During your Gaiety Hollow visits, you may have noticed how rough the Service Yard looks compared to the rest of the well-maintained site. This area runs parallel to the east side of the garage, starting with a step off the driveway, northward to the boxwood hedge, and then west to the kitchen steps. There are concrete pavers running the length.

Service Yard walkway in blue.

The Service Yard provides a “hidden” path around the east side of house, most likely originally used for deliveries and tradespeople. Over time, the concrete pavers have become broken and displaced, representing a tripping/safety hazard for both visitors and volunteers working in the garden. This pathway is the preferred way for visitors using a walker, wheelchair, or cane to access the display gardens located behind the house. The only other access option is by walking over a long stretch of uneven turf in the West Allee.

A grant from The Kinsman Foundation allowed us to tackle this project. This is not the first time we have received financial support from this organization. The Kinsman Foundation has also helped fund other Gaiety Hollow projects including the Reserve Garden restoration (2019), front door canopy repair (2017), exterior house painting (2017), as well as repair of Deepwood’s Scroll Garden gates (2007).

With funds in hand, we hired Riverdale Landscape Construction‘s friendly and professional crew to manage this makeover project.

The project took four days to complete. Here’s a play-by-play:

  • Day 1: Broke up and removed existing concrete walkway, excavated 6″ deep to place rock, and hauled off debris.
  • Day 2: Installed and compacted 4 cubic yards of 3/4′ base rock, formed up, and place rebar.
  • Day 3: Poured 3 cubic yards of new concrete walkway matching original walkway (broomed finish.) 
  • Day 4: Removed wooden forms, cleaned up all work-related areas, and hauled off remaining debris.

The recent restoration included an unplanned ADA compliance enhancement. Over the years, attempts had been made to repair various damaged sections of the walkway. These repairs resulted in an uneven surface with extra concrete joints. During the recent restoration, these extra concrete joints were reduced in number to make for an overall smoother walking surface and more pleasing visual appearance.

Another enhancement made was a concrete cut out around the trunk of an established espaliered camellia growing against the house. Volunteer and retired arborist, Woody Dukes, recommended this be done to increase irrigation to the camellia.

Now that the Service Yard concrete pathway has been restored, we can encourage visitors to tour the garden in a circular fashion – no backtracking required. This will help with the enforcement of COVID -19 social distancing guidelines and, in the longer term, facilitate a more orderly movement of larger groups.

Eager to see how well this makeover turned out? Stop by Gaiety Hollow’s Musical Open Garden this Saturday, September 18 from 10am-1pm. At this final 2021 Open Garden, we will enjoy music provided by the Deepwood Strings as they serenade us into fall.

Bye for now,