foliage plants against a brick garden wall
Photo: David Burton
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DIY and Save $10,000

I did about half the planting the first year and the rest last summer, when, with help from our neighbors Joe and Rich, I put up a cedar fence on two sides to hide the ugly plastic and chain-link ones. A 30-inch-high wall in back sections off a 10-by-20-foot raised bed. We used brick for the walls but chose tumbled concrete pavers for the patio—they have the feel of old cobble-stones. Three pallets of bricks, gravel, sand, and pavers were delivered to the sidewalk, and in one day I had to get them through the house on a hand truck. Don't ask how many trips I made. The hand truck didn't fit through the back door, so I had to unload there. Using countless reference books, magazines, and the Internet, I gradually learned how to lay brick walls and patio pavers, putting down plenty of gravel underneath for drainage. I figure I saved $10,000 by doing everything myself.
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