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Chiot’s Run Labor Camp

April 13th, 2009

Well, that’s what Mr Chiot’s wanted me to name this post after spending the weekend gather rocks for some new garden beds and to line the driveway.
Mr Chiots spent some time each day this weekend gathering rocks for some hardscaping in our garden. We have tons of rocks everywhere, especially in the back woods. They threw all the rocks out there when the built the house, so there are piles of lovely big rocks that are beautifully aged with moss. The best part is that they’re FREE (just a little manual labor needed).
These rocks sure come in handy when we want to define garden beds or terrace our sloping lot (see What to do With an Abundance of Rocks). Every year we add more and more of the to the garden.
I love the look of the natural native stone in the garden, you just can’t beat the look. They blend right in and look like they’ve always been there. Especially when it’s got alyssum or thyme cascading over it, or is being overtaken with some sedum.
I much prefer it to the square retaining wall stones many people use, although I realize some people don’t have easy access to free rocks like we do.

Are you a rock wall lover? What do you use for hardscaping?

22 Comments to “Chiot’s Run Labor Camp”
  1. Mangochild on April 13, 2009 at 7:15 am

    I don’t have space for real hardscaping, but I do love rock, especially the “natural” rock just collected, as opposed to the pre-smoothed, perfectly cut rocks. And since the microscope venture a couple of weeks ago, I’ve developed a new appreciation for the different mosses or plants that each rock has :-) Are the woods just next to your home?

    Mangochild’s last blog post.. Seedling Update: Transplanting and New “Adoptees”

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    • Susy on April 13, 2009 at 7:55 am

      We are surrounded on 3 side by woods. Behind our home there are about 25 acres of property that’s owned by our property owner’s association and it can never be built on. We have 2 empty wooded lots on either side of our house as well, so we’re surrounded by woods.

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  2. Daphne on April 13, 2009 at 8:09 am

    I don’t have piles of rock in the back, but I have dug my share of rocks out of the garden. For hardscaping I use 8″x16″ pavers (which edge some of the raised side of the vegetable beds and are also sunk flush into the ground where the perennial bed meets the grass. They do a great job of keeping the grass from coming into the beds. I also use trees as edging for the vegetable beds. Ie tree trunks that have fallen in my woods. Right now I’m redoing the edging to one vegetable bed that has rocks as edging now. The trunks work great. I just roll them into place and take smaller rocks to wedge them into the bed. They aren’t attached in any way but the little wedge shaped rocks keep them in place very well. The rocks that used to line the vegetable bed are going to be put out as edgers for a perennial bed in the front yard whose soil keep washing away. It needs more support there and the rocks look so much nicer than my other edgers. Since this is in the front yard, it gets priority with my rocks.

    Daphne’s last blog post.. Oh So Wrong

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    • Susy on April 13, 2009 at 9:02 am

      You’re so creative. I would have never thought of using trees, we have tons of those around as well.

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  3. Sande on April 13, 2009 at 8:28 am

    I love rocks around the yard (REAL rocks, not cement rubble…) but don’t have many. I tried making a rock garden one year from the rubble of a porch. It was pretty ugly and my neighbor ‘kindly’ came over to inform me that a rock garden really shouldn’t be all rocks/rubble or there’s no place to plant the flowers. Oops… So I kept it for a few years until it got overgrown with crown vetch then I got rid of it and the vetch and banished all rubble from our yard forever! Now I just bring in a few nice rocks from elsewhere now and then. I bet your gardens are lovely with them in it!

    Sande’s last blog post.. Sunday Silence 4

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  4. Jennifer on April 13, 2009 at 8:32 am

    We spent yesterday moving a bunch of rocks. The previous gardeners had moved them into a star pattern to define the paths in their plot, which doesn’t work with our plan. We moved them so we can work the garden, and we’ll put them outside the fence to discourage digging by the larger critters. If we had room for a rock wall, we’d have one, SJ’s a HUGE fan and pointed out each rock wall we saw last week on our honeymoon. :)

    Jennifer’s last blog post.. our garden plot

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    • Susy on April 13, 2009 at 9:03 am

      When Mr Chiots and I drove through that area of PA we also commented often on the beautiful rock walls. I’m hoping I can convince Mr Chiots to carry enough rocks to build one on the one side, we’ll see. I do carry loads as well, but he takes care of the BIG ones.

