Monday, 18 May 2009

Gravelling for fun

In a moment of madness a few weeks ago, I thought about having a gravel patio at the bottom of the garden. Andrew and DIY don't really mix. I can do most things, but don't enjoy the struggle and realise there's always a tool I need I haven't got. Those around me don't enjoy the fragrant language and resulting chaos. But feint hear never won a coconut at the fair, so during the last Bank Holiday I set to.

Where this feat of civil engineering was planned had been a patio of sorts. About 3 years ago I was trying to be environmentally friendly, so built a seating area using wood chips and while for 2 days after putting this down it looked fine, for the next 3 years it became a breeding ground for slugs, snails and anything wet and slimy. And sitting there for any length of time became an acrobatic performance as the chairs sank into the developing compost. Hopeless.

So the whole area was dug out to 4 inches, compost put on the flowerbeds and a treated wood box with membrane was created to befriend some gravel. Slight problem there as I hadn't bought the gravel yet. I wanted red chippings to remind me of Biddlestone in Northumberland, but everyone down here just sold cream or grey stuff.

So once the membrane was down I couldn't go any further, thoughts did pass my mind just to leave it like this, but maybe not.

This was Bank Holiday Sunday.

Bank Holiday Monday saw me at the North Somerset Agricultural Show, far too many llamas there this year for my liking, they kept pinching the best views with their long necks. However almost the first stand I saw was Nailsea Patio Supplies, lo and behold they did tonne bags of red quartz, not quite Biddlestone red but close enough. And a 10% discount if bought at the Show. Go on admit it, you've all been to a show and bought a tonne of gravel in a dumpy bag. Getting it home on the back of my bike was entertaining....

...... no I'm joshing, I had it delivered. And duly it arrived on Monday last week plonked on the drive. For various reasons I couldn't move this until Thursday but on that morning at 7am, you would have found Andrew on his drive, shovel moving like a flashing blade, wheeling gravel round the back at a speed Jenson Button would be surprised at, and so by 8am, that tonne of gravel had been moved, and not even a bacon sarnie had been consumed. But disaster. I was about 6 small bags of gravel short. I thought a tonne would be plenty, it was only 4 inches deep after all, so a career in quantity surveying is maybe not for me.

Saturday morning therefore took me back to Nailsea Patio supplies, 6 bags of Red Quarts and the job was done by lunchtime. I can't believe there is a tonne and a 6th of gravel there, where does it all go? But it allowed for this arty shot of the finished product in the evening as I supped a flagon of tea.

I like it but blimey...... £83 for the tonne of gravel plus £17.94 for 6 additional bags, £5 for a lump hammer, £18.00 for treated timber, £4.20 for membrane and £29,00 for a wheelbarrow. Everything else was priceless... there must be more to life than DIY!!

And if I see a slug, there'll be trouble, trouble I tell you


  1. Well I'm very impressed Andrew! That really looks lovely and now you can sit down there and feel very self satisfied knowing it's all your own work! My husband barely knows a hammer from a screwdriver, the term DIY doesn't exist here!! ;-(

  2. It looks wonderful, you did a great job, and it will last forever. Well done. Im sure it was still cheaper than paying someone else to do it.

  3. Looks bloody marvelous Andrew! All you need is that bar-be-que summer they keep on about.

  4. Gravelling ...and fun in the same sentence...I don't think so! It looks great though, hope you enjoy many happy hours sitting there.

  5. You left me breathless just reading about all that physical labour. It takes me all day to move a tonne of gravel from front to back garden. Job done - as they say. Know what you mean about quantities. I think my front garden took somewhere around 12 tonnes, over several years!
    Much easier to look after, a few weed seeds do land and grow but are so easy to pull up.

  6. Hi Andrew,

    Great work, now I know why my dad hates DIY so much!

  7. Hi Shysongbird, your husband sounds like a sensible man :-)

    Thanks Dixie

    That'll be the rain sodden usual UK summer then Warren!!

    Thanks goosey, I like to sit and stare....and in the summer the bats entertain of an evening.

    12 tonnes Midmarsh John, that's impressive, either you have a large garden, or there's not much view out the windowbox with the mound in the way

    Thanks Joe, sensible man your father

  8. ahahaha, you always make me laugh. A fine job of it you've made. Looks wonderful.