Child’s Play: Setting Up the Garden

Do you remember that game telephone you played as a kid? Someone whispers something in your ear, and then you whisper it to someone else down the line, and by the time it reaches the last person whatever you said is totally unrecognizable. Well, that’s what we’ve been playing around, but it’s a lot less fun when you’re a grown up.

The MR bought two stone garden kits from Home Depot about three weeks ago and paid to have them brought to our house. He was told they’d deliver on Friday, then it was changed to Monday. So I stayed home on Monday, and early that afternoon, I received a text to call the freight company. Oh, the lady on the phone explained that they weren’t delivering that day, they just wanted to set up the delivery. I was booked for the next two days, but we settled on Thursday between 10 am and 2 pm. We were expecting 20-25 people for dinner on Friday, and me and Baby Girl needed to make a run to Costco. By the time 4:30 pm rolled around, I was getting a little anxious; I had things to do.

About that time, the driver called and said he was a half hour out and by the way do we have room for a semi to turn around? Huh? That there’s trouble. I suggested that he come to the top of the driveway and just bring the pallets down with his forklift. But he didn’t have a forklift, just a lift to get the 4,400 pounds of bricks off his truck. This was just getting worse and worse. He came out to check out the situation and made it as far as the cemetery in his big rig. I picked him up in my minivan and drove him to our house, so he could see what’s what. We’ve had box trucks–no problem, but a semi won’t make it.

He said not to worry, they’d send a smaller truck the next day between 10 and 2, since we had dinner guests arriving at 6 pm. Our order was actually supposed to go out on a box truck that day, but it had put the other truck over weight limits. So imagine my surprise when I get a message to call the dispatcher the next day. She asked what our plans were since we’d refused delivery of the shipment. Did we want to send it back or pick it up at their facility? What about the box truck? What about today between 10 and 2? I was transferred to the manager who told me that the driver should never have said that and again suggested picking up 2 tons of bricks in my minivan or perhaps I could rent a U-Haul. Seriously?

I had no idea what to do, so I called the MR and let him deal with it. He’s so good. The freight company would deliver to the closest Home Depot, and they in turn would deliver it to our house. So yesterday, when I was driving home from Bible study and saw a big flatbed Home Depot truck parked on our road I was quite excited. Unfortunately, the flashers were on and there was no one to be seen. The truck was in front of my neighbor’s house pointed in the wrong direction; please don’t deliver our stuff to someone else…

I got out, called a little, and looked and listened for sounds of life–nothing. So I got back in my van and started home. Halfway down the driveway, I came head to head with a large fellow driving a forklift. He’d already dropped off one pallet and was going back for the second. He’d placed the first load on the far side of the garage but would be glad to put it wherever I needed. That got my wheels turning.

When he came driving back with his second pallet, I noted the large tires on his forklift. My idea was going to work. I asked if he could make it down to the tennis court and drop off the pallets there. The path really isn’t any steeper than our driveway. After inquiring about septic fields, soft spots and other pitfalls, he said sure.

Forklift Heading Down Hill

I’m not certain why he put the pallet so close to the edge. I had a few tense moments when I was afraid everything was going to tumble down into the blackberries, but all is well. Maybe he just needed room to turn around easily.


Boy howdy, I am happy I asked him to do that. He left a few ruts in the grass, but we didn’t have to wrangle a couple of tons of bricks down the hill.

A couple Ruts with Dogs

As soon as he left, I let out the dogs, and they immediately went to check on everything. I guess it all passed inspection.


When Baby Girl got home, we ran some errands in town and came back to find the MR hard at work with a wheelbarrow full of bricks and a level. Getting that first layer perfectly flat is key to success.

The Beginning

I went in to change clothes and call BG; it was time for her to work off some of her Paris-trip debt. We spent the next hour or so moving bricks from one side of the tennis court to the other. While the MR can handle six bricks with ease, me and BG are maxed out at four. That made for quite a few trips back and forth accompanied by lots of huffing and puffing.

After we got one full kit over, BG and I called it good, and I sent her to get a pizza. Even with a soak in the hot tub, I could hardly move for the rest of the night.

The MR finished putting together the first stone garden box and ran into one slight hitch. He’d placed the bottom layer of stone a touch too close together, so the finishing caps were too long. I’ll let the dogs show you.

Garden Box with Dogs

Sometimes they forget that they’re not the focus of this blog. Here’s a better look at the problem.

Hanging Edges Collage

My guess is this evening will find the MR measuring, moving, and leveling some more. Then we’ll be on to round two. Now that he’s figured it out once, this second box will be so much easier.

Of course, there’s no rest for the wicked. We still have a huge pile of dirt that needs to go into those boxes before I can even think of planting a garden. Too bad for the MR, that it involves wheelbarrowing a ton (not literally this time) of dirt down a steep hill. I don’t feel safe navigating it with a heavy load. Here’s that giant pile.

Dirt Pile

You can just barely see it from the tennis court.

The Dirt Pile with text

This is not an easy chore. It’s too bad we didn’t do this last year when we could have had at least one or two more helpers. BG told the MR he needed to have a few big burly boys.

While the garden will be down two flights of stairs and across a steep hill, I’m excited that I’ll still be able to see it from the deck right off the dining room. If the sprinkler system isn’t working or the weeds are taking over, I’ll have a birds-eye view.

A Beautiful Place

It was fun to work together on a project as a family. I’m feeling pride in what we did, and I have all the aches and pains that go with it.

Starting any outdoor projects around your house? Could a semi pull up to your front door?


5 thoughts on “Child’s Play: Setting Up the Garden

  1. Well, my project was to, like you, start a garden in the spot at the end of the back yard that gets the first sun of the day. The day we planted the basil and the 4 tomato plants, the wind blew a very cold gale, and all the plants wilted, and could not be revived. The next week we bought 4 more tomato plants, and put them in large pots at the other end of the house, sheltered from the wind……HA! This time the wind was not cold but lots stronger (40 mph with gusts of 60 mph), and from another direction and the wind bent them over. Now they are staked, but the wind continues to blow, so………………i dawned on up that we have an atrium open to the fresh air, no wind, water and drain right there, and only breezes fill this perfect space. Tomorrow’s project, move the pots on there. Duh, okay..

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