Planting the Stacked Stone Wall Area

I’m celebrating a couple of things today!

First: we finished planting the area around our new DIY dry stack stone walls. (If this is your first visit to D&D, you can read about our July wall project here for part 1 and here for part 2.

And the second reason? This morning it rained… and rained… and RAINED!

drought relief

Big deal?

When you live in an area that’s famous for “lake effect” precipitation…rain is usually NBD. In fact, I don’t think we even used a sprinkler once last year. Not once!

This year, we’re currently in a severe drought. Our normally green lawn is crispy brown. My raspberries are pea-sized, and the leaves are dropping from the trees as if it were late September.  Not that the drought won’t resume…but the day off from watering is most welcome.

My green-thumbed mom has always said that watering is good, but nothing beats the real thing.

And since we just finished planting…the rain is very welcomed.

Here’s where we left off the other day.  We had just finished these walls…diy stack stone retaining wall

…and we were anxious to plant them.

I went to the nursery with Mr. D&D and, as usual, we were each drawn to completely different plants.  Different features, different colors, different properties.

These walls were his vision, so the plants should be a continuation of that.  That’s only fair.  (I get dibs on the garden on the other side of the yard.)

His mission at the nursery was to find mounding plants and/or shrubs with a variegated leaf that would be happy in shade.  He preferred to avoid anything that flowered (sigh), he prefers foliage and mass plantings.

We came across these Cool Splash Honeysuckle shrubs from First Editions, and even though the tag said “full sun,” the landscape designer at the nursery said she uses them all the time in shade.


Mr. D&D also selected “jack frost” plants for the bottom level. The Jack Frost is a veiny variegated leaf often described as frosted silver.  Bonus for me: good ol’ Jack sports dainty blue blossoms in the spring.

shade plant with blue flowers

We thought it would look nice next to the Pachysandra that will eventually grow below that wall and will be a nice contrast against black mulch.

So we gathered up both kinds of plants, decided how far apart to plant them…dug some holes, added bags of soil, and popped ’em in the hill.  I also relocated about 20 clumps of Pachysandra to fill in the rest of the area on both sides of the swale.

“Dug some holes” sounds much easier than it was, because this pre-existing “hill” was made of clay piled on top of plastic bags, bricks, rocks, funky metal chunks and clumps of tar (…much muttering and a few PG-13 words were uttered).

Then we rolled out weed block fabric around the plants and covered the entire area with bags of black mulch.

cool splash honeysuckle varigated leaf

Black mulch, however, always leads to trouble for SOMEone who likes to roll in it.


I think Mr. D&D chose wisely.  His selections will really pop against the red barberry plants and Japanese Maple in the foreground.   If he keeps this up, I may totally yield control of that other garden (as long as he fills it with crazy daisies, black-eyed susans, hydrangea and knock-out roses…I’m flexible that way 🙂 )!

Though he’s kind enough to credit me with half the project, here’s Mr. D&D’s two-tiered stack stone hill:

two-tier stack stone garden

and from the other side:

two-tier retaining wall


I think we’re ready to call it a day for this area (…though my dad keeps nudging us to convert the drainage ditch into a walkway, because the area forms kind of a wooded tunnel that he thinks would be a cool path).

For now…I’m pooped…and so is BadJack!

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