patio retaining wall project

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Time posted: September 29, 2006

Eagle eyes will spot the trapezoidal stone sitting upright on the patio. This is a third course that will sit atop the finished wall and bring the final height to just above the level of the patio. You’ll also note that I haven’t installed the half-brick at the far end of the first course, so the farthest brick in the second is sitting at a strange angle.

two courses installed
the second course went in fast
view of the straightaway
second course sits slightly back

The theory with the trapezoidal cap stones is you can alternate them (short edge then long edge forward) to make a straight run, or place the long edges to the outside of a curve to follow a curve. And it works out pretty good in practice too. I borrowed a wet saw to trim a couple half bricks for the second course, but the caps are all full stones, which is just dumb luck I suppose.

done and filled with compost
ready for some plants!

Now comes the enjoyable part, planting it out. I put in 10 ornamental sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas, “Marguerite” and “Blackie”) that I bought for full price (!!!) at the grocery store. They came in quart pots, so luckily full ticket was just a couple bucks. They looked real good, and I got 5 purple and 5 chartruese ones to get the alternating colors effect I’ve seen in commercial landscapes. Shortly afterward the summer clearouts started and I picked up 3 1-gallon posts of blood grass (Imperata cylindrica), which I installed at the corner of the patio. If only I had known what was in store with the sweet potato vines…

plants just installed
how are these dinky things ever going to fill in this container??
plants installed and looking good
about three weeks after planting the sweet potatoes, they are taking off!

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