Firstly make sure your labourer thinks he will be digging them out by hand, with a spade and brute force LOL.
When it comes to taking out old hedge that have got out of hand. There are a few options, the first is with a spade and pure muscle and the sheer will, to see them gone. (The Hard Way) or second the (Easy Way) using a machine. In this case a small 1 ton mini digger and a small bucket with teeth to grip root system. You can also use a stump grinder to remove root systems.
Before you go and hire a machine or hire machine and driver, you will want to make the area safe for the use of the machine. We do this by placing works signs, that are clearly visible to public and passers by. This will help to steer the public around the danger area of the site, were the digger will be operating. This is not safe for people to be walking by, in any situation, and must be off limits to any one who is not involved in the project.
AFTER YOU HAVE REMOVED THE UPPER PART OF THE HEDGE THE BUSHY BITS, NOW ITS TIME TO GET THOSE ROOTS OUT
One you have removed upper part of hedge, using chainsaw. You are then ready to remove the roots and this is were a little machine really comes into its own. Now people will often say I would rather dig them out by hand, well if its one hedge and a very small one at that, that would normally be the case. But when its 8ft tall and 72ft long you will be there a week and you will be aching from head to toe and thats presuming you get them out.
Or you can do as we did and hire a mini digger for £80 delivered, and have the roots out in 1 hour. Ready to install new fence and also see the smile on the labourers face, when he releases its not going to be done by hand.
Thats how I like to take out hedge row. This way you will save time and money and your workers will really appreciate it to. Now it might cost you a little extra at the front end of the project, but it will certainly pay off by the end of the project. Your customer will also be very surprised at the speed in which you managed to remove them all from property.
As you can see compared to the first image in this post, the changes are pretty impressive, and the customer now has their garden back and no more leave's to sweep up. Oh and the new fence we put up looks grand too, not to mention my happy work force.
This Is How Patios Used To Be Laid – Dot & Dab Method
A few year back this is how you laid a patio, on a dot and dab base. Todays method is much stronger as I explained in my last post How To Lay LimeStone Patio. Now why is this method the wrong way…? The reason is the dot & dab method its self. Yes it will work, but it will not last know where near as long as full mortar bed patios last. The water in winter will seep between the joints and under the stone itself.
Now we all know that when water freezes it swells and when under the stone, swollen ice is not a good thing. The swollen ice will weaken the bond between the slabs themselves and the mortar and the stone will move over time. It will look good for a while, but why chance it, for a few extra pounds you can put a full mortar bed down. Apart from that one point he has done a grande job of the rest.
When it comes to patios and choice of materials, there is nothing that looks quite as good as natural stone. In this post I will guide you through the process of how to lay. Thickness of sub base, mix ratio and everything else that you need to know when laying natural stone, in this case Ebony Black Limestone.
Before we can start even thinking about laying natural stone, we need to prep the area. This will consist of removing the soil or old patio that is in the area we want to install the new patio. In this case, there was old concrete stone patio and part of soil to remove. The reason that we were asked to replace this patio, is that it had failed. The reason behind the failure was that it had been laid on the old dot and dab method, which is not the way to go for the strongest bonding. I will explain in more detail later in this post, when we get to lay the stone.
This Was The Old Patio & Turf We Had To Start With
Tip: Always order a larger skip than you expect, as you can almost always bet your bottom dollar, there will be more to be excavated than you first thought. This is if you are just starting in the business of laying stone. Others wait till they have excavated all the soil before ordering the skip; this way you will know the exact size you need.
Installing Sub Base
Make sure you are installing a sub base of at least 75mm or more, this all depends on what type of traffic the patio will endure. In this case the customer was only going to be using the patio for barbecues and those sunny days, with the family. Not heavy traffic and when combined with a sand and cement full bed of mortar, it will be more than adequate to stand unto the task. When you have spread the stone as evenly as possible, use a long spirit level to test the gradient and real levelness of the base. Then give it a good tamper down with a whacker plate. These can be hired from any good tool hire or builders merchants for around £40 per day you will only need it for one day.
Tip: Make sure the finish which will include the sub base, mortar & thickness of stone itself does not exceed 150 below DPC which is damp proof course, Lets say the there is 75mm of sub base, then 20mm mortar bed and 20mm stone. This means you will need a depth of 115mm below the DPC to make sure not to cause undue issues ink the future. Also make sure the water will run away from the property, if laying against the home like in this image.
