A lifestyle website, for a girl with no life

Gravel Walking Path: The Beginning

The Long and Winding Road keeps popping into my mind during this project, for some reason.

My gentleman friend decided to add a walking path from our basement door to our firepit area. The plan was outlined as such:

  1. Define the shape of the path (curved to add interest).
  2. Dig a trench about 8-12 inches deep (I’m not metric, and likely never will be, so you can Google how many centimetres that is).
  3. Lay down landscape fabric.
  4. Cover the fabric with gravel.
  5. Walk on the path.

Easy enough, with just 5 steps, right? Yeah, let’s see how this project plan plays out.

gravel walkway outline

Our outlined walkway prior to digging. Not pictured: the bajillion rocks living just under the surface, waiting to torment us.

Steps 1 and 2

We marked out the path using our garden edger (FYI: also a handy driveway ice breaker in its off season). Of course, once we started digging, we found rocks. Not small rocks, either. Rocks bigger than 1 of my car’s tires. Rocks heavier than all of my car’s tires.

The digging process was slow, because removing the rocks was tiring work. Also, digging up logs and super-intricate root systems from no-longer-above-the-surface trees was slightly tiring as well.

Partway through the trench-digging process, another idea came to someone’s mind: Add electrical wire to the trench so we can have an outlet near our firepit.

Today’s vocabulary lesson:

Scope creep: changes in a project’s scope, at any point after the project begins

In order to proceed with this idea, we had to dig an even deeper trench inside the existing trench, because the wire needs to be further down. Also, there can’t be any rocks in the deeper trench, else they could cut through the wire. This means we have to build a sifting device to remove the rocks from the deeper trench’s dirt to bury the line within that.

Revised task list

So now, our task list looks like this, with our scope-creep items in bold (and completed items crossed off):

  1. Define the shape of the path.
  2. Dig a trench about 8-12 inches deep.
  3. Dig a deeper trench (about 15 inches deep) within the first trench to hold electrical wire.
  4. Buy special underground electrical wire.
  5. Get an electrician to create the required outlets on the ends of the wire.
  6. Buy wire mesh.
  7. Build sifting device out of wire mesh and boards.
  8. Remove dirt from deeper trench.
  9. Sift dirt through sifting device.
  10. Return half the sifted dirt to the deeper trench.
  11. Lay down electrical wire.
  12. Add remaining sifted dirt on top of electrical wire to cover.
  13. Lay down landscape fabric.
  14. Cover the fabric with gravel.
  15. Walk on the path.

Our 5-step project has tripled in size. And because of the additional steps, plus the requirements for those steps, we’re behind on our timeline.

For us, that means that the flies are now out in full force, so working for more than 5 minutes at a time is near impossible. Right now, we scoop 4 shovels of dirt, find a giant rock, go inside for 10-15 minutes to get away from the flies, come back outside, and try to remove the giant rock before being eaten alive.

This process is currently on repeat. All. Day. Long.

Man, I hate scope creep. Who signed off on this, anyway?

gravel walkway deeper trench outline

Our initial trench, with the smaller, deeper trench highlighted on the right side. The line drawing is terrible, but you get the idea.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply