Latest posts by JAMES 2

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sanity in need of restoring

Posted: 08/05/2013 at 08:33

Nice work Bill, thanks for sharing. Well done. 

Here's where we're up to with our rear garden after saying goodbye to all the rubble.

March 2012, Shortly after we moved in (This was before we even knew what lay beneath the soil!) :

All the best, 


7th May 2013 After giving the new turf its' first mow :


sanity in need of restoring

Posted: 21/04/2013 at 10:28

Great idea tidying up and recycling those bits and pieces you found in your garden chicky. Looks lovely! I wish we could have found anything that interesting in ours!

Unfortunately, in our case, as in Bill's, we didn't find a single thing that could have been recycled unless of course we were thinking of extending the house over the whole lot so it could have been used for some form of sub base. Tragic that so many people don't value their outdoor spaces enough.

I will indeed keep you updated on our progress, Thanks for your interest!

sanity in need of restoring

Posted: 21/04/2013 at 08:36

Thank you...!

sanity in need of restoring

Posted: 20/04/2013 at 19:03

Very interesting reading some of the other horrific "buried garden rubbish" stories here.Fairygirl has a good point re before and after photos to keep your spirits up and give you the strength to carry on, so you can see how much you've achieved.

It is worth all the pain and anguish and you will be rewarded 100 fold for your work.

Here are a few of our before and after photos to give you a confidence boost Bill! Like I said earlier, I became really depressed with our garden, we had both reached the end our tether and literally wanted to kill the people responsible for being so irresponsible and causing us so much trouble -I still do at times..! ; ) Jokes aside though, you will do it and be able to enjoy your lovely garden in the end.

Good luck to anyone who has experienced what some of us here have and remember -take it one step at a time!!!

 BEFORE (August 2012)


 AFTER (March 2013) Ready for turf and new flower beds!

 We also got rid of the over-bearing Palm Tree...!!!







sanity in need of restoring

Posted: 16/04/2013 at 22:16

Hi Bill,

Hopefully you've probably got it all sorted by now, but when I saw your message I have so much sympathy for you, as we too had the EXACT same problem with the house we moved into in Feb 2012!

Only a 50 foot X 20 foot rear garden, but when my wife merrily went out to plant a few sweet peas one sunny day and couldn't stick her fork more than 2 inches below the soil, we knew something wasn't quite right.

I soon dicovered that this was the case throughout the entire garden. Every square inch of soil was laced with all manner of builders rubbish up to a depth of 2 feet; broken soil pipes, broken cement slabs, iron hinges and nails, plastic guttering, met posts, bed springs, crushed metal dustbins(?!), bricks, you name it, it was in there.

I literally felt myself cracking up, having to spend our whole Summer breaking our backs digging out tonnes of rubble when we should have been sitting around enjoying our garden with a nice G&T in between watching the Olympics!

We had to hire a skip and take it all through the house in a wheel barrow there was so much of it and we've only now finished preparing the soil ready for some lovely new turf at last.

So you're not alone, it does seem to be a disturbingly common and tragic problem. Builders need to be watched like hawks so they don't do this to people.

Funny how the garden is never given a thought in a builders survey, yet a nicely done, pretty garden can practically sell a house...

Best way to remove a mature 12 foot Palm Tree?

Posted: 16/04/2013 at 20:51

Apologies for the extremely late response Joyce, thank you for your reply.

As we were impatient to get going with planning out our garden (preparation of soil for turf, beds etc) we obtained a quote from a tree surgeon for removing the whole lot and grinding out the stumps, which was money very well spent and saved my back in the process!

Word of advice : Palms and Yukkas are absolute hell to try and dig out -even the tree company's stump grinder wore out a set of teeth removing just two stumps and nearly fouled their chaisaw with palm tree hair too, so be sure you know what you're letting yourself in for before planting one...!

Best way to remove a mature 12 foot Palm Tree?

Posted: 13/03/2013 at 07:11

We have a large dominearing Palm Tree in our back garden that was there when we moved in. It stands approx 12-14 feet high.

Although it had a certain charm, we are now getting a bit fed up with it, as our garden is quite small, the birds don't like perching in it for some reason etc. so we've now decided we want it out, but having already had a hard time trying to remove 2 stubborn and ugly Yukkas, (had to resort to hiring a tree surgeon with a stump grinder in the end!), I fear this tree will be worse as I've heard the root systems are particularly difficult to dig around.

I'm quite compitent with a chainsaw, but it's the complete removal of the root system that I'm unsure of, as we also have a brick path running 2 feet from it that we don't want to disturb!

Has anyone had good, reliable experience with removing these beasts?




Best bricks and materials for laying Brick Garden Paths : Advice needed please!

Posted: 28/01/2013 at 16:07

Yes, I'm not convinced of the five spots of mortar method either.

I think the moist/wet mortar way sounds like it'll make a better foundation and provide more stability for brick pavers.

Thanks Paul!

Best bricks and materials for laying Brick Garden Paths : Advice needed please!

Posted: 27/01/2013 at 21:29

Many thanks for your help, that's very helpful.

Joe's video shows him only laying the bordering pavers in wet mortar, with the bricks in the middle laid dry, so I'm still a little unsure of the best way, however it sounds like you have a pretty good method there Paul.

I'm in the process of looking for a good reclaimed clay brickyard, so I can get the right types/colour etc.

Does anyone know, Is Ballast as good as Scalpings for the base layer, before the sand is added?

Thanks again -and for the link Busy-Lizzie!


Best bricks and materials for laying Brick Garden Paths : Advice needed please!

Posted: 26/01/2013 at 17:43


We have a small garden at the rear and a small garden at the front of our house.

I've been thinking of laying a winding path in the rear garden (about 5 bricks in width) and about 36 feet long from the back of the house to the shed at the end of the garden. I want to lay the bricks in lines running lengthways up the path. This path will not be taking much weight.

For the path at the front however, I would like to make a herringbone style pattern (about 4 feet wide and 20 feet long) and this path will be load bearing as it leads from the front door to the street, so needs a firm foundation for deliveries etc.

I have watched the two videos with Monty Don and Joe on the best methods of laying the foundations for slab and brick paths, but I am still unsure of the right materials for laying loose bricks on paths for different uses/weights.

Do I need what Monty Don calls "Scalpings" before laying the sand on top, or is Ballast purchased from a builders merchants just as good?

Also, should the bricks be laid "wet" on top of the layers of Scalpings/Ballast and the sand with a cement mix, so being set in place, or will the bricks be fine simply laid "dry" on top of the top layer of sand, with just sharp sand sprinkled on top, filling the gaps to pack them tight, even if they are load bearing?

Will this method be solid enough?

I have also been wondering on the best type of clay bricks, as I like the old fashioned clay type multi-stock bricks to look at, but are these suitable for taking much weight under foot, and is there a particular type that is more liable to cracking, especially in snowy/frosty conditions?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!



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Discussions started by JAMES 2

Best way to remove a mature 12 foot Palm Tree?

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Last Post: 16/04/2013 at 20:51

Best bricks and materials for laying Brick Garden Paths : Advice needed please!

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