This has been the biggest bit of physical labor I've ever participated in. Towards the end of the project I did finally get some additional help, but the bulk of labor was mine alone.
It started with a sketch...heavily battered at this point...
Then I dug up the ENTIRE front yard BY MYSELF! This was a HUGE job. The yard doesn't seem that big when you walk by, but the ground was ROCK hard and dried weedy root balls, large tree roots just below the surface, rocky soil to begin with, and temperatures soaring into the upper 90s and 100s made the job quite taxing. I wish I'd thought to take a picture of the yard before I got started. My parents had stopped watering years ago (we live in a desert...what sense does it make to have a lawn?) and, much to the chagrin of our neighbors, dirt and weeds took over.
Next, we (my cousin Chester had arrived to help by this point) covered the ground with a layer of black tarp-like fabric. You secure this stuff to the earth with giant 5 inch staples!
Next, we staked out my design with landscaping edging, and after my mom picked up a collection of flagstones, I arranged them into a sunburst...
A few days later, we received 4 shipments of rocks...10,000 pounds total!
...and in one day Chester, my mom, and I worked feverishly through the hottest part of the day to lay the white stone...
...and get started with the red.
Today, Chester and I worked in between rain showers to lay down more red,
but we ran out of stone with only a few more square yards to go, so my mom ordered another half of a ton and late in the afternoon, Rod, Mom, Chester and I all worked like mad when it arrived to shovel, screen, and arrange the remaining stones and complete the design.
Ain't it gorgeous!!!
Whew! This is definitely the largest canvas I've ever worked on...and it feels great to be done!