Yesterday, about three weeks after we theoretically completed our patio project, we finally got around to clearing the big pile of leftover stone dust out of our driveway. And guess where we put it?
Yes, that's right...more than a year after I first started considering the idea, we finally have something other than weeds to cover our garden paths. First we yanked out all the weeds we could get our hands on; then we put down a layer of weed barrier, starting with what we had left over from the patio project and then, when that ran out, going off to Home Depot for another roll. Then we shoveled the stone dust from the pile into the wheelbarrow and started trundling it into the back yard. The first wheelbarrow-load was able to get dumped directly into the garden through the gate, but after that we had to carry it in by hand. Brian used one of our big garden spades to transport it, while I hauled out the smallest of our reclaimed cocoa butter buckets and used that. It was a slow process, but bit by bit, over the course of the afternoon, we managed to transfer the entire contents of the pile from our driveway to the paths. (Well, almost the entire contents—we were racing against an approaching thunderstorm toward the end, so the final load ended up remaining in the wheelbarrow and just being shoved into the shed to be dealt with later. But Brian transferred that last bit to the paths this afternoon when he came up against the laden wheelbarrow in the shed, nearly knocked it over, and decided it had better be emptied before it emptied itself.)
So, after about 15 months of considering and debating, we finally have permanent paths in our garden. And quite by accident, we seem to have come across the perfect surface for them. It won't decompose and require replacing, like mulch; it won't roll around underfoot and escape from the fenced area, like pea gravel; and it packs down to form a firm, almost rocklike surface that even our tough garden weeds should have a hard time poking their heads through, especially with that additional layer of weed barrier underneath. And because the stone dust was left over from the patio project, all we actually spent on the paths themselves was $29 for a roll of weed cloth (and we still have a fair bit of that left over for future applications).
Oh yes, and after three weeks of delays, we finally have the full width of our driveway available to park in, as well.