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Paving, decking, or gravel/stones to sort out ugly cracked concrete in garden?

(19 Posts)
RamblingRosa Tue 03-May-11 11:52:59

We've got some ugly old cracked concrete - very uneven with bits where there's soil and weeds poking through - in our garden. About 5x1 metres on the bit that goes round the side of the house and then a sort of raised hexagonal bit IYSWIM.

What would you do with it? I like the look of decking but I've been told it's a pain to maintain (lots of treatments/varnish). I also like (nice) paving stones but I'm guessing that's a lot more expensive as we'd have to get someone in to do it for us.

I was wondering about putting gravel down but worry that the local cats will use it as a litter tray!

Any advice please!

ellangirl Thu 05-May-11 16:06:40

Hi, not much i'm afraid but i have this problem too. I don't think you can put gravel straight on a hard surface, that's what I've read anyway. For paving slabs, I think you;d have to dig up the concrete first and re-level. At least decking could go straight over the top?

RamblingRosa Thu 05-May-11 19:36:55

Oh god. I hadn't realised that you needed to dig up the concrete for paving slabs. Sounds like decking might be the way forward then. Thanks

ellangirl Thu 05-May-11 19:41:09

Well, if you didn't the slabs would shift and become uneven before long. This is why we've deliberated about what to do to ours for so long! The problem with ours is the concrete surrounds the house, so we can't just do something with the bit at the back, without sorting the rest! It wouldn't be the end of the world to have to break the concrete, it depends on how thick it is (and how much labour you can do yourself!). Paving slabs are do-able DIY too, if you are patient about levelling them correctly.

RamblingRosa Thu 05-May-11 19:59:03

I'm not patient. Or good at hard labour!

ellangirl Thu 05-May-11 20:37:12

ha ha! decking it is then!

IngridBergman Thu 05-May-11 20:44:05

You could do gravel, cats don't go for it much IME but you'd need good boundaries to keep it in the right place so if your raised bit doesn't have sides, you might find it all falls off grin

I'd pave over it. I don't see why you'd have to take it up. You could level it out using cement and just go over it with lovely paving slabs.

If I can tile a kitchen floor, you can lay paving! It's not that hard.

IngridBergman Thu 05-May-11 20:45:57

Sorry Ellangirl, no disrespect and to be fair I've not laid outdoor paving. But depending on how solid the concrete is currently, if it was levelled out properly is there any reason why it would shift? I mean if it's unstable, obviously get rid but if it isn't going anywhere then I'd imagine it'll be a decent base to lay over.

ellangirl Thu 05-May-11 23:38:47

It's just the OP said it was very cracked with weeds growing through and very uneven. It doesn't suggest that it is stable. I can't say for sure obviously! The only way to be sure is to get a professional to look at it. Picturing my concrete area, I know that it would not be a stable surface to pave on top of, and that is all I've really go to go on. No disrespect felt I assure you!

IngridBergman Fri 06-May-11 06:58:48

Oh thankyou for understanding...what you say makes sense. Having just filled two skips with solid chunks of concrete from DP's garden I am a little battle sore grin and it was me that told him to dig it all up, so I had to help when we realised it was going to take a month!!

He now has lovely turned earth and is going to turf it, so it was all worthwhile, but just thought if OP's concrete is fairly solid, however manky it looks, she might get away with screeding it over and just leaving it there grin

You are probably right though. Poor OP!

Pootles2010 Fri 06-May-11 09:06:33

Erm Ingrid - Is the earth thats down what's been under concrete? If so you may want to add some top soil - Just been reading about all this type of stuff, apparently soil under concrete for a long time becomes 'dead' soil that nothing will grow in, you have to get rid of it and replace with topsoil...

RamblingRosa Fri 06-May-11 09:10:44

I had no idea just how little I knew about these things until now grin I wouldn't even know how to tell if it's "stable" concrete or not. Most of it's in tact and looks pretty stable to me. Then there's a bit where it sort of peters out and there's a bit of soil and weeds then some more concrete....attractive, no?

Digging up concrete, putting down new concrete, and laying paving slabs all sounds well beyond my abilities! Maybe not abilities but beyond my boredom/hard labour threshold grin

Pootles2010 Fri 06-May-11 12:28:16

I think probably decking is best Rambling - one poster i think it was in 'I love my garden' or somesuch posted a link to her dh's blog, where he detailed two weeks solid of back-breaking work, digging up concrete and shovelling earth - the skip hire alone came to about 1.5 k. I'd just stick some decking down if I were you!

You can get two types IIRC - soft wood which is cheaper, but lasts about 5 years, and hard wood which is expensive but lasts longer. I think you have to do a yearly sand/varnish as well.

IngridBergman Fri 06-May-11 13:36:42

Thanks, Pootles...some of it does look 'dead' like old dried mince! But most of it is alive and nice and rich looking, he has churned it all up with the deeper soil, I think it'll be Ok. I will pass on what you said though. that way if it all dies, he can't blame me.

Ivegotmrbitey Fri 06-May-11 13:48:19

Hello, we covered ours with decking and gravel (there was an awful lot of concrete). The decking isn't that high maintenance, we have just jet washed and re-oiled ours now for the first time in three or four years. It hadn't gone slimy just a bit faded looking. It looks as good as new since re-oiling it. I assume ours is soft wood as it smells like pine.

Our gravel is quite big and the neighbourhood cats won't go near it, I think they prefer litter tray sized stones and these larger ones are uncomfortable to walk on. We have had to put some stepping stones in for our cat to access the cat flap. I have spotted our cat sharpening his claws on the decking though!

This was the most cost effective solution for us and there was so much concrete and it was very uneven there was no way we could have paved it. Agree that you will need edges if you put gravel down or it will wander.

Pootles2010 Fri 06-May-11 13:52:41

I'm sure it will be fine Ingrid just would be awful if you paid for all that turf and it died!

IngridBergman Fri 06-May-11 14:26:17

Ah, well I didn't pay, he did, and I'm fed up with him anyway atm so he can choose to take our advice or not [wicked grin] wink

lasvegas0001 Fri 14-Sep-12 09:15:22

First one is a floplast from looks of it and 2nd john guest speedfit one, The speedfit one will be easier to use if its a diy job. If you can get hold of a plasson or talbot one they do copper adaptors to 15mm as do - plasson similar to the floplast one and talbot is a pushfit.

oksonowwhat Sat 15-Sep-12 20:13:25

Ive got this problem too. Although luckily for me i haven't got too much concrete. i've got two lines of it with grass inbetween which was obviously a kind of driveway of sorts and then another bit just off the decking which looks ugly but stops people treading mud in in the winter.

I'm going to hire one of those things...Kango, is that how you spell it!? that breaks up concrete and a friend is going to break it up for me and take it awaysmile Then i just have to worry about if i will turf the patches or put some slabs down....

Good luck with yours

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