gardening around the electrical box

Marian ParsonsAll Things Home, Gardening17 Comments

Last year, on the wave of getting the front garden done, I got a bee in my bonnet and decided to start working on the section of garden around the electrical boxes.

This is how far I got…

My grit and determination stopped at digging out a few monster perennials and hauling three wheelbarrow-loads full of rock to under our deck.  I decided this area could be ugly through the winter.  Snow would eventually cover it and I wouldn’t even think about it again until the passes cleared in May.  (I’m being facetious there if you didn’t pick up on that.)

Anyway, we’ve had gorgeous spring evenings, so I decided to take advantage of one of those and pick up where I left off.  Within five minutes, I remembered why I had abandoned this project.  Rocking out tufts of grass with a weed pulling tool an inch at a time isn’t exactly rewarding for me.  And trying to scoop little rocks off of ripped plastic weed-blocker isn’t a hoot, either.  And to make it all even more of a struggle, there is an intricate network of roots running through this area and every time I pulled one, I was certain it was a wire and I just cut off our internet. I had to keep giving myself pep talks.  Just listen to your music and enjoy the weather and it will be done soon.

I pulled weeds, hauled down two loads of rock, and pulled up bits of sheeting.  Finally, it was starting to resemble a clean slate.  There is still about another one-to-two loads of rock to shovel and haul (it’s behind the boxes and under that perennial) and a bit more sheeting to pull up, but it’s getting there.  My shoulder was howling and my back was trying to convince me it’s much older than it actually is, so I stopped for the evening.

Because of the wiring, I made the call-before-you-dig call and they came out Friday to mark the underground cables.

I’ll show you what I planted and how it turned out in the next garden update…

gardening around the electrical box

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17 Comments on “gardening around the electrical box”

  1. That plastic sheeting looked like it was a nightmare! I’m looking forward to seeing the end result – I’ve already detected your taste in the plants you show.

  2. Looks better already! I so admire those who have beautiful gardens. I am not much of a gardener myself, but have learned that the older we get, the longer the recovery time! Take is easy and ice that shoulder! Looking forward to the reveal!

  3. TIP: My favorite garden tool is the Japanese Hori Hori knife. I garden A LOT. It is the perfect thing to dig dandelion tap roots so they don’t come back, cur perennials in two when they have grown big enough to divide, remove dead annuals from pots after a freeze. The cheapest I have found is on Ebay. Also, if you get paint the handle “your” blue, that way you won’t lose it among the clippings, leaves etc.

    1. The hori hori tool sounds great! I’m going to track one down. I need all the help I can get in my large and unruly garden 🙂 Thanks!

    2. I have one of those knives too, from A. M. Leonard (the orange handled one so you can spot it easily when you leave it somewhere in the garden bed). It is absolutely indispensable!

    1. Oh, it’s awesome! It’s by Worx and it’s a wheelbarrow, garden cart, dolly all in one. It folds up, too, and can hang on the wall, so it’s not as bulky to store in a garage.

  4. Man, I would have just left it as is and pretended the boxes were friendly little Star Wars robots. It was probably kept free of plants because they would get trampled anytime the boxes were maintained or repaired. I planted boxwood and vinca near my gas meter. When they became large, I was sent a notice that I needed to keep the area clear. There are lot of ugly things in the modern world and sometimes you just have to put on blinders.

    1. Ha, so funny! Yes, I agree about not planting so much that people can’t get to the boxes to do their work. I am just planting ground covers and I even put in a stepping stone, so I don’t think it will be a problem.

      1. Don’t put too much near the boxes. One of my neighbor’s plants were sprayed and killed by the utility co. to allow easier access to the box in his lawn. What was sprayed wasn’t even in front of the boxes but to the side. Didn’t block access at all, but…..

  5. Whether in America or South Africa: Why can the electrical boxes not be erected straight??? I have one leaning over on my sidewalk.

  6. Everyone thinks that landscape fabric and rocks is a “maintenance free” way to go, but that is the farthest thing from the truth. Then it becomes a nightmare for the person who has to remove it all at some point, as you are currently experiencing. There are so many excellent plants that work better than any of that stuff. You’re on the right track if you put in a walkable ground cover (like wooly thyme or thymus minus) and just a few perennials to block it from YOUR view up at the house. This is all usually city property and they can come in and clearcut any plants that they need to in order to get at the boxes to work. Keep it low cost and simple. Those boxes look like little gravestones in my opinion! Even tilted just like in a graveyard! And let me tell you, that tilting mess drives me crazy.

  7. With ya in the rock hauling deal! I actually let a landscaper put down ground cloth two layers , river stone and stepping stones in front of our house. Have had to pull it all out and haul it myself. Never again to stone. Yesterday I unrolled sod over that area, another first. I look forward to your treatment of the utility green boxes.

  8. Just have to share a story: Several years ago I had my husband dig out all the river rock surrounding our house along with the torn sheeting under it, using the bucket on a loader. He made a nice pile of the rock and dirt mixture a short distance from the house to be used later to fill in holes in our lane. Then we had a load of nice clean weed free dirt delivered right next to the house for back fill. The landscapers came the next day while we were at work and when they needed backfill around their plants THEY USED THE ROCK!!!

  9. Are you allowed to put anything around those electrical boxes? If you are maybe you could build some sort of pallet wood enclosure type of thing to hide them, since they’re not all that pretty to look at. But putting some plants in front of them should help too 😉

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