Lay Out The Stone In The Pattern You Desire.
Do not just start laying willy nilly, without experience. I guarantee if you do, you will mess up in no time, unless you are really skilled in laying stone and have done it many, many times. I still do this to make sure I don’t end up with small slither cuts; it only takes about 30 mins and is well worth the extra time, to make a lovely looking patio.
Once you have your pattern and there are many patterns to choose from. Use Google and type patio patterns and you will see many images and styles, but also make sure you have the right size stone in you patio pack to make the pattern you choose. You might want to take a picture for future reference, just incase you forget were the different size pieces go. Once you have your pattern, stack the stone in small areas as and when you will need it, when you start laying. Both stages shown in images below.
Tip: See how I lay the stone from the wall to the edge and over the edge, making sure that I will not end up having to cut small slithers of stone, which is a waste and is also very tricky cut and not to break with stone saw.
Always get advice or training when using stone saws or Sthil Cutting Saws
Down To The Best Part Laying The Stone Itself
When you have your pattern and are ready to lay the stone, we need to think about the mortar bed we will use. I always use a full motor bed and a mix ratio of 2 sharp sand, 2 builders sand and 1 cement and this has never given me any problems or have I ever had to go back because it has failed. You can use different mix ratios, it all depends what yourself prefer. Now one more thing before we start to say the stone itself. If you have it or want to use it, which I always do, is use a SBR bonding or water proof PVA to the underside of the stone before laying. It takes seconds to apply and it will give you longer time to work with the stone, as natural stone is like a sponge and will dry your mix out in no time. It also prevents stains from coming through the lighter stones which can happen from time to time. Check image below.
Tip: Apply SBR or PVA waterproofer, which is used as mix ratio in renders and has lots of other applications. So it’s a good product to have around if you’re into doing your own work projects.
Once you have covered a few slabs of stone with SBR, now its time to lay. You will need a rounded trowel, small spirit level, rubber mallet, string line, old paint brush, sponge (old bathing sponge will do) and Stone cutting Saw.
When you start to lay your first stones, use a good bed of mortar, if you are looking for a bed of about 20mm make sure to add enough to reach this height and run your trowel through the mortar as in image below. This will give small hills in the mortar bed, so when you come to level the stone, the mortar will spread and you will not break the stone by hitting so hard trying to get required level. Use your level from each diagonal corner and check all is, as you want it to be, which is level. And Repeat this process, remembering the pattern you are trying to make and the size stone you will need to use to get there.
Tip: Use your sponge to clean away excess mortar as you go. This will make your job a lot easier when it comes to cleaning it all at the end. Instead of trying to remove dried mortar with acid
One you have all the stone laid you should have nice level stones slabs, with slight fall away from your property so that water does not run towards house, but runs away. Make sure when you need to cut the stone slabs you always do it in the safe and proper way using all PPE recommended for the use of stone cutting tools. And makes sure to measure twice and cut once. It’s always easier to go back and measure again before you cut, than it is to do it after and will safe on any mistakes. Then you should have something that resembles the image below.
Tip: Before you use jointing filler, which you can just sweep over and it fills the joint areas. If they are really thick stone slabs. Use a mix of sharp sand and cement one to one ratio to build up to about 10mm below the finish height. This will save you a lot of money, as the ready mix-jointing compound is not cheap at around £40 per bucket. But it does safe time and time is money.
Check this image of us doing just that using sharp sand and cement to fill half way and it works like a charm. The other reason we use all in one jointing is speed and the fact that it’s so much easier than the old sand and cement wet mix for jointing. You only need to brush it into the joint areas and let it set. When using all in one jointing compound make sure to wet the patio, the more water the better results and remove any left over compound from the stone or it will stain and stick. Leave over night and its sets like concrete.
Tip: To make your patio really stand out from the ground always treat with sealer in this instance, we had to use water based as it was limestone and acrylic based some times gives you the wrong results. In this patio the customer chose not to have the square steel manhole covering, which you can use to cover manholes and they can have to stone inlaid into the steel lids.
