So I chose to build a flower bed over the tanks. With the edging in place, a few more inches of soil could be added and (knock on wood) something would then grow. How hard can it be?That’s what I’ve been working on for the past three weeks (see April 15 post for part 1). The first week I put in edging. Part of this bed had already been built into the slope a few years ago. At that time I just wanted to get some bushes to hide the big blue bulb. (Why couldn’t they make it green?). But the problem with the dead vegetation over the settling tank just wasn’t going away. Corner posts were set, string was strung between the posts, and a trench was dug.
Another course of limestone block was added to the terraced side of the bed, which was built a few years ago.
Some of the plants were relocated in the bed and new ones put in at the edge of the bed, which is not over a tank. The internet sources advised to use only perennials and small bushes near a septic tank, not big woody bushes. I planted mounding plants - magic carpet spirea, rug junipers, creeping phlox – that would spill over into the areas over the tanks.
That’s when the fun really began. I found that the dirt over the tanks was hard Indiana clay, very little topsoil – no wonder nothing would grow. That’s when the project expanded. First the sod was scraped off and carted to a low area next to the driveway. Then I dug out about half of the clay, about a cubic yard, and carted it to a low spot on the pond levee and spread it there. At that point I had three projects going. Well I had to do something with the dirt, and I did not want to put it in a pile and move it again later.
The remaining clay was chopped up with a hoe then broken up more with a small tiller. It’s easy to say “chopped up with a hoe” but the reality is it took two days to break the clay up. I hauled in two yards of dirt/compost mix and added it to the bed. That was mixed in by shovel and hoe then broken up again with a tiller. This is where it is now.
Some of the dirt was put against the house foundation and graded to improve slope away from the house – a fourth project.
I think it was Thursday morning when I tried to get out of bed and realized that work had to stop for awhile. I plan to seed the soil over the beds with a perennial mix and hope that something grows over the tanks. I think there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, the end being the end of landscaping. There’s one more project to do, a foundation bed in the northwest corner that will make a proper setting for the bench that I finally put together after it sat in the minibarn for five years. In comparison that will be a piece of cake.