I won this contract from working previously with this client a number of years ago. The previous landscaping contract entailed the construction of a hardwood deck, railings and recessed deck lights.
This contract was for the driveway and back garden.
The property was situated in Aranleigh, Rathfarnham, Co Dublin.
On first site visit, I sat down with the client and drew up the following wishlist:
- The driveway was too narrow, extend the width by 0.8M, making sure to save Cotinus plant
- Extend width, and height and re-surface existing front steps creating enough room to house existing planters each side, framing door
- Replace the existing concrete driveway with mixed-sized silver granite slabs
- Reduce grass-cutting by creating a bed on the left side of the driveway
- Solve flooding problem with the installation of ACO drains in front of garage door
- Create definition by surrounding driveway with 200x100x50mm tumbled silver granite cobbles
- Repair side access by removing existing red brick edge (Loose in places) with granite paving bordered with 200x100x100mm cobbles, must look well from neighbours side, disguise existing Man-holes
- Create space entering back garden with the removal of half existing pillar
- Replace rotten gate with a new one
- Remove the existing limestone patio with granite, creating more space at the back of the shed for wheelie bins
- Clad existing wall with timber to a height of 2m hiding neighbours oil tank and creating room effect
- Include pipe with drawstring from house to right side of the driveway
The first job was increasing the width of the driveway. We removed the pillar, took out a section of the wall and replaced the pillar. So many driveways nowadays are constructed with pillars too close/entrances too narrow. To be comfortable there should be the standard width of no less than 3.6M. The existing driveway was made of concrete, lawn and beds. The driveway was the standard 100mm in thickness and came out without much difficulty. We located a skip directly outside and used a mini digger to remove the broken concrete. A hydraulic kango was used for this job. A 4” pipe was installed from left corner to left of front door with draw string for possible installation of uplighters within beds .We then spread reclaimed quarry screened dust to get our levels. The re-cycled dust was then watered and well-compacted with a vibrating plate. 4 core 2.5 SWA armoured cable was then laid adjacent to fuse box within the house for future automated gate, outdoor socket.
It was at this stage we installed the ACO drain in front of the garage door and connected to nearest outlet. The ACO drain was extremely important, as the driveway was sloping towards the house. Previously the garage had been flooded many times due to water runoff flowing down the old driveway. The inclusion of the ACO drain would remove this problem. One of the main problems with this brief was the mixed sized paving pattern for the driveway. I tried to talk the client into same size, as there are only three sizes available, but with no effect. To achieve a successful mixed effect we needed a 300mm slab. This would allow us to break up the grouting runs. The client’s heart was set on a mixed sixed pattern. 30mm brush-hammered silver granite slabs come sizes of 900x600mm, 600x600mm and 600x300mm the 300x300mm we created ourselves.
The slabs were put in randomly. Keeping the grouting gaps the same was impossible at this stage so we would use a con-saw to achieve the correct gaps once the silver granite had been laid. The slabs were laid on a strong 3:1 mix. It needed to be strong as the weight of a car would find any weaknesses resulting in cracked slabs. Once the slabs were all laid we cut our curves and grout gaps between each individual slab. The whole area was then surrounded using 200x100x50mm tumbled silver granite cobbles, this gave the area great definition. The grouting was then completed using a strong 3:1 sludge, which was then sprayed off, leaving concrete in the 5mm gaps. A planting bed was created to the left side for Buxus hedge. The steps then went in with 175mm risers and 450mm threads leaving plenty of space for the existing planters. To reduce cost and de-construction we changed from 30mm slabs to 20mm slabs for the side passage. This allowed us to lay directly on the existing concrete path with the 200x100x50mm cobbles bordering the whole run and in line with cobbles on the driveway.
Moving to the back garden, the existing gate was removed, as it was rotten and beyond it’s years. The existing limestone patio was also removed as the client wanted continuous silver granite connection between the front and back. Half the existing gate pillar was removed to create more room for new gate. We returned to 30mm slabs for the back area as 20mm slabs don’t supply 900x600mm slabs and we wanted to proceed with the mixed sized style like in the front. Extra paving was installed behind the shed, creating wheelie bin area and further storage area.
The existing wall in the back garden was very low. It provided no privacy. You could see into the neighbouring properties, so the eye was not held in the space. The wall was also unsightly as it wasn’t plastered or painted.
We clad the existing using 150x25mm planed pressure-treated Scandinavian Spruce boards laid vertically. The 150x25mm boards were connected to 50x50mm horizontal joists which were connected to the wall horizontally. The wall was finished to a height of 2m and capped with 50x25mm latts, which overhang and gave a great finish. We then painted the entire fence with Bondex teak stain. The stain looked fabulous as it brought out all the grain filigree within the timber.
The client was very happy with the work and kindly posted the following review on Google reviews:
“Kevin has just installed a new driveway and patio area for me. He was flexible and had solutions to problems that arose during the job – his usual response being “We will do whatever you want”. Highly recommended”
Thanks Oliver for the fantastic review and trusting us with your garden a second time. Much obliged, Kevin Baumann