Sunday, October 25, 2009

The path to enlightenment #1

We've gone a bit potty with the hard landscaping lately. First it was the gravel, which smartened things up around here no end, and then it was laying the brick path down the middle of my working area, which for the last seven years has been reduced to a muddy channel each winter, driving us crazy and causing not a few spectacular somersaults/twisted ankles/soggy behinds/caustic and very bitter swearwords.

So to spare our children further expanding their vocabulary we decided to invest in a Proper Path. Fortified by Joe Swift's enthusiastic if high-speed advice on an edition of GW a bit earlier in the season I set to work.

Step 1: dig out channel for path about six inches below ground level (the only easy bit in the whole process, I now realise).

Step 2: bash in some little pegs and use a long spirit level between them to make sure they're all the same height - viz. with the tops about 2" above ground level. This is Much More Tricky than they make it look on telly and takes a Bloody Long Time.

Step 3: get a lot of builders' bags full of heavy stuff delivered. First into the wheelbarrow and off down the garden was M.O.T., which when I were a nipper used to be called hardcore, but I think that word has a different meaning nowadays. Anyway, this is what they use under roads apparently: it's made out of grey chippings of what looks like old bits of concrete and though it's very heavy it settles down very satisfyingly to form a pretty impenetrable pad at the base of your path.

Step 4: put down a 2" layer and then hire a whacker plate (which I'm sure has a more technical name) to rattle the teeth out of your head making sure it's all well compacted down.

This turned out to be unexpectedly entertaining as the moment I turned it on the whacker plate set off at a terrific speed across the garden. I hung on for dear life as it headed for the herbaceous border trying to keep up and steer it away from the fence - do you have any idea how heavy those things are? About two inches shy of the first quivering plant I finally located which switch was the choke and managed to slow the engine down to a more modest chug. By which point my other half was on the floor in tears of laughter and I was a shaking wreck.

So at this point, I retired traumatised for a cup of tea and a lie down before tackling the next bit. Of which, more later (with pictures, this time).


Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Wow! What a project! You stay safe there and please, show us some pictures!

Elephant's Eye said...

Me too, tears of laughter!!! Our gravel path just gets stomped around, and stays crunchy and uncivilised!

Micah said...

This is a great post.. Very informative... I can see that you put a lot of hard work on your every post that's why I think I'd come here more often. Keep it up! By the way, you can also drop by my blogs. They're about Vegetable Gardening and Composting. I'm sure you'd find my blogs helpful too.

Plant Mad Nige said...

Well, I've just spent five minutes, here, cackling away at the comic capers. Hilarious!

It reminds me of when a friend and I decided to hire a corkscrew post hole borer. Two men are supposed to hold the big handles while the augur turns and makes a perfect hole big enough for a telegraph pole. But when we started it, the augur stayed still and we whizzed round the top, clinging on for dear life.

As for the stump grinder - don't get me started!

Lovely post. Hope the path is a roaring success and dead level.

The Constant Gardener said...

thanks all.... I think I'm sticking to things requiring only hand tools in future...

The Constant Gardener said...

PS Nigel am still giggling to myself about the post hole borer... it's going to take a while to get that image out of my head :D

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