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That 'big project' I've been banging on about for a few years now....

Started by James Harrison, January 31, 2020, 08:06:41 PM

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James Harrison



It's oddly satisfying spending a quiet hour or so on cool late Spring/ early Summer evenings laying bricks in the garden.  It's about a third of the way up to the house now.  And I've had a rethink about the gradient, actually I think what I'm going to do is keep it at the same level up to where it meets the bit that goes across the front of the bay window.  And then I'll just put a step in there.
Persons intending to travel by open carriage should select a seat with their backs to the engine, by which means they will avoid the ashes emitted therefrom, that in travelling generally, but particularly through the tunnels, prove a great annoyance; the carriage farthest from the engine will in consequence be found the most desirable.

SeVeNeVeS

Looking really good so far!

May i ask if you are using a whacker/ vibrating plate?  If not the only fear could be sinking over time.

I'm impressed I've never attempted block paving before, it's all about preperation of the ground before laying the blocks apparently.......... Anyway I ramble as usual, as I said looks good and please do update with photos of progress as when it happens.

James Harrison

I haven't run over it with a whacker, my reasoning being that I've already dug out below and backfilled with crushed concrete and stone (which of course I'm now having to scrape the top off of because I laid it to too high a level).  So you've got, - crushed concrete, - crushed limestone, - sharp sand; - block pavers.  The sharp sand might settle a bit and find ways to get down into the crushed stone, but I don't think it will settle too much.  Well, I hope not anyway...

Most of the effort and time at the moment goes into getting a level (or nearly level) layer of sand to bed the blocks down into, the blocks themselves are just a simple case of placing them in the right location and tapping them down a bit.  It's slower going than I thought it would be (taken about 8 hours so far to get a third or so of it done), but I should (weather depending) have broken the back of it by the end of the month.  Provided I don't run out of bricks or sand.
Persons intending to travel by open carriage should select a seat with their backs to the engine, by which means they will avoid the ashes emitted therefrom, that in travelling generally, but particularly through the tunnels, prove a great annoyance; the carriage farthest from the engine will in consequence be found the most desirable.

SeVeNeVeS

I found this............ A whacker may be a good idea, only footfall  not a driveway but I'm all for belt and braces.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lp7N5GXqtk

:-\ :-\


James Harrison

That's a useful video.  I had seen it before but it makes a lot more sense now that I've made my own mistakes  :D

We'll see how it goes, if it all has to come up again next year and get relaid then I'll compact the subgrade and the sand bed down.
Persons intending to travel by open carriage should select a seat with their backs to the engine, by which means they will avoid the ashes emitted therefrom, that in travelling generally, but particularly through the tunnels, prove a great annoyance; the carriage farthest from the engine will in consequence be found the most desirable.

James Harrison



As of last night, this is how far I'd got.  I've got about 1.3 metres (4') to go, and then I need to introduce a step.  I should be able to each that point by the end of this coming weekend. 

Then, as I say, there is a step and then it turns through 90 degrees and goes across the front of the house.  It is doubtful I have enough bricks to do all of that in one go, but we shall see.
Persons intending to travel by open carriage should select a seat with their backs to the engine, by which means they will avoid the ashes emitted therefrom, that in travelling generally, but particularly through the tunnels, prove a great annoyance; the carriage farthest from the engine will in consequence be found the most desirable.

Sir Henry

Quote from: James Harrison on June 07, 2023, 06:37:51 PM
As of last night, this is how far I'd got.  I've got about 1.3 metres (4') to go, and then I need to introduce a step.  I should be able to each that point by the end of this coming weekend. 
Have you seen the forecast for this weekend? Heatwave, the first rain in weeks and thunderstorms.
Possibly not the best path-laying weather.

Best of luck.

(I'm really hoping that the reroofing of our house is complete by then; it's looking possible...)
I speak in syllabubbles. They rise to the surface by the force of levity and pop out of my mouth unneeded and unheeded.
Cry "Have at!" and let's lick the togs of Waugh!
Arsed not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for tea.

