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Post new topic   Reply to topic    Irish Gardeners Forum Home -> Hard landscaping in Ireland, Garden Features (Paths, Patios, Paving, Decking, Walls etc)

Ground preparation for gravel area?


 
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drumrainy
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
Rank attained: Hazel Tree


Joined: 01 Nov 2007
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 8:34 am    Post subject: Ground preparation for gravel area? Reply with quote

I have an area of about 50-60 sq metres at the back and to one side of the house which I plan to finish in gravel. At the moment it's very rough, just earth, stones and weeds (following construction project a few years ago). A lot of the stones are 4" hardcore type which the builders had put down to reduce muddiness during the build. The ground is not particularly level.

The plan is to lay weedmat, then 18-20mm gravel or pebbles. I've already build a dry stone retaining wall at the back of the area.

Do I need to do anything to the ground before laying the weedmat? I was considering getting in a couple of tons of sand to level it out and lay the weedmat on top of that.

Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.
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walltoall
Rank attained: Orchard owner


Joined: 25 Aug 2008
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Location: Thurrock RM15 via Dungarvan and the Banner County

PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 9:05 am    Post subject: Hiya Drumrainy Reply with quote

It's just my opinion (but based on previous experience). I'd introduce as much extra hardcore as possible as early as possible. You already seem to have a headstart with the rubble left behind by the builders. Level out the surface as much as you can as is. Get in a roller, the heaviest you can afford to hire and really compress the surface. The main idea is to the opposite to everything you would do to get a good tilth for growing things. Preparation will repay itself a hundred times over.

If you decide to use a sand covering after rolling and it's possible to get sea sand use it. Roll in too if possible. The salt will inhibit weed growth. You might decide then to double kill by putting down sodium chlorate (the stuff they used to make bombs from but is now in liquid form or has inhibitors). You might even buy a big bag of salt from a wholesale grocer and scatter it on the hard ground. If the surface is really hard the salt does not wash away so quickly.

I had access to a barrowload of the salt they put on the streets in England and under cover of darkness.............. DON'T ASK!!!!!!!!!!!

In my case I also had access to a large amount of waste carpet underlay after putting in a wood floor and I put it down soft side up as it were. Finally I covered the lot with 'pea' gravel. Maybe you want to go bigger? Put in a more than you think is enough. You need a minimum depth of about one inch and there is no maximum depth.

Maintenance is the fun part. If you rake the gravel every week from March on it really inhibits seed germination and development. The disturbance of the gravel with the rake mashes any tiny seedlings trying to develop and the work itself is amazingly relaxing ans self-satisfying.

As I say this is just one person's view and there will be dozens of best ways. I just happen to be pathologically mean and waste nothing. Hence the use of the carpet underlay.

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Retired trouble-maker. twitters @walltoall and dreams of being promoted to Pedunculate Oaker.
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