Welcome to my blog, where a 30-something couple from the UK renovate and extend an old cottage, build some outbuildings, raise some hens and grow firewood trees and vegetables on our Acre in Hampshire. It's a bit like a smallholding but without too many animals, so we call it a homestead - living within our means, relying on ourselves and having a wonderful life!


Sunday, 6 September 2015

Laying the Terrace

In the middle of all this barn-building chaos, we decided that having a large terrace would be really nice for our wedding. We were hoping for fine weather, and would have 100-plus people milling about in the garden all evening - we needed something good underfoot!

We priced up the job and calculated the need for 55 square metres of terracing. This would give us a big area outside the back door for a table and chairs, a path to the barn, a smaller area outside the barn for another small table, a paved area by the log store on the barn plus a long sinuous path between the parking spaces and the front door. The paving we chose would cost about £2,000 - but the labour for installation was over £4,000. Yikes!

As ever, we decided to DIY. This saved a lot of money, but it was really hard work.

Our tame groundworker Dickie came in and finished all the excavation and laying of membrane and hardcore in a single day - this also marked the last of our hateful concrete paths. Hooray!

In hindsight, the level of the hardcore was a bit low - this necessitated a thick layer of lean mix (dry sand and cement) which was more work for us.

This was the approximate area that we had to fill - plus a bit more in front of the barn that is out of shot. The path can be seen on the right.

The job progressed quite well - the terrace had to slope away from the house to drain water, and the house wasn't very square which meant that compensation had to be factored into the laying of the stone flags. It looked marvellous very quickly!

The job was quite hard work - even though the flags were of a calibrated thickness it was difficult to got the levels to a satisfactory standard - and then they had to have the correct drainage slope and sit flat on the sand bed without rocking!

Sadly we were running out of time towards the end - we left the path and bought a tonne of gravel instead. A bit of turf to tidy up, and the garden as ready for the wedding!

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