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My new house has a back garden that is covered in slate chips from fence to fence. I want to get them all out as quickly as possible. It's about 40 feet x 20 feet of chips and in central london. I think a couple of labourers with a van - but where will they take them and how much are they likely to charge. Also at the end is a raised bed about 20 feet x 20 feet and two feet high that I need levelling after the chips are taken out. All thoughts about this job and how big a job it is would be very welcome. I don't know where to start.


Advertise on gumtree. Free slate chips.  Collection only. Bring your own bucket.

beautiful fox. I had six fox cubs in my old garden this spring. Thank you for the suggestion. think they would need to bring their own lorry.

You're talking about removing up to 9 cubic yards of chips,depending on the depth.  That's a lot more than 2 men would get into a van!  It's a couple of large skips worth.  Also, do you know what's beneath the chippings as that could require work too.

When you refer to a 20 x 20 bed requiring leveling, do you mean you need the soil from that removing to reduce the level by 2 feet?  Again, that's a lot to remove - around 30 cubic yards of soil, which will be hellishly expensive. 

Last edited: 03 October 2016 08:32:28

Thank you. Yes. That is my worry. But it's a new development and was brought in - so just has to be taken out again. Also the only access is through the house. I am just looking for suggestions about the cheapest  option. I imagine ie was done cheaply and is pretty shallow. The soul could probably be levelled over the rest of garden (I hope!) sue


Soil not soul - my soul is already too scattered.

Are you sure there isn't a fabric membrane under the slate? If you rootle around in it a bit? They are just slate chippings directly onto soil?


if it's just a thin layer, I'd remove any membrane and just dig them into the ground as you go along. It's what I'm doing in part of my garden. 

Digging them into the ground sounds good. Maybe a combi of removing half and digging in half? I am not sure if there is a membrane. Haven't actually got the keys to take a look yet. 

You need some laborers for a day and a 'builders' skip!.. 

If you have 40*20ft*2 inches deep then that's a 5yrd skip. You can prob get a 6yrd skip for £150 wait and load or a little more if you need it for the day as you have to pay for a permit from the council.

Do you have a driveway for a skip to go?

Do you know any laborers? 

If it's just a thin layer direct onto soil then I'd agree, just dig it in.

If there's a membrane, you can get hold of a corner of the membrane and slowly pull it up, dragging the chippings as you go. You'll reach a point where it's too heavy to lift any more by when they'll be deep enough to shovel into something - bucket, wheelbarrow - and move them to a heap in a corner. Then cut off the membrane that's now clear and start planting whatever you had in mind in the clear section. Then pick up another bit of membrane and do the next section. If you do it over a long period of time, planting behind as you go, it'll help you to focus your planting on a smallish section at a time - which is no bad thing - knowing the bits you've not got round to yet won't be getting weedy and overgrown 

Use the cleared chippings either for dressing pots, or mulching, or where you want paths, leave the chippings there, possibly adding more if they aren't very deep. Or sell them on gumtree a few bags at a time.

You could form beds or lawns using the soil in the raised bed the same way, a few wheelbarrows at a time.

You will make it all much harder to deal with if you try to do it all at once. 

Think of your new garden-to-be (how exciting) as a process not a thing you have to do one weekend. If you have an overall plan, you can gradually bring it into being; you don't have to blitz it.


Unless you have the money for the labourers and want to do it before laying the hall carpet!

hogweed says:

Unless you have the money for the labourers and want to do it before laying the hall carpet!

See original post

Fair point . If money is no object, have a word with a local ground worker company and ask if they can send a couple of their boys to fill a couple of skips. The skip costs will vary depending where you live and if it has to be on the road (rather than in your front garden or on a private drive) it adds a premium, so expect the thick end of £500 (more if you're in the south east) by the time you've added in the labour cost.

ok. thank you very much. I think it's more important than the hall carpet or anything else. I will bite the bullet and get a skip and a ground worker company. No I don't have a drive. It's in hackney. I will look into skip hire. Thank you for everyone's help. So probably about 1000 should cover it - it is a huge pity that developers thought it was a good idea to ship tons of stone to pour all over a garden! 

I live in Leyton, east London!!..

PM me, as I used some ground workers for a bit of the work in my garden. They were 2 Albanian fellas who speak English and worked for £70 per day + fried chicken for lunch. 

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