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Physically limited solutions – Replacing rock with garden beds

The old homeowners left us a lot of rocks to deal with.
The old homeowners left us a lot of rocks to deal with.
Copyright Jaipi Sixbear 2011 All rights reserved

Are you physically limited? Got rocks where you want garden beds? We have rocks everywhere. When we first moved into our fixer upper home, we joked about the old owners having rocks in their heads. Now that we've had to remove a lot of them, it's not so funny. Especially now that I'm dealing with chronic pain. Rocks are heavy. They're cumbersome. Once they've been in place a while, they work their way into the ground. Digging the small ones out is a nightmare. It's not for the faint of heart. What can you do when there are rocks where you don't want them?

What's the easiest way to remove rocks?

Of course, the easiest way to remove rocks when physically limited is to get someone else to do it for you. It's OK to do that, you know? It can be hard to swallow when you're used to be in good health. Still, you have to realize things have changed. Don't be too proud to ask for help. Here's a few suggestions where to find it.

Hire a professional.

If you can afford to hire someone who specializes in this type of work, all the better. It'll certainly be done quickly and efficiently. A landscaper is a good way to go. On the other hand, if you're like me, you hate to dish out cash for such a simple job. You might want to use one of these other solutions.

Offer free rocks on Craigslist.

I know. You've perused the ads a few times yourself. You've seen ads offering free stuff for labor before. It wasn't worth the work to you. That doesn't mean it won't be to someone else. Place an ad on Craigslist that describes your situation. Here's an example.

"Physically limited retiree needs rock removed. Take what you need for free."

Don't forget to post a picture of the rock. Forget the phone number and e-mail. Make it easy for them. Just post the address. Leave a sign on the rock you want removed. It'll be gone in no time at all. If you're leery of strangers, you can even specify that they are not to disturb you.

Make use of young people.

I'm speaking from personal experience here. Since I've become physically limited, my older grandkids have been a real help. They do a lot of yard work for me. Rock removal is just one of the tasks they've done. Even the little ones help with light raking. Sometimes I pay them, but not always. It's good for them to develop a strong work ethic. It gives them a sense of pride.

What if you have to do it yourself?

*If you are not severely limited and have no other alternative but to do it yourself, take it slow.

*Don't lift large rocks that are beyond your capabilities.

*Use a shovel that suits your size to move the ones you can.

*If using a wheelbarrow to move the rocks, don't fill it too full.

*Test periodically to see that you can lift it.

*Take frequent breaks.

*Know exactly where you want the rocks before moving them. Otherwise, you'll be moving them again.

If that last part made you shake your head, don't laugh. I've actually been there.It happens.

What can you do with the rocks you remove?

When moving rocks for an alternative form of landscaping, don't be too quick to throw them away. We've re-used rocks on our property. Just be careful how you use them. Small rocks do work well in pots for drainage. They don't work well in garden beds. That's because when you go to amend the soil, they get tilled in and create a big mess. Put some thought into your re-purposing before you exhaust yourself with extra work.

Portions of this article were previously published by this author on a now closed Yahoo property.