Welcome back!

This week we are late and we even dare to post without a video but in our defence The Beast from the East (hit no 2) came again and it ruined our perfect plans for that weekend! 🙁 Let us explain from the beginning…

Having finished with the drainage last week, our plan for this weekend was to level up the rest of the area right next to the house so that we could lay some paving slabs. As you may remember from previous posts, we already have three rows of slabs laid on one side of the garden and given it permits mud-free movement next to the house when it rains, we have decided to continue this way to the other side of the house. On top of that, we actually have one more reason to continue this way – we acquired about 30-40 paving slabs stacked loosely in the corner upon buying the house! (the previous owner got them but never used all of them). Preparing the ground for laying the paving meant that we had to finish burying the drainage pipe, partially remove the stairs and create levelled slope away from the house.

This was the perfect plan however as the week started, the weather forecast for the weekend was getting worse and worse… In the end, it was showing close to 0 degree during the day and below zero over the night. Having previously done our research about setting of cement, we knew that we would be taking a big risk if we wanted to do it while the temperature outside was negative (not advised already below 5 degrees). However, as the forecast was still showing relatively high temperature on Thursday and Friday, we decided we would both level the terrain and lay the slabs on these days!

With this ambitious plan, on Thursday we have managed to … remove two steps out of our garden stairs and reconstruct some provisional steps on the side 😀

Initially, we also wanted to progress with the removal of the retaining wall however, given that we have to somehow access the top of the garden, we decided to leave it until we have the new set of stairs built. We have also managed to remove the sub-base we previously laid right next to the door/stairs quite a while ago. We tried to keep it clean from mud by lying some plastic bags on it but nevertheless, after a closer inspection, it was now too dirty and laid too uneven for us to keep it like it was. As a result, we dug it all up and washed it with water to get rid of the clay particles. That also allowed us to level the whole area with the clay and slope it away from the house before adding the sub-base.

Having understood how little progress we can make in one “after-work” day, R gave up and decided to rest on Friday. The plan was to resume on Saturday and Sunday! That however, proved tricky as over the weekend it was cold, rainy and snowy – this is also the reason why we have not got a video for this weekend as it was impossible to set the camera outside.

On Saturday, we have cracked on levelling and quickly realised that, by finishing our drainage right next to the stairs rather than installing it along the whole length of the paving, we were asking for trouble and flooding again. Normally, we would have extended the trench and plug some more of the drainage pipe to our existing pipe but unfortunately given the gradient needed, we would not have been able to bury the pipe. This left us with only one solution we could have thought of at that point – digging up the right gradient trench and filling it with gravel only. Just like last time, we also used the landscaping fabric and washed some gravel that we spread in the trench.

As a last step, G flattened the terrain once again and as such we were ready to spread the sub-base. Given that our recycling scheme is going quite well (recycled sand, recycled slabs and more to come 🙂 ), R decided to recycle some of the rubble we piled up during the wall removal. In particular, she used pieces of mortar which, with a help of sledge hammer of course, she converted to aggregate. This was to reduce the rubble pile we have got currently and save us some money on sub-base material.

The process of making the aggregate itself was quite time consuming (also our hands were freezing every so often and needed a warm-up!) so it is not something we would have considered normally but I should probably mention that the home-made aggregate made only a bottom layer of our sub-base (spread directly onto clay) and once this was done, we topped it up with the usual sub-base material bought from a DIY store.

On Sunday, we were more than half-way done but as the weather was far from ideal we have only managed to cover the whole extent with sub-base the following Tuesday… and we will tell you more about that next weekend!

See you next time! 🙂

To view the next article click here Weekend 11 – Finally paving!!.


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