How to carry out the Groundwork stage of Garden Construction (for patios, paths and drives etc.)

Garden Construction groundwork 1.The groundwork stage of Garden Construction will be relevant to front yard gardens and back yard gardens:

To landscape your garden for such things as paving it is very important to decide early on how the waste is going to be disposed of. Sometimes this will be via a skip on the road (in which case a road licence will be needed from the local authority) or a skip on the drive, or occasionally via a grab lorry service which will require an area of garden (or driveway in the front) to be boarded-out for protection.

The next thing to do is to scale off your working drawing and transfer your layout onto the area to be landscaped. This may involve breaking out and removing any existing concrete/paving first.

It is Important to decide early on if any materials can be re-used, I.e. topsoil (for lawns or beds) or hardcore (for sub-bases).

As you demolish the old work, a certain amount of sorting can be done if schedule and room allows. A tarpaulin is a good idea to store such materials on – so that the mess and creep is confined, however it is important not to put them in the way as you do not want to move them again – a little forward thinking goes a long way at this stage!

The skip can be used in the same way: e.g. stack all the good soil at one end and usable sized hardcore at the other end… Often the skip is a great storage place for these materials, making them readily available when the time comes.

Then use fencing pins and set up an orange brick line to accurately mark out the area – the stretched line can be used as both level and edge so accuracy is important.

You will need to bear in mind surface drainage at this point (very important for garden construction). A good drain will be required on your drive or patio, either onto the garden or into a drain/channeling. – so this will show in at least 2 of your lines. Use a good long level to determine a healthy fall along the lines.

Next, cut some spacers from timber battens to the depth required of the dig-out. Depending on ground conditions, a block drive for example, would need a 150 mm to 200 mm compacted sub-base of hardcore or roadstone, 50 mm of sharp sand plus the 50 or 60 mm block thickness, making a total of 250 to 300 mm for your spacer. A patio would not need this much groundwork, it`s rather up to the individual to assess the ground conditions first and then to make the appropriate decision.

Using a mattockshovels, or mini digger: chop out the waste ground/rubble/turf, load into barrows and cart to the skip or dumping area checking all the time the depth!

Work methodically (again), leveling a small area at first then proceeding, clearing up as you work and keeping mess to a minimum.
Garden Construction Groundwork 2.
Man-holes are nearly always something to be addressed on patios and are nearly always encountered in garden construction. If breaking up concrete around a manhole make sure you always lift the lid up first – this is so you can keep an eye on debris falling into the sewer and remove it before it gets washed down and  inevitably blocks the drain.

A youngman board can be hired to run barrows safely up into the skip (this is a sturdy length of scaffold plank).

Being particular and fussy at the groundwork stage of garden construction may seem unnecessary but this will reflect through to the finished article.

(c) Copyright 2013, Mark Cook, All Rights Reserved. Written For: is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to and

4 thoughts on “How to carry out the Groundwork stage of Garden Construction (for patios, paths and drives etc.)

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