James Harrison

I've beaten the weather.  I've made it to the location of the step. 





I've now got to turn through 90 degrees and continue on across the width of the house.  I might just barely have enough pavers to do that.
Persons intending to travel by open carriage should select a seat with their backs to the engine, by which means they will avoid the ashes emitted therefrom, that in travelling generally, but particularly through the tunnels, prove a great annoyance; the carriage farthest from the engine will in consequence be found the most desirable.

James Harrison

It's been altogether far too warm to press on in any meaningful way with the path project this weekend.  It's been hovering around the low 30s (mid to high 80s for those working in Farenheit), with humidity in the 70s to 80s.  Basically, going outside has felt like opening an oven door.

So this has been an opportunity to consider what I need to do next to finish it off. 

Firstly, the bit that I've laid needs edging to stop the side sliding into the hedge.  So, I've ordered the edging strip to do that.  That should be coming in the next week or so and then I'll have the delightful job of trying to dig a narrow trench in the border to place it, without damaging the roots of stems of the hedge. 

Secondly, I've had to make a decision about where the rainwater goes when it emerges from the downpipe. I wanted to use a half-round clay channel, but I said a few weeks ago I can't buy this locally and the places which do stock it, want me to buy a couple hundred pounds' worth of it to make it worth their time.  So I've had to look for an alternative. 



What I've done is to buy a length of guttering (cost: much, much less than £200) and I've buried this down into the gravel above the soakaway that I installed a few years ago.  At the other end I've rested it on a few lumps of stone to get it approximately at the level of the finished footpath.  Then I've poured a couple of jugs of water down it to make sure it actually drains the right way.  What I'm going to do next is to carry on building the path up to this, and when I reach it I'm going to properly bed it down into the subgrade.  At the moment it's buried at one end, balanced on stones at the other and sort of spans inbetween.  Once it's bedded in and I'm certain it's tolerably stable, I'm going to fill the channel up with crushed granite. So it should just look like a gravel channel that the water soaks into. 

So to finish the front garden off, the to-do list looks like

1) Finish laying the pavers
2) Cement in the edging
3) You remember those two rows of bricks I uncovered last year when digging out under the bay window?  I want to build a very low (maybe 3 to 4 bricks high) wall on top of them...
Persons intending to travel by open carriage should select a seat with their backs to the engine, by which means they will avoid the ashes emitted therefrom, that in travelling generally, but particularly through the tunnels, prove a great annoyance; the carriage farthest from the engine will in consequence be found the most desirable.

James Harrison

And that channel was installed just in the nick of time, because an hour later the heavens absolutely opened. 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpC-N0nMvSI

What with Youtube needing half an hour to process a 1-minute video, I won't be making any more moving pictures anytime soon. 

Persons intending to travel by open carriage should select a seat with their backs to the engine, by which means they will avoid the ashes emitted therefrom, that in travelling generally, but particularly through the tunnels, prove a great annoyance; the carriage farthest from the engine will in consequence be found the most desirable.

James Harrison

Just to finish off the first part of the path;





Of course, it's not quite finished yet... there's a bag of kiln sand yet to buy and brush into all the gaps, but it's nearly there.  Tomorrow, assuming the weather has quite finished its high summer in Arrakeen antic, I'm planning to make a start on the next section. 
Persons intending to travel by open carriage should select a seat with their backs to the engine, by which means they will avoid the ashes emitted therefrom, that in travelling generally, but particularly through the tunnels, prove a great annoyance; the carriage farthest from the engine will in consequence be found the most desirable.

James Harrison

Well, I've now got a finished path all the way from my front door to the road.  It's only taken two months to get this far...





There was of course more raking out and dropping the level down to get this in, but fortunately it wasn't nearly so awful as I'd had to do for the that first stretch of paving. 



Once that bit was done, there was a final line of pavers that had to be mortared in place.  Those are now setting in the warm afternoon sun.

