If you take a walk along any path, whether at a neighbor's house or the neighborhood park, you'll see one of three types of borders along the walkway: stone, timber or plastic. What's the fun in having a walkway border that's so plain and predictable? Try using blue glass bottles for the border in your yard, turning a plain Jane walkway into something colorful and playful for parents and kids alike.
1. Collecting Bottles
Wine, beer and fancy water often come in blue bottles, with some bottles ranging from light blue to cobalt blue. It can take hundreds of blue bottles to line even a modestly sized garden walkway, so put the word out among your neighbors, friends, restaurants and wineries to save blue bottles for you. With such a large collection network, you can have a large enough collection in a fraction of the time. Wash each bottle thoroughly and dedicate a space where you can store the blue bottles until you have enough to line the walkway. Alternatively, you can add to the border a little at a time as you acquire more bottles.
Unless all of your blue bottles happen to be from the same beverage, chances are you have bottles in a wide range of sizes. Wine bottles, for example, are much taller and wider than blue beer bottles. If you want the bottle border to be of uniform height throughout, you must bury the wine bottles deeper than the shorter beer bottles. Alternatively, you can install a border with staggering heights. All bottles should be buried deep enough to stand up firmly in the ground, so bury half the bottle height for good measure. Mark each bottle with the desired depth before starting the walkway so its easier to achieve the proper depth during installation. It helps to lay the bottles on the ground in the desired pattern before beginning installation.
You'll need a trench in which to bury the blue bottles and hold them in place. Dig a trench at least 1 inch wider than the widest bottle and to the deepest depth needed to set the tallest bottle in place. If the widest bottle measures 5 inches wide, measure 6 inches out from the path and lay garden hoses parallel with the path set at this distance, or use string. Cut along the hoses with a spade. Plant the bottles in the trench with the necks facing down and the bottles perfectly vertical to prevent rainwater from accumulating inside them. Leave about 1 inch of soil between the bottles and walkway surface to cushion the glass. As you place the bottles, you might need to fill in part of the trench so you can set shorter bottles at the correct height. Hold each bottle with the marked line at soil grade and fill in the trench under and around the bottle neck.
Water can wash away soil around the bottles, causing them to shift out of position, so pack the soil as tightly as possible to hold them in place. Glass bottles have the potential to break anywhere, even when buried as a border, so exercise caution to avoid dropping tools and other heavy objects on the border. It's highly unlikely that a bottle would break if you accidentally stub your toe on the border, but it's best to use bottles with thick glass in a garden with children. You'll find your new border particularly enjoyable on a bright, sunny day when the sunlight streams through and lights up the blue glass.
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