About 12 months ago I decided that my garden needed doing. Actually it was before 12 months ago but it was this time last year that I knew what I wanted to do it it. It needed reflagging and the garden needed to be dug up and new grass laid. Problem with all of that tho is that it costs money, however I was in luck (kinda) I needed to remortgage so I planned to borrow a little bit to get it all sorted and get someone in to do it for me.
Turns out getting a garden flagged is a bit more expensive than I first thought. The area that needed doing was about 70m2 (give or take a meter or two). I got some quotes that were just too much for little old me to afford so I started thinking “how hard can laying a patio actually be……” So I set to work watching you tube videos and speaking to my uncle who knew more than a thing or two about this stuff! He told me about what I had to do and how to go about it. He did this with a caution of how physically hard work it would be and how it was a very big project but never said it was something I couldn’t do, just to be mindful.
Turns out it’s extremely physically fucking draining. Lets just say I went to Ibiza for a week to relax after it….
Anyway as you may (or not) have read before I managed to shift all the dirt that was dug up from my ex and put it back to where it belonged and without any tools and that looked roughly ok. Its still in place now anyway so I didn’t do to bad.
So for those that are interested I hired a man with a digger and he had a mate that had a dumper and luckily he had a mate with a grabber so they set to work clearing out the area that I wanted flagging. on a side note I was so desperate to play on the digger….some of you may be aware that I love tractors and really want to drive around on a JCB so if any of you know someone that has a JCB I could drive around in I’d be the happiest person ever just let me know.
So with that all dug out drains were the first thing that needed to be put in. Id asked my uncle what was best for this and we agreed that running them down the side of the house into the main gully would be the best. So the gully needed changing and the trench for the drains needed digging to.
Now came the small task of laying all the crusher runner/MOT2 or whatever you want to call it. 13 tonnes of the stuff needed laying!!!! That my little lovelies is no small task! And not only did it need laying to a specific depth but it also needed laying with a bit of a gradient so that when the flags eventually went down they drained the water off. So off I set with my wheel barrow and spade. While this was going on several older men walk past my house to get their papers in the morning and each use to give me tips and tricks on how to get the most out of what I was doing and also peered their heads in to see my progress.
1st tip shovel from the bottom of the pile you get a better fill on the spade
2nd tip don’t over fill the wheel barrow, your legs can last longer than your arms can!
(the second tip was actually a life saver)
The dogs did everything they could to get in the way, sorry I mean help me out.
As you can see one of the days it rained so I tried to carry on anyway, turns out this was a bit of a bad move because everything was just so soggy and I was making more of a mess than I needed to really.
Anyway after the crusher was down and all whacked by a big wacker to compress it all down, laying the sand came next.
I decided to use a dry bed of sand and cement to lay the flags as again my uncle suggested this would be best and easier for me. So it was 4 parts and 1 part cement into the mixer then into the barrow then onto the floor. This was the trickiest bit because this needed to be as level and as flat as possible to make my life laying the flags easier. With the trusty help of google I learnt a little neat trick of using plastic pipes to ensure the correct depth and then used a pipe over the top to scrape it down. The this all needed to wacked down with the wacker.
Turns out the dogs like sand, it must feel nice under paw just as I got it all perfect they kept deciding to run through it. needless to say they were chased into the house and not aloud out until it was compacted.
I decided to do the flag laying in sections because of the size of it. And off I went laying how I felt looked good. after compacting I was advised to rake over lightly to give the flags some grip and it would help me bed them too. Overall the sand was pretty bob on and I just needed a little bit extra now and again to stop them wobbling. (I used the very technical method of standing on them and rocking back and forth as they weren’t flat flags so a sprit level wouldn’t of been any good) What I didn’t realised was that the flags came with a pattern to lay them down as a bit of a rough guide until the 3rd pallet. Ooops.
Then came the concrete for the drains. Now I’ve never mixed concrete before and I didn’t know how much I’d get and how far it would go. I ended up needing to take a quick trip to B&Q to get some more and had to use my car as lights to guide my way. As I wasn’t clearly thinking I forgot that would drain my battery so needed help from my mum the next day. But I did manage to lay a bed of concrete. So winner really.
It took me from the 5th September until the 16th September to do this project and I much say I’m very proud of myself. The flags stayed where they should have over the winter and when it’s raining it drains off too. I have recently invested in an angle grinder with a Dimond tip blade so that I can finish off the edges and cut the flags and Ive done all the grouting too.
Over the Easter Bank holiday I sat there on the edge with the dogs either side of my in the full sun and I couldn’t of been more prouder of myself. And in that moment Id of given anything to of been able to FaceTime my granddad and my uncle or invited them around to see what I’d done.
Bring on the next thing
(this video was done just after the majority of the work was done so about 90% finished, tired but proud)