Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mediterranean garden washed out before it's started

In late March we dug the footings for three walls which will form the new Mediterranean garden and lawn. It then started raining and it rained for the rest of the summer. It was wetter than an otter's pocket.

This led to two problems;
  • First, the sides of the footings collapsed as the ground became totally waterlogged.
  • And second, the builders merchants couldn't get the delivery vehicle anywhere near to where I needed the materials so I put it off, again and again, while I waited for the rain to stop.
Now, in October, the weather has finally perked up and the ground is just about dry enough to start building.

I have three walls to build:
  • One is a retaining wall, 72 feet (22m) long and ranging in height from ground level to five feet (1.5m).
  • Another, 44 feet  (13.5m) is technically a retaining wall but the ground behind it is very stable.
  • The third is only partially a retaining wall, the ground on one side being higher than the other by up to 18 inches (45cm). But it stands up to five feet tall on one side, three-and-a-half feet on the other and it's 64 feet (19.5m) long.
The walls will be built of 4x9x18 inch concrete blocks but one which is a real retaining wall has a serious job to do so needs to be around a third the width at the base as the height. It will also be faced in natural pennant sandstone built in dry stone wall fashion.

So it needs a serious concrete footing to stand on and that took a lot of concrete, all mixed in my barrow mixer and poured into the footings by hand. Hard work but more fun than two hours with Gwyneth Paltrow. 

Okay, probably not.