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Sand, slabs and subsidence

02 Jul 2008
Rainy 22°C / 72°F

When I got up this morning, I had no idea that there would be a semblance of a patio in the garden by this evening, and yet, here I sit picking bits of sand out of my hair and with a big journal to write, and the slabs laid out roughly in place. So here goes.

Realising that I had foolishly made a deadline for myself, and even more foolishly made that deadline public, and with less than a week to go, I found myself searching high and low for the builder friend who had promised me some sand. I could not find him, and decided to try another builder’s merchant.

Frustratingly, it is not possible to buy half tonne loads of sand. You have to get a one tonne bag or lots of little ones. I had the choice of getting a tonne and ending up with lots of spare sand, or paying more to get half a tonne in little bags which may not be quite enough. Knowing how the foundations seem to be bottomless, I plumped for the tonne.

Amazingly I was able to persuade the merchants to put my delivery on one of their lorries for today. It may have been the sob story I told them, or possibly the very low cut top I was wearing (it was very hot and humid), that swung it.

The sand duly came, and I shovelled over half of it in to the hole, stomped on it and rolled about in it and generally distributed it in to every nook and cranny of my being that one could conceive of. Some of it even stayed in the footings, but no matter how I tried, I could not make it in to a lovely level flat plane. In the end I resorted to an old floorboard that was lying about, and I smoothed it around like a bulldozer blade in ever decreasing circles. That sort of did the trick, but it now showed up where my circumference levels had sunk down too low. It was particularly bad over the step end of the patio. The only thing to do was to dig down to the bottom of the wooden pilings, and underpin them with bits of tile, brick rubble and pottery. Amazingly, that seemed to do the trick. Mental note – in future if I ever am foolish enough to do this again, make a concrete footing for such structures.

Now I am left with the biggest ever cat loo on Earth. Seriously, the local moggies will be drawn here like moths to a light. Time to lay out the slabs and see if the platform still fits. To make things harder for myself, I decided right from the start that it would be nice if the main cracks between the slabs were aligned to the main points of the compass. So not only did I have to find the centre of the circle to lay the centre stone first, but I also had to mark out the compass points from the centre outwards.

Basic geometry skills and a bit of string meant I could mark out arcs for the centre stone to fit in to. Arcs again found the centre of the stone itself, and the place to put my compass. String and scratching in to the sand marked out the rest.

The slabs fit in beautifully, though the patio surface is not yet even. It is a bit warped, like an over fried popadum, but then I know I have to lift the stones again and pad out the uneven areas. At least I won’t have to poop scoop too much when I do it.

Here is an animated picture journal of the day’s work – http://www.flickr.com/photos/jibbled/2632585296/sizes/o/in/photostream/

Here is an animated sequence of just the slabs being laid – http://www.flickr.com/photos/jibbled/2631465979/sizes/o/

Previous posts on this topic in chronological order :

  1. The bees are cheesed off, and I’m hot under the collar too.
  2. The forlorn lawn is gorn
  3. The revered art of garden macramé
  4. Dirty girl!
  5. A constructive day
  6. Damn and ballast it!

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Comments

iechris

iechris

Folia Helper

United States7b

Congrats on another incredible day of work! The patio looks gret. Couldn’t see the flickr photos though, as they were marked private. Reading your journals has convinced me that if I try to do something about the broken walk leading to my porch, I will hire someone to fix it for me.

Keep up the hard/good work!!

Posted on 03 Jul 08 (over 9 years ago)
Happibun

Happibun

Folia Helper

United Kingdom8b

I’ll go and try to sort that out. It might be a ‘view original thing’

Sorry :-)

Update – I hope the links are working now. I changed the creative commons on them and the settings that allows people to download all sizes (and originals) of an image.

Posted on 03 Jul 08 (over 9 years ago)
iechris

iechris

Folia Helper

United States7b

After all that work, I’m amazed you had the energy to get the big post up. Hope you had a nice cool drink after all that. Makes my back hurt looking at it all, but I know it will be worth it when you are done.

Posted on 03 Jul 08 (over 9 years ago)

Brilliant, I hope that you are very pleased with it. I am impressed with your geometric ability and with your desire to set the stones to compass points – lovely idea.

Posted on 03 Jul 08 (over 9 years ago)

Brilliant!! You’re well on track for next week. It looks really good. Surprised it’s only your hair that’s full of sand – in my experience it reaches every orifice!

Posted on 03 Jul 08 (over 9 years ago)

That looks awesome! All the hard work is starting to pay off properly now! Just think, in no time at all you’ll be sat on it with a little glass of something…

Posted on 03 Jul 08 (over 9 years ago)
Armorel

Armorel

Folia Helper

United Kingdom10a

That looks fabulous, Happibun!

I’m also in awe of your geometric ability so you can get the stones laid out to the compass points. And I’ll agree with Linda, sand gets in the most uncomfortable of places possible … not just your hair.

