The Yard, Part III: Parklet (Part 2…)?!

Now we get to the good stuff!

We got back to Amber Lane on March 1 and, since then, have jumped right in to a wide variety of “outside projects”. This represents my first attempts at gardening. Well, technically my second, if you count my first attempt as that time last year when I tried to make a living wall in our espresso bar with English ivy and ended up killing all but 2 plants. For more on how English ivy really likes the sun, read this post about our espresso bar walls.

Part III could *technically* divide out into 2 parts. But I’m going to go ahead and skip the first half of the story… building our Parklet. For more on that feisty adventure, check out our Facebook page: Amber Lane Parklet. This page details a project we’re working on with the City of Northampton – to build a community sitting area on some under-utilized city land near our building. Last fall Part 1 unfolded with the demolition, storm water drainage provisions, and laying of the new infrastructure. Pictures of the mayhem are on the Facebook page – as well as shout outs to all the area businesses who donated to make this possible!

The second half of this part of the story (is anyone counting anymore?! I need a Table of Contents here!) is where it really gets fun… the green stuff and the pretty things.

First up, a couple of pictures for my family who are – I’m sure – curious to know the final solution for the bricks that just kept falling off the edge of the patio!! Ahhh!

Basically, we had decided to create a cantilever effect with the bricks at the edge of the patio – to create a bit of visual interest. But, after we added the sand between the pavers, they subtly settled… just enough to push out on the bricks. When people stepped on the edge of the bricks, it loosened the mortar and they popped off!

Count with me here… (1) I laid the brick edge initially. Bricks popped off. (2) I figured the mortar just hadn’t held. I re-laid the bricks a couple days later. (3) We left for the winter. All the bricks fell off again. When we got back, I re-laid the bricks AGAIN… but this time with the hoops! (4) I swore I wouldn’t re-lay them again… but then one did fall off when man rode his bike into the edge of the patio?! Fitz glued that brick in with industrial strength glue. Good grief!

Next up – our sign. Fitz came up with a pretty nifty idea here – to make the sign for the Parklet out of an old street sign and, at the same time, give Amber Lane her very own street sign!! The city won’t give us a street sign because…. (answer pending). Moments away from opening a business in which you hope people can – at least – locate you by address (just an option I’m throwing out there!), we sucked it up and just made our own.

Now for the green things… All donated from area nurseries! Boy are we lucky to live in such a generous area. It just goes to show this park was meant to be!

photo 1

Our first haul from the garden centers. So exciting!

First up: Planting thyme in the center of each view block!

Next up: the knock out roses and a few planters.

Inside, Fitzpatrick was working on the cube seating we’ll place throughout the Parklet. These have a wide flat bottom (instead of pokey legs like chairs) so they won’t pierce the thyme plants.

And…. Finished!!

photo

Amber Lane Parklet ❤

Here she is my friends. Amber Lane Parklet has come to life. Just a couple last items and we’ll release her to the community. Next week (hopefully?!) the city is planting a winter king hawthorn tree up front (where the white stake is in the “rock garden”)… and we’ll give the thyme a couple more weeks to get properly rooted in the ground. It’s a step-able ground cover and we’re ever-optomistic it will persist. You don’t know unless you try!

One more post to go, folks. —> Take sandwich break now! <—

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