So, I’m thinking through the steps to build my back yard labyrinth. Because I think best by talking or writing, y’all get the glorious insight into my brain today!
Step 1: Till the ground. I need to create a nice flat weed free surface. My father in law has a rototiller, or so says Husband. But I’ll need to prep to use the rototiller, which means I need to start by finishing up tearing out the weeds and bushes.
Sub Step A: Use mattock to tear out the stumps
Sub Step B: Tear out remaining vines and weeds
Sub Step C: bag up all the yard waste and carry to curb.
Final Step: Rototill the entire corner of the yard.
Tools Needed: waste bags, mattock, rototiller, muscles
Time: Probably about 4 more sessions of work
Step 2: Create the pattern. I’ve already decided I want to do a variation on the Chartres pattern rather than the simpler Cretan pattern. I found a great YouTube video on how to draw a 5 circuit Chartres labyrinth. If I do 16” paths (a recommendation found on another website), 5 circuits will be a total diameter of 32” x 5, plus the center. That’s 140” plus about 3’. So 13’ and 10”. I definitely have that much room.
INSERTED: Sub Step 1: Calculate how wide the rock borders will be and add onto dimension measurements here. I’ll draw it on paper (or the computer) and do the math
Tools needed: none, I just did this step!
Step 3: Create the pattern on the ground!
Sub Step A: Starting at the back corner, measure out a 14’ square and mark with stakes
Sub Step B: Use twine or measuring tape to draw diagonals within square to find the center. Put a stake at the center.
Sub Step C: Draw a 3’ circle at the center. Attach an 18” rope to the stake and use spray paint to draw the circle by winding the rope around the stake.
Sub Step D: Use the rope method to draw 5 more circles, each at 16” intervals.
Sub Step E: Follow the steps in the video to draw the turns in each circuit.
Tools needed: 5 stakes, twine, spray paint, measuring tape
Done: I can do all of this in about 2 hours, I think
INSERTED: Sub Step D revised: use the rope method to draw 5 more circles at wider than 16” intervals. Probably will be 20”, but need to refer to Sub Step 1 on Step 2 to confirm
Step 4: Dig trenches for rock borders.
Hmm, just realized that I need to recalculate size. I’m planning to create this labyrinth by digging a narrow trench along the lines and filling the trench with small rocks. I had thought to do pavers, but that will be more work than I want to do. Instead, I’m going to just use the mattock to create a trench I can easily fill with rocks. Then I’ll plant creeping plants that resist foot traffic in the dirt pathways. However, I didn’t plan for the width of those rock trenches in Step 3. Going to add another sub step there…
Tools Needed: Mattock. I’m thrilled to think that I won’t need to dig out a lot of roots or rocks because of the rototilling!
Time: This will take longer than I expect. Maybe 8 hours of work?
Step 5: Fill borders with rocks
Sub Step A: buy 3 buckets of River Rock from landscaping company
Sub Step B: Line borders with landscape fabric to prevent plants
Sub Step C: Fill with rocks
Tools Needed: gloves, rocks, landscape fabric
Time: I bet this will go quickly. I’ll say 4 hours!
Step 6: Plant ground covers
Sub Step A: Buy ground cover plants. Depending on what time of the year I’m doing this, I may not be able to find what I need. If I can’t buy plants, I’ll mulch the entire thing to prevent runoff as best as I can.
Sub Step B: Plant the plants, using anti-mole gravel in each hole.
Sub Step C: Water daily for 3 weeks
Tools Needed: gloves, plants, shovel, mole gravel, watering can
Time: An afternoon to buy all the plants, another 3 hours to plant them, then 3 weeks to get them established.