This is not my first attempt to have flower beds around the base of the house. Let's see....I think I've had 4, possibly 5, attempts so far and while not complete failures, the end results that were definitely lacking in one major aspect -- soil retention. The soil kept getting dragged under the house by the various dogs taking shortcuts under the house and by heavy rain water washing it away. I never made any kind of significant soil blockage system because there was always the idea of some day working under the house for one reason or another, thus we'd need easy access. But I now say, enough is enough. After over ten years of waiting to use that "easy access", I've decided to make the flower beds. But I am compromising. No cement or rock soil barrier. I'm going to use plastic edging. And before I'm done I'll make a guava stick lattice work to block the dogs' access.
The 6" plastic edging is easy to work with once it's sits in the sun for a few hours. Once warmed, it's far easier to unroll and manipulate. I tried doing it when it was cold and forget it. What a struggle! Unroll it....it curls back. Try to bend it, it fights you. Errrrg. But after sitting in the sun, it gets a tad easier, I didn't say "easy", but it was an improvement.
I finally found a use for these plastic stakes I picked up at a yard sale. They're one of those purchases where they were a real bargain, even if I didn't have the foggiest idea what I would use them for later. For this job, they were the perfect item. Glad I had them handy.
The first thing that needed to be done was clear out the work area.
(Above, I'm in the prices of removing all the taro and the mamaki tree....along with the weeds.)
(Above, most of the plants removed and the soil dug up to loosen it. The black wavy line is the plastic bedliner in its approximate final position. I still need to adjust it and stake it down.)
Out goes the papaya trees and mamaki tree (they were getting too big for the space anyway), the numerous taros, the assorted old flowers. Next I raked back some of the good soil that had been pushed or washed under the edge of the house. Next, laid out the plastic edging and staked it into place. Easier said than done. In actuality it's a case of struggle with a long twisting black flat snake and wrestle it into position, hoping to get a stake driven in past the numerous lava chunks in order to subdue the self-minded "snake". After many a failed attempt, I resorted to using large lava chunks to hold the "snake" in an approximate position while I attempted to fine tune it's location and drive a stake in. After an hour, I won-snake lost, though the snake didn't quite end up where I envisioned it would be. Oh, good enough.
Once the edging was in place, I mixed in compost. In a few spots I've already started planting and topping the newly made flower bed with mulch. I'll need plenty more flowering plants. So I need to make starts and sow seeds.