So the next bit now is turn the whole operation through 90 degrees and work from the door, across the front of the house, to the garden wall.  So the first bit of the path to have been broken out - roughly this time last year - becomes the last part of the new path to be laid.  To do that, I've got about 105 brick pavers to hand, of a pack of 488.  They look impressive on a pallet but when it comes to it, they really don't go very far.  The path gets much narrower of course because of the bay window but still, I have my doubts that I've got enough material to finish the job. 
Persons intending to travel by open carriage should select a seat with their backs to the engine, by which means they will avoid the ashes emitted therefrom, that in travelling generally, but particularly through the tunnels, prove a great annoyance; the carriage farthest from the engine will in consequence be found the most desirable.

Synistor 303

You know they would look much better if you laid them in a herringbone pattern...

(OK, I've been waiting until you finished to say that, because someone once said it to us after we had finished laying a huge amount of paving around our house...)

(I'm so funny!)

Looks great, by the way!

James Harrison

Quote from: Synistor 303 on June 18, 2023, 12:10:53 AM
You know they would look much better if you laid them in a herringbone pattern...

(OK, I've been waiting until you finished to say that, because someone once said it to us after we had finished laying a huge amount of paving around our house...)

(I'm so funny!)

Looks great, by the way!

;D

I did think about a herringbone pattern initially, but discounted that when I found
1) It was difficult enough to set out when drawing up, so setting out for actually laying it would have been a right royal pain in the....
2) The number of pavers that would have needed to be cut would have added massively to the effort and the cost.
Persons intending to travel by open carriage should select a seat with their backs to the engine, by which means they will avoid the ashes emitted therefrom, that in travelling generally, but particularly through the tunnels, prove a great annoyance; the carriage farthest from the engine will in consequence be found the most desirable.

SeVeNeVeS

I totally agree with James all those cuts would not only triple the time but add hassle.

I think you are doing a wonderful job and I am impressed (although not my personal cup of tea) Looks really good so far!

Cora Courcelle

Quote from: Synistor 303 on June 18, 2023, 12:10:53 AM
You know they would look much better if you laid them in a herringbone pattern...


;D ;D ;D ;D ;D

It looks splendid sir.
You have to tread a fine line between avant-garde surrealism and getting yourself sectioned...

James Harrison

Thank you  :)

Well, I don't think I'll get any further with it this weekend as I've just been trated to another decent thunderstorm (I do like thunderstorms.  Three of them in the space of a week is, to me, adequate payment for days on end of a 'high summer in Arrakeen' antic that the weather has been indulging in). 

So I'll have to be content with the 100 or so that I managed to lay yesterday.  Which ultimately got me this far across the front;



Just about to the point where I can make a dash across the bay window (which would take up about 30 - 35 of my remaining stock), and then it needs to step back out to the full 5-brick width.  But no sooner as it reaches that width than it stops anyway... this is going to be a very tight finish.  I could well have done without the (so far) 8 broken bricks and the two that I've rejected for being noticeably chipped. 

Persons intending to travel by open carriage should select a seat with their backs to the engine, by which means they will avoid the ashes emitted therefrom, that in travelling generally, but particularly through the tunnels, prove a great annoyance; the carriage farthest from the engine will in consequence be found the most desirable.

Sir Henry

I speak in syllabubbles. They rise to the surface by the force of levity and pop out of my mouth unneeded and unheeded.
Cry "Have at!" and let's lick the togs of Waugh!
Arsed not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for tea.

James Harrison

If I do run out it's not the end of the world, just an annoyance (that, and the sheepishness in having to go to the DIY store to pick up a handful more- if you have to buy a whole extra pack you can say 'I'm building it piecemeal', if you go in to buy maybe 5 or 10 blocks you might as well be carrying a sign reading 'I miscounted').  At 45p each it's not going to break the bank buying enough to finish the job, or mean I have to delay buying other bits. 

