Description of work
This particular client came to us to try and solve a problem that a lot of householders have in Bath: how to maximise the outdoor space in a relativity small area.
The main problems were the fact that the property was on a tight hairpin bend which gave a narrow circular curve in the corner of the garden. The existing hedge would have to be removed as it was too high and in parts was 1.5m wide resulting in a lot of lost space over the length of the perimeter. We could not replace the hedge with an alternative hedge as it would result in the same problems and would not secure the property.
To maximise outdoor space we decided to go with a fence as this would be a thin structure therefore maximising the space which was important to the project. The choice of fence was the next issue: I did not want to use a standard feather edge fence or panels as the first would look too hard for the area and the second would not be practical for getting around our curve as it would cut across too sharply and take space. So, I constructed a bespoke Venetian fence with 5mm gap between the slats. The timber was purchased from Charlton timber stores, this would give a soft appearance and would enable us to skilfully get the fence to fit around our curve while keeping symmetry and also not eating into the garden.
Once the fence was complete, we then started the work on the garden area. First the site had to be cleared of the old paving and soil. We had dug down 200mm below the damp course level. Because of the logistics of the site we used a grab to remove the waste; we use M J church for our grabs as they are fully insured, very professional and recycle the waste that is removed.
After the garden had been cleared, the problem we had to overcome was that the garden level was lower than the street level and, because of the removal of the hedge and old retaining walls, we were now left with unsightly and ugly stone work which needed to be hidden. We had to consider the tight corner and the client did not want stone work so we proposed a retaining wall using vertical railway sleepers set in a 400mm trench in concrete. The sleepers we used are oak sleepers purchased from Charlton timber; the oak sleepers apart from being a hardwood are much more rustic and charming as opposed to the softwood sleepers. Once the sleepers were secure, we back filled the area with uncontaminated top soil.
We then started constructing the hardstanding area: we lay our membrane to prevent the sub base mixing with the underlying layers and to stabilise the soil; we spread our 80mm thickness of MOT type1 which is then compressed to form the sub base; once complete we installed the sandstone cobble setts to form an edging frame; we lay our pave stone 22mm thick calibrated sandstone project packs on a mortar mix 50mm thick. When complete we pointed in the slabs again with a mortar mix.
All that was left to do was install the artificial grass. Although not everyone’s favourite, we did not want to cover the whole area with paving as the clients had a young child so we agreed the artificial grass a good option. The obvious advantages being that a lawnmower would not need to be bought and housed for a small section of grass which would also be usable all year round.
We transformed an unusable garden into one that is light and usable meeting the needs of a family with young children.
- Client: Newbridge, Bath
- Date: July 2018
- Categories: Design & build, Fencing, Landscaping, Paving