This week at the garden renovation we did not do any renovation and instead we continued to clean up, remove and undo parts of the old garden we really want to change. We continued removing the main decking and made a start on demolishing the wooden platform at the very back of the garden.
As you might remember from our last video, last time we have managed to dismantle only a few of the planks from the main decking. The rest was initially covered in old wood that we had placed there, covered by a black tarp with the idea to use it for a bonfire with friends in the evening. However, as we needed space, we have cleared out that wood (currently in the skip 🙂 ) and instead we placed a big, rotten but well heavy railway sleeper under the cover hoping it will dry out and lose bugs that lived in it…
With the decking now clear of debris we could safely dismantle the remaining planks. As we only have one electric screwdriver we had to find ourselves two separate tasks – one of us would take care of decking and the other one still needed a task. Finally, we decided that this time, R was going to take the trusty electric screwdriver and remove all the screws.
In the meantime, G ate ice-cream 😀 . Since our green and mossy lawn had turned into a metallic lawn as the whole metallic shed was still lying in the middle of the garden, just after the ice-cream treat, G cracked on removing any screws that were sticking out of the metal sheets and carried them to the front of the house. He then prepped the car again, protecting it with some spare black plastic material we have used the other weekend. Our initial plan involved both of us going to the skip together but unfortunately, the metal sheets were too long to allow two people to sit in the front. As we were still meant to go to the city centre and were running late, we left we left the whole shed in the front garden for later in the afternoon.
We came back home after a few hours and as G was parking up, we have noticed that something was not quite right – all of the metal that we had piled up in the front of the house was gone… Keeping the long story short – we had a good laugh about it but at the same time, we are also disconcerted that someone had just taken a bunch of things from our front garden. There was no note, or sign as to who could have done it.
Since we no longer had to go to the skip to throw away the old shed, we both got back to work on the decking removal. For the most part, it actually went smoothly. We just used our power drill with a cross screwdriver bit and unscrewed most of the boards. There were a few that were more resistant, but then that was also easy because they boards seemed to be relatively weak around the screws and we just used the crowbar to force the screw to go through the wood.
Once all the boards were removed, we could really appreciate how unstable the whole foundation had become over its lifetime (we assume about 10 years). Each perpendicular beam was just resting on the dirt below, and each of the beams was now so rotten that they could barely support their own weight when we moved them. In fact, more that one beam broke in half when we move it.
After clearing the area, R grabbed a secateurs and removed all visible saplings which were growing underneath our decking to temporarily stop them from growing any further!
Glad that we got rid of the decking, the next day we made a start on the platform. Surprisingly, the evening before, we actually found ourselves contemplating whether we should leave the platform. Being high up and above the city centre level, in the evening, we could admire the city lights and see above all houses.. 🙂 The final decision was, however, to remove the platform as R found a photo proving the platform a shady spot! A photo was from a sunny day during summer 2017, where it is somewhat visible that when the leaves on trees are in full growth, they project a shadow on the platform. Based on this information, we have decided to take out the platform knowing that most likely we will never enjoy sitting in the shadow in our garden because it is just simply not warm enough in England for such ‘pleasures’ ! 😀 (to see the photo, feel free to watch the video where it is included 🙂 )
After closer investigation of the platform, it turned out that some of the earth from the broken retaining wall has already moved on and rested on the railway planks covering about 50 cm of their length. That was the bad news because that meant we had to dig. The good news was that the railway sleepers did not seem to be fixed with any screws or nails to anything or each other!
But we were also soon to find out that dismantling railway sleepers of this size was not going to be a straightforward task! Regardless whether they were fixed or not! After being able to dismantle the first railway sleeper and putting a great deal of strain on our spins trying to move that thing to the lawn, R said that we have to get a new saw in order to be able to cut the railway into smaller pieces before moving it to the lower level of our garden.
At this point G was off to the DIY shop and not too long after, he came back with a reciprocating saw and a cable reel of 15 meters (again, Google SketchUp design became handy as to judge how long we need the extension to be, we took measurements directly from the drawing).
After trying to cut the first railway sleeper with the new saw, we found out that it was not our best choice as the whole action of cutting one wood piece not only took forever but also required lots of physical effort but as we decided to go by price rather than quality we decided we will not complain given we took our chances!
So we spent the rest of the day trying to remove as many railway sleepers as possible but due to the physical effort it was taking, we have only managed to remove 4 railway sleepers and called it a day before the daylight was over!
That weekend, two incredible things have happened – not only someone nicked our metal shed saving us a trip to the skip but we have also dug out a frog (or a toad??) while trying to dig put the railway sleepers from underneath the fallen earth. The poor thing must have been sleeping in the earth as it was not looking very alive.. In the end, R took it outside the garden and left it under a pile of autumn leaves in the forest behind the garden.
See you next time!
Check out the next article – Weekend 3 – Digging into the Platform.