Saturday, November 17, 2012

DIY: Paving Part 2 - foundation

So the next part of paving is to put down a suitable foundation, something that won't move (much?) that will make things look all wonky later.

Some professionals will only lay paving on concrete, but that gets expensive rapidly - and if you're already going to put concrete, you might as well put down coloured, stamped or aggregate concrete and be done with it, I figure. Depending on how much paving you're putting down, some DIY websites suggest just levelling, putting down some sand, and then pavers on top. Because my "soil" in thge area was pretty crappy, full of builders rubble, clay, cracks etc, I figures I wanted something a little more solid than just sand, even though I was only doing a small (4 square meter) area for my BBQ.

So for my foundation I figured 1/2 cubic meter of crushed rock, compacted down, topped by 1/4 cubic meter of sand (about an inch) on top.

First, the crushed rock; I also put another sleeper in near the deck, and a couple of spare bits of wood on the sides to temporarily brace the crushed rock in place. Yes, the sleeper near the deck is slightly off, which annoys me no end - but I'm planning to make a little step down in merbau matching the deck later on anyway, which will cover that sleeper entirely.

Then spread a bit of sand on top. Check with your landscaping yard for appropriate sand to use, as there's a few different kinds.

So far, so good... next - the final part, laying the pavers.

[Recently we're also had someone in to lay turf in the backyard, and it was just finished - exciting! Finally, no more weeds taller than I am!]


Thursday, November 8, 2012

DIY: Paving Part 1, setting out the paving area.

Well, we're almost at that magical time of the year, with long hot days, warms nights, mosquitoes... and BBQs! Having built my deck at exactly the wrong time of the year (middle of summer is no weather to be mixing concrete and screwing down decking boards!) I decided this year to get a head start on the next part of the outdoor area - the BBQ area.

It would be great to have the BBQ actually undercover, on the decked area, but our decking isn't that big to start off with, and with the table and chairs there isn't enough room for the BBQ anyway.

The plan was to either build a mini deck to the side of the original deck, or have some other area just for the BBQ. I also consider just putting down some crushed rock or Lilydale toppings - both are quick, cheap and easy, and being crushed rocks with fine dust or (in the case of Lilydale toppings) crushed limestone, both pack down hard to being a concrete equivalent, at least for the minor task of holding up a BBQ.

But I didn't really wants exposed crushed rock being the BBQ base, since there would be a likelihood of the fine stones being brought into the house (mess = not good, especially with a little dog running around) so a base of pavers was the way to go!

Part 1 of DIY paving - setting out the area you want to pave. (Actually, part 1 should be choosing your pavers, since I mucked things up a little, more on this later!)

*Standard disclaimer* I'm not a professional paver - in fact, before building this house I actually hated doing anything in the garden! While I've done my own research into how you should do paving, read further at your own risk!


So this is the area to the side of our deck. There's only about 2.5 metres to the side fence, and quite a slope down. The rough area I've dug out is about 2 x 2.5m. Because of the slight slope down to the fence, I though I'd set up a mini retaining wall, which would help retain the pavers - had a few leftover sleepers that needed to be used anyway.

Dug out a couple of holes for the vertical post things, which are just offcuts of sleepers, about 400mm deep. Bolted the main sleeper to the posts, and set things up level. If you look at the bottom of the sleeper it's still a bit green from the timber preservative brushed onto it, leftover from the deck build. Probably not needed, but doesn't hurt to be there as well.

Mix up a small batch of concrete - wheelbarrow, concrete mix, water, and a shovel.

Spoonfeed your concrete around your posts and do not disturb for a day or so.

Then went back and roughly levelled the dirt out.

Now, remember I said something about choosing your pavers first? I thought I'd use matching 400x400 pavers that would match the 400x200 pavers I used as stepping stones along the side of the house, but the big ones didn't look so good. We ended up picking 495 x 495 pavers instead, and if you set out your area for a different size of paver, clearly things may not match up so good!

Next up, Part 2 - paver foundations.



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