Garden RGS Construction – Part 2

Survey and Layout

Now that I have gotten closer to civilizing the yard, I started to lay out the garden railroad. I started by putting in stakes every 20 feet to correspond with my plan. Using ground marking paint, I painted lines between those stakes.


Here, the yard is more under control, and I have added rocks along what I think are the retaining walls for the garden area. I also have stakes in key track points: the limit points of curves and points where the track crosses the grid.

Key track locations and walls marked

Building Paths

The rocks/retaining walls also delineate the area where I’ll build paths. This requires leveling and grading the ground – and I’ll do it all by hand. (This is my exercise program!) I decided that I would attempt to make all paths at least 4 feet wide, so two people can easily pass one another.

Lower path under construction

Upper path from “top” end

Upper path from “bottom” end

For the paths, we got a pallet of flagstone. This is from Idaho, and has some great natural colors of gray, orange and rust. (Notice that our native basalt is various shades of dark gray, and pretty boring looking!)

Palette of flagstone

I believe that I can use just sand as bedding for the stones on the upper path, because the ground is pretty good. The lower path is very much clay (black mud), so I will have to add about 1 inch of gravel to prevent the stones from being push into the ground when walking on them during the rainy season. Edit: Ha ha. Not so much. A day after I watered the path to settle it, it was as squishy and soft as the lower path. Gravel everywhere!

This is all an experiment to see what works. Nothing will be permanently cemented in place, so the garden is changeable. We want to be able to grow something between the stones, such as Irish Moss, so I’m leery of using too thick a gravel base.

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