I love the slide show – especially all the footprints in the sand as you stomped down each successive layer. That brought a smile to my face :-)

Posted on 03 Jul 08 (over 9 years ago)

It is beautiful.

Posted on 03 Jul 08 (over 9 years ago)

Beautiful! Since it’s laid out to the points of the compass, would a large statue of David in the middle turn it into a sundial?

Posted on 03 Jul 08 (over 9 years ago)

Beautiful. I hope you had a nice relaxing bath afterwards.

Posted on 03 Jul 08 (over 9 years ago)
mondomuse

mondomuse

Folia Helper

United States10

I see so many dual purposes in this ambitious project nearing completion. The patio doubles as a wonderful place to rest your laurels (grow some too) as well as a life-sized compass; you will always know which direction you are heading. Not sure what time it is? Stand in the middle and cast your shadow upon it. The excess sand useful for so many things; shoring up footpaths, forcing bulbs, making free-form candles, terrorizing snails, and let us not forget the feline discotheque. How about that low slung top, it makes for comfortable summer wear as well as persuasive bargaining agent.

Happibun, once again you’ve been able to work every angle so cleverly; all 360 degrees of them. It is almost time to say “voulez vous les bons temps rouler!”

Posted on 03 Jul 08 (over 9 years ago)

Wow! Lets hope the weather stays fine for the BBQ on the 9th. A happy Happibun.

Posted on 03 Jul 08 (over 9 years ago)
Happibun

Happibun

Folia Helper

United Kingdom8b

Well, actually I did get sand in all sorts of places, and it does chafe something rotten, but I thought that I had better keep things clean after posting a couple of dirty posts previously ;-) Having said that, the idea of David as a sundial is quite appealing, though I wonder if he would be accurate depending on fig leaf position and all that. Erm…

I am hoping that Mondo will be giving me his infamous Mojito recipe to christen the patio with, so perhaps I had better limber up with a few G&Ts whilst I do the groundwork. Barman, mine’s a bucket. Thank you :-)

Having a bath afterwards is the greatest reward :-) and it does get rid of most of the sand.

Fingers crossed that this latest spate of rainy weather has gone by next Wednesday, it is also Littlest’s sports day. Sod’s law dictates that it will rain if you have an outdoor activity planned, doubly so if it is an important one :-) Note to weathermen at the BBC, deluge booked for Wednesday afternoon next week…

Posted on 03 Jul 08 (over 9 years ago)

Spectacular — love your slideshow. Since we got to share the hard work, can we come to the party?

Posted on 04 Jul 08 (over 9 years ago)
Happibun

Happibun

Folia Helper

United Kingdom8b

That sounds like a grand idea Ves, tell you what, make it a bring a bottle or a dish (y young man…). Send me your pics (or tell me when I can find them to download), and I’ll put together a party animation and guest list to post up here.

How about that? The first Folian virtual party. Cool.

Posted on 04 Jul 08 (over 9 years ago)
ceae

ceae

Folia Helper

Canada6a

Wow … the patio is brilliant!!! I love the compass points, that’s just too darn cool! I definitely want to come to your party…hubby pilfered my camera today, but I’ll send you a pic once I’ve snagged it back!

Posted on 04 Jul 08 (over 9 years ago)

I am definately joining this party and raising a glass of Mt.Begbie High Country Kolsch to your brilliant planning, hard work, and way with words as well as gardens. I’ll bring some bison sausages with saskatoon berries for the BBQ. Cheers.
Oh yes, what’s next on the major enterprise list?
And a second afterthought, David didn’t get a fig leaf until the prissy 19th century and if you saw some of the paintings on the ceilings of pope’s and other church gentry’s ceilings, you might wonder about vows of celibacy.

Posted on 04 Jul 08 (over 9 years ago)

I’ll bring the "Black Butte Porter ":http://www.deschutesbrewery.com/BrewPub/OnTap/5832.aspx and a slab of my favorite cheese, Valentina from Estrella Creamery. And slivers of Valentina are great on my pumpkin/kale/white bean soup.

Posted on 06 Jul 08 (over 9 years ago)

Nice! We finally put in a patio in the back corner of our garden— husband and son labored for three days and the result is beautiful. A wonderful shady garden room under the canopy of our 40-foot pear tree. uh-huh. Eight days later a wind storm blew the tree down.

Posted on 08 Jul 08 (over 9 years ago)
Happibun

Happibun

Folia Helper

United Kingdom8b

Oh Nax! How sad. Nature seems to have it in for patios in general. The weather here is doing it’s best to scupper mine, and the forecast is pretty awful for tomorrow.

Posted on 08 Jul 08 (over 9 years ago)

What a wonderful project!I would love to have one in my small yard.Maybe someday.Give yourself a pat on the back for that.Thankyou for the picture show too! Enjoy it you earned it.

Posted on 09 Jul 08 (over 9 years ago)

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