Hmm, good job I waited to go get groceries, suddenly it is pouring out. Hopefully this will not be an all-afternoon state of affairs, I wanted to go wield my new bigass pruning choppers at the anonymous shrub. I'm pretty sure said shrub is a spirea, so I shouldn't hack at it until after it's bloomed, but the dead wood all around the bottom can come off, anyway. I tried applying my normal pruning shears to this task and they just weren't up to it. Once it stops raining I will also have to go out and wield Neem oil at the lilies. My usual weapon of choice has apparently fallen under the pesticide ban...which, for the record, I totally support, but dammit, rotenone was the only thing that actually worked on the beetles. Well, I hear good things about the Neem, you just have to reapply it constantly (e.g. after it rains, after watering, every couple days otherwise). Hopefully it will be effective.
Found a place via UsedOttawa.com selling calcified sandstone of all shapes and sizes for $100 a ton. Since a ton is estimated to cover 200 sq ft in 3" rock, and I need 325 sq ft, I could probably get all my patio stones (since they only need to be about 1.5" thick for my purposes) for about $100, which is eeeeeeeeexcellent. The trick of course is that you have to pick it up yourself. Well, UHaul's website tells me that their cargo van carries a max load of about 3700 lbs, and a ton (assuming it's a metric ton) is about 2200 lbs. Then I'd just need to find a good source for crushed rock, sand, and topsoil. Greely Sand & Gravel is the first Google stop for such things...hmm, not sure how metric tons and cubic yards match up, guess I'll have to ask about that to get price confirmation, but I *think* I might be able to achieve this patio within a budget of $500...yep, confirmed. Sah-weeeeeet.