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Discussion Starter #1
Not everyone is as lucky as I am to have over 3/4 acre of bad, but mostly green, lawn. With my double-deck rider and hotrod mentality, it still takes me over an hour to do the lawn. This is a definite consideration when it comes to designing the outdoor railroad that I expect to start building next summer.

The yard and most of the action (at least in the early stages) will be up at the rear of the house but stage two will put a "main line" track way down into the "lower 40" and back. I'm trying to design it all so that track at grade won't be a mowing nightmare.

I'm wondering how I can build the track, ballast, and foundation so that I don't have to go back and trim along the roadbed with manicure scissors. every week. I can picture the blade deck sucking in the ballast and shooting it out over the lawn. Since I live in the NorthEast, I'd prefer to have the crusher fines hold the track while allowing the frost/heave cycle do its thing. I run the mower deck at its highest setting. Is this doable?
 

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Why not try an experiment? Take some of your proposed ballast, and pour a strip on the yard somewhere in the lower 40, away from everyone and everything. Mow over it, and see what happens. Worst case, you'll have to re-sharpen the blades. Best case, you learn that it works perfectly.
 

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Try this experiment. Mix what every your going to use with portland cement DRY. Do your blasting. Get everything ready. Then Wet it. Let it dry and set. Everything should stay in place.
 

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Another possibility would be to create some sort of hard border such as timbers, landscape bricks or even a small trench of dirt separating the mowing area from the layout.

Mark
 

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Jack,

I agree with Mark. Some form of yardscape timber. This will also allow you to mow up to it with your tractor and the easily edge with a string trimmer in its normal position rather than the more difficult task of keeping a bed edge clean (trimmer cutting vertically). I have a playground in the back yard (3/4 acre) that I surrounded with 2 layers of inexpensive yard timbers (the ones with the round edges that are left over when they make plywood) and this has worked for me for the last 5 years. I just cut close with the tractor and then I edge with the string trimmer (when that ain't broken--but thats another story).

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the thoughts. Not sure about wood or block edging because of (a) cost and (b) digging required to install a few hundred feet of it. Portland cement sounds good except for something of a consensus that there might be track problems with temperature extremes of +95 and -10 here in Upstate NY. (Usually not in the same week, though.)

I noticed while mowing yesterday that my mulch mounds around some bushes allowed me to get up close without mulch flying all over. These "mounds", about 3-4" high, are just some leftover bags of mulch that I dumped at the base of a couple bushes and small trees with a fairly upright edge to it. They look good and let me run the rider with the blade deck right up against the mound. Nothing gets sucked into the blades. Maybe some carefully molded mulch is the answer.

2009 - the Summer of Trial & Error.
 

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Your idea of floating the track on screenings is fine. I would suggest widening the raodbed in the areas you want to mow with yor lawn mower. This way you can ride on the track and not have to edge with one of the dreaded string trimmers. I am biulding a stone wall in the front of our house. Rather than having to trim the grass that would normally grow up against the wall, I am going to lay flat concrete pavers, level with the grade, so that the wheels of my lawn mower can ride on them, thus the blade deck will also be passing over the pavers. This is in the perfect world that my minds eye sees. Reality will hopefully see the same thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The thought of widening the roadbed has crossed my mind. Yesterday I picked up a couple bags of drainage rocks (I think that's what they called them) at Lowe's, intending to build a test bed but I still need to get a couple shovelfuls of fines to see if, after being firmly tamped down, they'll be too easily sucked up by the blades.

What I really need to do is find out what the "quarries" are getting for the rocks, rather than the "home center" prices. Then compare with pavers. Might be that your "ride on the pavers" idea isn't much more expensive than a wide rock bed. Probably a lot neater, too.

Slightly off topic - one of the local stone dealers, quarries, whatever you call 'em, has a neat thing on their website. Gotta find out what it costs. Looks like their truck comes with a conveyor that can carry your load of stone up to 40 feet; dump the load of rocks right where you want it - a raised flower bed, perhaps - without the truck destroying your lawn. I'm planning to have my yard raised a couple feet, up by the patio. If it saves me a weekend or two of shoveling, wheelbarrowing, and re-shoveling, it'd be worth a couple extra bucks. I'll have to find out about that.
 

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Jack,

Definately find a local quarry that caters to the public as well as the trade. I buy my screenings from Langhorne Quarries, in Soth Eastern Pa. They are not really an operating quarry any more. Now they stock all sorts of stone materials, from screenings to boulders, blue stone, wall stone, you name it, they probably have it. I drive in with my pickup and a bunch of 5 gallon buckets, and shovel the screenings myself. Right now they are about $25.00/ton. I usually drive out with $10.00 worth. You'll pay that much for a couple fifty pound bags at the home centers.

By the way, you mentioned drainage rocks. Are they smooth and roundish or are they jagged. Try to use the jagged (crushed) stone for your base. It knits together much better than river stone.
 

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I never got to put a railroad in our 1 1/2 acres, but I do have lots of experience with mowers. Mowing the property was a long, tiring afternoon with the traditional tractor mower, but once we got one of the dixon style "zero turning" mowers, it was a breeze, except for the slope down to the water. Since the mower was "nose heavy," it tended to turn down slope and move rapidly.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Zero-turn mower - expensive.
Picture in my mind - priceless!
 

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I use a tractor to mow the yard.



We have a 10" 3-layer limestone serpentine wall separating the RR from the yard.



Jim Carter
 

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Jack, as a landscaper I find sometimes the best way to design gardens and walkways adn such is to use the mower that the client has available. I'll take the mower and mow a design into the grass, then go back and edge along the mowed line in the grass, kill off the grass, add soil, or stone and then plant.etc...

That way your sure that the mower can handle radius and such..

You' then keep that edge by using a string line trimmer every other week to maintain the edge, really simple way of doing it

:)
 

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That's the whole reason the KVRwy exists, to eliminate grass cutting and doing my part to help the environment.
 

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Posted By D-n-H - Kirkville Branch on 09/11/2008 7:40 PM
Jack, as a landscaper I find sometimes the best way to design gardens and walkways adn such is to use the mower that the client has available. I'll take the mower and mow a design into the grass, then go back and edge along the mowed line in the grass, kill off the grass, add soil, or stone and then plant.etc...
That way your sure that the mower can handle radius and such..
You' then keep that edge by using a string line trimmer every other week to maintain the edge, really simple way of doing it
:)" border=0>






That's a great method !

I still cannot handle a string trimmer without scalping the lawn, let alone trying to do edging with one. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crying.gif
 
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