great Wall of Edwina and across the back of the house, which is at the base of a slope so it tends to stay wet a long time after a rain. To help keep the muck out of our house I began this upgrade by making a pathway of stepping stones.

Play Yard Upgrade: StonesI gathered these 16″ x 16″ x 2″ stones from various places around our property. Some were being used as weights atop the lumber piles, others were a pathway from the front porch around to the play yard side of the house. That path is no longer needed, so I could re-purpose those stones.

While I was carrying these stones from the play yard side of the house around the front to the back porch, Blondie and Cochise were lounging on the front porch, watching me work…

Dogs Don’t Labor from Doug Bittinger on Vimeo.

Well, I guess THAT’S settled. Pardon me while I get back to my laboring … I’m obviously annoying management.

Play Yard Upgrade: 1st run of stones
Side of house, from the porch

When the laboring was all done, we had a pathway through the muddy trek from back porch to play yard. It works well in keeping feet clean for Marie, and me, and Cochise. Drake was pretty good about it too. Blondie, however, insists on slogging through the mud – and grumps at me when I insist on washing her feet before she can go in the house. Silly girl!

Play Yard Upgrade: Path at Rear of house
Across the back of the house

At this point The Chute pathway is pretty ugly: dirt or mud with a mismatched collection of stepping stones spaced out to walk along. But it works.

Update: Nov. 6, 2014

We ordered two 50 foot rolls of Roc-Kloth to lay in along The Chute pathway to help control mud and (eventually) keep the gravel that will go in here from being pressed down into the mud and lost. I spent part of the past two days removing the stepping stones, laying in the landscaping fabric, fastening it in place with landscaping staples, and replacing the stepping stones.

Play Yard Upgrade 15We have had a light rain, and a lot of wind. The fabric seems to help a lot in keeping the dogs (especially Blondie) out of the muck as she transits The Chute. When she returns to the door her feet are wet, but don’t have mud glopped between the toes. That makes us both much happier!

Play Yard Upgrade 16The wind has blown some leaves in the path (and on the porch). When things dry out I’ll get out the leaf-sucker/blower out and grind them up to add to the compost pile. That will help the pathway to dry out when it rains.

The Goal

What we are working toward with this is to install a walkway along the other side of the house. We’ll build a low, timber wall 4 feet out from the side of the house and that space filled with gravel.

Future location of the pathway.

This will serve two proposes: it will allow easy travel from the front porch (through a gate) and along the house to the dog pen area. This will allow foot traffic, but also the lawn tractor and wagon for hauling firewood for the house or dirt and mulch for Marie’s flower beds. It will also serve as a splash guard to keep the mud off our stonework. That purpose is currently being filled by a tarp.

Blondie likes the view!

When we have this walk-way built we’ll order extra gravel that can be piled at the rear corner of the house where I can get at it with a spade and wheelbarrow to move move it into The Chute. When we’re done, it should be an attractive and functional pathway that circles the house.

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