In an ideal world - that thing we don't live in - if I do run out, it will at least be at the point when I've completed the paving as far as the gutter channel. 
Persons intending to travel by open carriage should select a seat with their backs to the engine, by which means they will avoid the ashes emitted therefrom, that in travelling generally, but particularly through the tunnels, prove a great annoyance; the carriage farthest from the engine will in consequence be found the most desirable.

SeVeNeVeS

Quote from: James Harrison on June 18, 2023, 03:06:25 PM
Thank you  :)

Well, I don't think I'll get any further with it this weekend as I've just been trated to another decent thunderstorm (I do like thunderstorms.  Three of them in the space of a week is, to me, adequate payment for days on end of a 'high summer in Arrakeen' antic that the weather has been indulging in). 

So I'll have to be content with the 100 or so that I managed to lay yesterday.  Which ultimately got me this far across the front;



Just about to the point where I can make a dash across the bay window (which would take up about 30 - 35 of my remaining stock), and then it needs to step back out to the full 5-brick width.  But no sooner as it reaches that width than it stops anyway... this is going to be a very tight finish.  I could well have done without the (so far) 8 broken bricks and the two that I've rejected for being noticeably chipped.

Are you planning to do cuts on the bay angle returns? One possibilty would be hide it with planting. The fist thing that springs to mind is campanula but can be a little invasive. But good low ground cover.

James Harrison

My intention is to leave it stepped, whether I keep the crushed granite or replace it with finer gravel is an unknown at the moment.  I'd sooner not put plants in there because it's right up against the footing of the house (which itself is shallow) and I don't want plant roots plaing havoc with the structure.
Persons intending to travel by open carriage should select a seat with their backs to the engine, by which means they will avoid the ashes emitted therefrom, that in travelling generally, but particularly through the tunnels, prove a great annoyance; the carriage farthest from the engine will in consequence be found the most desirable.

James Harrison

Bricklaying, finished. 









So, is this the path done, time to move on to the next job?  No, not quite.
Persons intending to travel by open carriage should select a seat with their backs to the engine, by which means they will avoid the ashes emitted therefrom, that in travelling generally, but particularly through the tunnels, prove a great annoyance; the carriage farthest from the engine will in consequence be found the most desirable.

Sir Henry

Looking good!

Still to put the rope edging along the front?

And I'd suggest much smaller gravel between the bricks and the bay. Not sure why, but the stuff you have in there now just doesn't look... finished?
I speak in syllabubbles. They rise to the surface by the force of levity and pop out of my mouth unneeded and unheeded.
Cry "Have at!" and let's lick the togs of Waugh!
Arsed not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for tea.

James Harrison

I have other plans for along the front.  I want to try my hand at building a wall.  That might become a next year project.  And I quite agree, the current gravel needs to be swapped out (or at least some smaller stuff introduced) because it doesn't quite look right.  Or - I need to put more gravel in it.  At least I've got a fair amount of it on a heap in the back garden I can cart back through (for the third time).

Persons intending to travel by open carriage should select a seat with their backs to the engine, by which means they will avoid the ashes emitted therefrom, that in travelling generally, but particularly through the tunnels, prove a great annoyance; the carriage farthest from the engine will in consequence be found the most desirable.

James Harrison

I was hoping this evening to be able to report that the path has been filled up with kiln sand and therefore can be viewed as, largely, finshed.  Unfortunately of course the weather has other ideas and I'm writing this to a background track of rainfall. 

No matter, it's a job that will be waiting for me when the rain has stopped and the path has dried.


~Edit~ An hour later, the rain had stopped, the sun was out and everything was dry as a bone.  The path has now been sanded.

And with that ticked off the list, I think the only thing really left to do so far as the path is concerned is to mortar in the drainage channel.  So that's another of my big goals for the year more or less ticked off the list. 

So the next project I'll be picking up is the sitting room floor.
Persons intending to travel by open carriage should select a seat with their backs to the engine, by which means they will avoid the ashes emitted therefrom, that in travelling generally, but particularly through the tunnels, prove a great annoyance; the carriage farthest from the engine will in consequence be found the most desirable.