Just over a week ago our side patio looked like this.....
Today it looks like this....
In the intervening days, the clean, top stones were relocated onto our shingle beach garden area. Then the remaining 2 tons of muddy pebbles have been laboriously shovelled into 2 builder's bulk bags. It has taken an unconscionable number of 'woman hours', split into short shifts with lengthy breaks for recuperation.
Clean pebbles are heavy.
Pebbles covered in thick, sticky, cloying, clayey mud are super heavy.
They stuck to our shovels. They stuck to our boots. They stuck to the insides of the buckets. We had to stop every few minutes to scrape mud off all of the above.
Eventually we managed to clear the area and then had the problem of two full bulk bags of sticky, muddy stones, and no easy way to get rid of them. We briefly considered hiring a builder's skip and barrowing them through the side passage, up a ramp and into the skip, necessitating handling the stones multiple times. Plus the cost of skip hire is quite expensive.
I contacted a waste disposal company to come and give us a quote to remove them, but the chap didn't come on Saturday as arranged.
We then hit on the idea of offering the 2 tones of muddy stones for free on a local Facebook group page. For several hours nothing happened, and we resigned ourselves to having to pay to deal with the problem. Then PP's phone started dinging with messages from people wanting them. She explained that they were muddy, that they were in two one ton bags in our back garden and would have to be moved in containers.... nobody was dissuaded.
So this morning, a chap from Bexhill turned up with a small trailer hitched to his car. He brought a shovel and wheelbarrow and in short order had loaded the contents of one of the bags into his trailer. He's coming back again tomorrow at the same time to collect the rest. Apparently they're doing up their front garden and two tons of muddy stones for free was a bargain.
We can't quite believe it. We've hit unexpected problems all the way through the project thus far, but the pebble disposal seemed insurmountable. To be saved by a hero with a wheelbarrow isn't quite how we thought it would pan out.
When the other ton of stones goes tomorrow, we will then be able to level the area as much as we can, then try to work out how much sand we will need to cover it to a depth minus the thickness of the rubber tiles. We also need to factor in a slight fall away from the house, so that rainwater runs away from the wall. Much of that will be trial and error. We will use marker pegs around the edges with string running across from one edge to the other, marking the top of the sand layer. Thankfully we don't have to deal with mixing cement to fix the tiles in place. They lock together using special pegs which are fitted into holes in the sides of each tile. If we make a mistake (which is almost certainly, definitely probable) we can simply pull them apart and start again.
We haven't tried cutting them yet, but the installation instructions are adamant that they can be cut with a stanley knife, or an electric jigsaw, so we're cautiously optimistic.
To be continued......