      Can’t wait to see how your plot comes to life this year! I’d love to see photos of the fence.

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      • Jennifer on April 13, 2009 at 11:09 am

        Posted :)

        Jennifer’s last blog post.. null

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  5. Dave on April 13, 2009 at 8:54 am

    Ah to have such an abundance of rocks nearby must be great! I have to import from my in-laws. Tennessee is very rocky in our region yet out landscape is devoid of rocks. It’s good for gardening but I love adding rocks to the gardens. I generally import the limestone rock since the in-laws prefer to keep the sandstone types for their gardens. I do bring in concrete pavers and things from time to time to supplement the hardscape.

    Dave’s last blog post.. Viburnum and Spirea Cuttings

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  6. Lynn on April 13, 2009 at 9:13 am

    Um, yes. I did a little project which still isn’t quite done, since I really want to line the front ditch with stone. SO nice you have great stone so close to you. Ours is local, but collected mostly in compact cars, it comes in dribs and drabs. This reminds me that the ground is no longer frozen and i should really finish my wall…

    Lynn’s last blog post.. Remember to stop and smell the springtime

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  7. Nate on April 13, 2009 at 11:12 am

    Like Jennifer said, I love rock walls. Love love love them. I grew up in rural Maine, and they’re everywhere in the woods there, defining property lines and sometimes just for looks around the yard. I’d love to build some in our house (when we get one). Lots of work, but you just can’t beat the look. And boy-o, do we have the rocks for it. We put fenceposts in yesterday, and I think only a few of the 17 we pounded in *didn’t* have to be repositioned due to rocks in the soil. And this is soil that’s already been dug out for a garden!

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  8. Emily@remodelingthislife on April 13, 2009 at 11:27 am

    I love love love rock walls. It’s in my blood. I can’t wait to be able to buy property someday that is full of natural rock so I can use them for one. My dad has built rock walls for years on every property we lived and I have a fondness in my heart for them.

    Emily@remodelingthislife’s last blog post.. Link Love: Happy Easter

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  9. michelle on April 13, 2009 at 11:29 am

    Those are really nice. I wish i had those some where close. Great for walls. Lucky you!

    michelle’s last blog post.. Let the Plant Hording Begin!

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  10. ChristyACB on April 13, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    I desperately want to find some rocks like that! I need to brace up the sloping path behind my house and those sharp edged one from the box store just aren’t as pretty.

    ChristyACB’s last blog post.. Book Review – "One Second After"

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  11. Chicago Mike on April 13, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    I, alas, am only a dreamer of rocks to gather. I have reclaimed the retaining wall blocks around here to build a wall. Have to say it works a little better for a slightly more formal look, which is what we are shooting for.

    When my sister lived in Versailles, Kentucky the local historic group put on classes on building stacked split rock fences that were free as to maintain the local heritage (this was years ago). I wonder if there is something similar in your area.

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    • Chicago Mike on April 13, 2009 at 7:08 pm

      He says like the two of you have so much spare time to fill. :)

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      • Susy on April 13, 2009 at 10:00 pm

        Right, spare time. We usually do it when we just need to get out of the office. You can only look at your computer for so many hours a day!

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  12. Stephany on April 13, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    No rocks to speak of here, either. I love what real rook looks like though, especially with some Irish Moss growing all around the cracks.

    Stephany’s last blog post.. No turning back now…

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  13. Dan on April 13, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    My whole family are rock fanatics. We used to have a hatch back mustang and would drive around in the country rock hunting for the garden. We would load it up until it started bottoming out, it was pretty bad. Thankfully the stang is in the junk yard, any wonder and we now have a truck.

    I use rocks to edge all the perennial borders. I like how plants spill through them and seed in the cracks. This makes me think I should do a rock post once the garden fills in showing my favorite garden rocks.

    Dan’s last blog post.. My first compost post

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  14. warren on April 13, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    We have a delightful bounty of rocks much like yours. I like to roll them around now and then to make my boundaries. Everything is on a hill here though and it seems like all of the rocks are at the bottom of the hill!

    warren’s last blog post.. Wound up, dressed up, wound up

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    • Mr. Chiots on April 13, 2009 at 10:14 pm

      I feel your pain Warren, literally. All the nice eighty pounders were on the other side of the hill, at the bottom. I pulled a couple out yesterday that probably weighed close to 125lbs.

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  15. Reid on March 7, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Give me rocks a plenty!

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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