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leveling the bricks: boundaries are worth all the effort

almost a year ago I jumped into a big unplanned project not long after we moved into our home on the lake. this little landscaping project, not unlike most things I get myself into, was a little more involved than I initially realized. not unlike most situations, I’m glad my brain didn’t process a lot of the details ahead of time because that would have prevented me from ever starting in the first place. and not unlike most other projects I saw how lessons in building a beautiful landscape spill over into building a beautiful life.

small cream + green cottage with front lawn with she shed

before adding the bricks to the front flower bed

small cream and green cottage with front flower bed border and slate paver path

after-ish of installing + leveling the bricks

the brick paver border was completed in the same summer it was started in 2023 but summer mode + cottage season make it hard for me to blog. so a year later, here’s the next step I did last summer after I got the bricks and layout figure out. I’m also setting the stage to share about the best part, the plant design


once we got the pavers hauled back home Bob scraped off the adhesive from each block and I grabbed a few more materials, rocks and sand, needed to get the leveling dialed in. the most important part of this project was getting the ground level and to the right height.

spending what seems like way to much time on the prep part is worth every second and then some. the prep is what sets the tone for the rest of the project…the more detailed oriented I can be upfront the easier and smoother the rest of the project typically is.

so grateful for such a dutiful helper


what seemed like days of trying to figure out a system for a line level I quit and bought a laser level. the line level kept moving on me and I had a hard time keeping my initial reference point which meant the height and layout of the bricks was subtly moving.

after prepping one whole side and then stepping back to realize there was almost a two inch difference…I threw in the towel. this was another time quitting was my best solution. no sense in wrecking my brain, stressing myself out and working in circles when a simple quit + pivot solved so many issues.


when I came back with a laser level there was no question about how much I had to dig or if my reference line was moving. using the laser level I could get a lot more done in a shorter amount of time with tons more confidence that it was looking how I intended. the laser told me when I was going out of my boundaries, it kept me a little more aware and made good use of my limited energies.


as I moved the dirt from the ditch I was creating into the flower bed I realized there were a ton of slate pavers buried in front of the house. it seemed like there had been a previous walkway or border that was covered up with dirt and plants. the project expanded and took a slight detour as I took some time to find and dig up all the slate pieces. I’d want them out of my way whenever I decided to start planting so the roots could get settled in nicely.

it turned out the surprise slate pieces added more function and interest to our cute little yard when I repurposed them for our walkways.


in the end I was reminded that defined borders [aka boundaries] take time and effort to create AND they're worth all the effort. boundaries help define the elements that are to be noticed and appreciated. the undeniable edge created by a boundary actually allows and encourages more freedom in that specific area.

when boundaries are created with purpose and built on a solid foundation, the effort initially invested is compounded ten fold. once a boundary is established in this intentional manner, the work to maintain it is almost non-existent and so many more beautiful things can be layered on top of this foundational piece.

2 comentários

05 de jun.

Amazing job, did Bob help? This is Fred from California

Respondendo a

Hey Fred! Bob helped get all the bricks + scrap off the glue... and then he let me do my thing.


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