When choosing a material for your patio always choose one that you are comfortable with, if you are going to try to lay it yourself then make sure you do your research and don’t jump in head first. Read all the manufactures instructions on all the products you will be using, or it could end up a very costly mistake indeed. And if in doubt get the professional out and you will enjoy your patio for years to come.
Good Look If you will be tackling your patio yourself and choose wisely if you will be paying a company or tradesmen not all are what they seem. Advice read reviews, check out their website, do they have land line, sign written vans, logo on shirts all these are sign of tradesmen who are proud of what they do. If you choose a man in plain van with no insurance because he is couple hounded cheaper than there’s only one person to blame. So motto is doing your research and good luck.
In the next post we will be discussing how to lay natural stone. I will be showing you what type of sub base and sand and cement bonding ratios and how it should be laid to get the best results, strong, lasting and looking good for years to come.
We will be talking in depth, of how it should be done for the stone to last and stay intact and not move under foot, not like the old dot & dab method which was widely used years ago, but still, some people use it today, which is not the way we would advise, we will be explaining the reasons why in the next post stay tuned.
You can see how he keep using his spirit level to make sure the boards stay straight an true and not creeping, as I was saying in my earlier post. Also the way he tapers the post mix to keep water away from the bottom of the post. These are all little tips we can take and use when constructing our own fencing.
But he also puts his gravel board under the fence and before the boards go onto the rails. This is common the erecting feather edged fencing. And as i say people have different ways and maybe you will to and thats fine, just share them and keep the knowledge out there fresh and unto date.
There are many types of fencing, it just so happens i like these couple that i have posted first. Stay tuned for more instructions and instructional videos to come. Next time how to lay natural stone the correct way
Hi when we are looking for a new fence, there are so many designs to choose from, but when it comes to simplicity and strength, the 6ft fence, built with tantalized timber is hard to beat for strength and durability. I will show you how to install a 6ft close board fence.
To get started on building the fence we must first order the materials (Listed Below) after we have all the materials, we then need the tools for the job also (Listed Below). Once we have both of these we need to clear the area were the fence will go. Now when it comes to clearing the way for the new installation, we need to make sure the ground is ready for the new fence to be placed.
Tip: Cover the ground were you will be walking with old boards, this will stop you ruining the turf
Is there any old concrete or postfix left in the ground from the old fence…? If so, then this will need to be removed. If you can, remove this first before trying to dig new postholes. If not, then try to dig new post holes between were the old posts were situated.
Assuming you can do either of these then its time to start. We will be using 8ft 100mm x 100mm tantalized timber posts for this garden fence build. Firstly dig a hole at one end of were the fence will be installed and approximately 2ft into the ground, which is a quarter of the overall length of the post we are using. This is also perfect depth for a 6ft fence hight above ground. Then dig a second hole at the other end at the same depth as first post. This is assuming it’s not to far to span a string line of approx. 18 meters. If its a lot more than 18 meters in distance then place the second post hole half way between the first and were last post be situated.
Now place the post into the hole that you have excavated and using your spirit level, plumb the post on 2 sides, the opposite sides and fix into position using 3ft long bits of old timber to hold steady as we pour in the post mix and water. Once you have poured both water and post mix into the hole use old stick to mix together.
Tip: Just before the post mix goes off, taper up the post so that the water does not pool near the bottom of the post. This will help the timber post last twice as long.
Repeat the step above for the second post. Let the posts have 10 mins or so to set solid, then its time to set the string lines. I use 2 string lines one about 6 inches form the top of the post and about 12 inches from the bottom ground level. Make sure the string is touching the face or front of the posts.
As you can see in the image to your above. The string lines are in place. Its now time to dig the holes for the rest of the posts. Spacing between the posts for this size fence should be 1.8 meters and no more than 2 meters. When you are getting the post plumb you only need to touch the top of the post to the top string line and the bottom of the post to the bottom string line, this will keep the face or front of the posts plumb.
Tip: Dig the post holes about a third under the string line this will give you room to move the post into position against the string lines.
Now presuming you have dug all the postholes to a depth of 2ft and placed the string lines in the correct position. While also making sure the post holes are at 1.8 meter centers, which means center hole to the next post center hole, not the outside of the hole. If this is the case and you have completed those steps correctly then your posts should look like the image above.
