Garden Structures forum: River rocks removal from yard and sssssNAKES!

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Name: Ann
Pacific NW, WA (Zone 8a)
So many DIYs, so little time...
Jul 2, 2015 4:43 PM CST
Hello, All. I'm new to this website, and I've been able to find a lot of good information on here about gardening (I'm a newbie). Although, I wasn't sure where to post this question, I thought here would be a good start.

My family and I moved to a smaller town about 3 years ago, just north of Vancouver, WA. We love the are very much. When we first moved, the yard had brush, weed and grass that were as tall (if not, almost) as my husband, he's 6'2. I've been, slowly, creating small flower beds in front of the house. It needs to be done better, but plants are doing well.

The house sits on a small lot and on one side of the house, there's an eye-sore of a tree fort (w/o the tree) and below it , the previous owners covered the ground with river rocks. My problem is, I have Ophidiophobia or an extreme fear of snakes: tiny snakes, medium snakes, big snakes, garden snakes, poisonous snakes, dead or alive, or even the skin that they shed. It doesn't matter. I'm terrified of them! Unfortunately, the rocky areas of the yard are where they hang out to "sun bathe" and even sometimes around my plants, too. This has caused me to NOT want to go and take care of my plants, sometimes, or before I do, I take a step stool or a ladder, stand on it and poke the ground with a long stick and "stir" the area to scare them away before they scare me to death.

To most people, they think this is not much of a problem. However, until I find help with a professional (with this phobia), I need to get rid of the snakes around my yard, or at least, make them go somewhere else.

I've tried shoveling the rocks (they're not pebbles) thinking I could move them into a pile and maybe advertise to give them away, I found out it's, at least, 4 inches deep. Would it be all right to just pour cement or concrete onto it? It's against the side of my house and I thought I could just turn it into a sitting area with a few potted plants around. Any ideas?

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Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
Jul 3, 2015 7:48 AM CST
I am sorry you have to deal with this phobia! That sounds awful. I hope you are able to find help.

But you have done lovely things with the yard!
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
Jul 3, 2015 9:07 PM CST
Welcome! I bet your neighbors are sooooo happy you moved in. The improvements to the yard are astounding! Thumbs up I can't stand snakes either. If I see one my heart jumps like a popping balloon. Even worse I can't stand looking at snakes. I forced myself to learn about them. I am not healed by any means but I can get a snake to move out of my way fast. If it doesn't move fast enough. It's dead. Shrug! My suggestion is if you cannot possibly move the rocks yourself, give it away. I have used Freecycle and offered things up as "You dig it" and someone will come. It's free and they will dig it up. We got rid of my neighbor's large shrubs that way and my large over grown Sego Palm, too. Some folks aren't afraid of a little labor for free things.
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
Jul 9, 2015 2:12 PM CST
Before digging up the rocks or pouring cement you might want to check and see if the rocks are there because of a water problem. If you cover the rocks the water may start to come in the house. I think the reason for the rocks may have been done for drainage.

That said you have done a beautiful job. The overgrown area probably why the snakes were there I bet after a few more months they will move on and find a more habitable place to live because they no longer have the undisturbed over grown environment as before. That area in the condition before you fixed it up was perfect. They had plenty of food.....mice, and plenty of bugs.

Try lighting citronella candles and line them up they do not like to hang around fire.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Oct 28, 2015 6:49 PM CST
Welcome to ATP and to the PNW. For what it's worth, we have no venomous snakes on the west side of the Cascades, so you are likely running into garter snakes. Doesn't help your phobia, but at least you can rest assured they won't harm you. Lovely job you are doing. And, yes, I second the 'free - you remove' idea on Craigslist. My son did that with a whole landscape full of those stackable pavers and they were gone within a day. And I also second the thought that once you've cleaned up your yards, the snakes will move on. Good luck, and keep posting. We love in-progress photos.

I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.

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