Now all the posts have set its time to fix the fence rails. When fixing the rails keep the top rail around 6 inches from the top of the posts fixing with 75mm galvanized ring nails. Then the same for the bottom rail and measure the distance between the top and bottom rail. Now place your middle rail half way between the top and bottom rails and fix using 75mm nails. After you have fixed the rails you should have something thats starting to resemble a fence.
Stack the fence boards in piles of 6 every 3ft across the length of the fenceNow that you have your rails attached you can start to place around 6 boards at a time in piles along the span of the fence. Time to fix the boards. Firstly take one board to the end of the fence were the first post is and fix to the fence at about 5 inches from the top of the board to the top of the fence rail, making sure that you use your spirit level to plumb up the fencing board. Then take another board to the other end of the fence or center depending on the length of the fence span itself and this time fix using screws at the same height 5 inches from top of board to top of rail, as this will have to be moved along when the fencing boards reach this point. Now that you have your 2 guide boards in place its time to put our string line on the top of the first and second boards you have just fixed to the fence rails. Tap a small nail into the top of the first and second boards and loop the string line over the top of one nail and pull the string line tight to the nail on the second board making sure it is taught not slack.
Time to fix the fence boards to the rails, using the string line as a guide to keep the boards nice and level across the span of the fence itself. After you have fixed several boards to the rails make sure you test for plumb every 6 boards or so with your spirit level. This will ensure the boards don’t creep, which means go off plumb. If they do start to creep then tilt the boards ever so slightly in the direction that will make the board true again, repeat till plumb and then carry on as before fixing the boards as you go, until the entire fence is covered.
Tip: Every now and then pluck the string line to make sure it’s not catching on splinters, which can make the boards go up slightly and give you uneven finish.
Tip: To fix the boards to the fence you can hire a nail gun for around £40 from any good tool hire company. This will speed up the process and there will be no bent nails for you to deal with.
Contact your local tool hire our builders merchant for more info on this or drop me quick message and I will advise you on were to go and what type would suite for your project.
Now that we have covered the whole fence with boards and they are all nice and straight, its time to ad the finishing touches, capping and gravel boards. Firstly fix the capping to the top of the fence by pulling any boards that are a bit bent in so that they fit into the groove on the bottom of capping and fix with fence board nails about every 2ft or so. The capping ads a finishing touch while also stopping the wood from distorting out of place in the changing climate, keeping the fence looking good all year round. If you try to do this at a later stage you will find its a real struggle to get all the boards into the groove when they are bent out of shape, so do this soon as possible after you have attached the boards.
Now fixing the gravel boards. Different fencing companies have different ways to fix and place there gravel boards and this is what they are meant to be for. They are used as a sacrificial part of the fence when the fence will be close to touching or touching the earth or gravel as the name suggests, they can be changed to new ones as they rot and not effect the fence boards themselves. I prefer to place my gravel boards on the face of the fence this keeps all the fencing boards from bending in the changing weather. You can placed your gravel boards underneath the fencing board and sit the boards on top of it. You will how ever see the boards flex and bend over time unless you have the boards real close to the bottom rail. But as I said there are many ways to fix gravel boards, but this is the way I like to do mine and it works really well and I’ve never had any complaints. You can see example in the images of the finished fence.
Tools Needed: Hammer or Nail Gun, Wood Saw, Spit Spade, Spirit Level, Bucket, String Lines
Materials Needed: 19mm or 15mm 6ft Fencing Boards, 8ft 100mm x 100mm Fence Posts, 37mm x 75mm Fencing Rails, Post Fix, Capping, Gravel Boards or Fence Boards, Nails or Nail Gun Nails 55mm and 75mm Galvanised Ring Nails
Treatment or Painting Fence: You can find lots of different colours of fence paint or treatments to take care of your new fence. Go to your local DIY shop or builders merchants and you will find lots to choose from and lots of free advice
If you have any questions that you would like me to answer..? Then please comment and I will help you as much as possible.
Building a new fence is not as hard as it seems and you can build it yourself at half the cost of getting it installed by a professional, so if you are feeling adventures then why not give it a go there is lots of videos and how to help out there on the internet.
Author: C Langstaff
One Property Maintenance
PS: If you have a project you will be undertaking and would like to ask me a question then please fell free to comment or if you would like me to write a article on a new patio or decking, what ever you would like to see that I complete in my day to day business then also comment and I will post as soon as i complete a project like this