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How do I lift a patio slab (or two) so that I can plant honeysuckle? I don't think it'll survive in a pot for long?

(7 Posts)
CherryPlum Mon 02-May-16 21:22:22

When we had the patio laid around 7yrs ago I made the mistake of having the patio laid across the width of the house, and I now wish I had left a border on one or both sides of the patio so that I could plant to 'soften' the look and also plants to create a bit of a screen from neighbours (we have a fence but we are slightly elevated so I can see over the fence).

I'd really like to lift a few patio slabs but they are laid on cement (I think?!). I managed to prise up one corner slab but there's a layer of cement around a couple of inches thick. Is it going to be impossible (or costly) for me to lift a couple of slabs? Would I need someone to drill through the cement to break it up? Can I smash it or would I risk breaking the other slabs? DP is annoyed that I want to lift up bits of perfectly good patio but it makes sense to me.

One thing I'd like to do is to plant some honeysuckle and grow it up a trellis on the back of the house but I don't know if honeysuckle will do well in a pot, it would be longer-lasting in the ground.

GreenMarkerPen Mon 02-May-16 21:27:48

honeysuckle does well in a (large) pot.
also roses, I have some roses in 20l pots, so maybe a climbing rose would be good?

shovetheholly Tue 03-May-16 08:41:01

You can smash through cement with a mattock, but you will need to be careful about the surrounding slabs - drilling through to crack it first may help. This is easy - you don't really need any accuracy at all, and you can do it yourself! Obviously, you need to lift the whole slab - you can't divide it neatly or easily! You might want to add some simply edging to the 'gap' to make it look finished.

You will need to dig the soil underneath (and get rid of any substrate e.g. crusher run), and add loads of organic matter - it will be really horrible and compacted, but nothing that a bag of compost can't sort out!

fiorentina Tue 03-May-16 22:24:58

Climbers are usually fine in large pots if you feed them? I have honeysuckle and passionflower in pots doing fine.

shovetheholly Wed 04-May-16 06:55:51

It depends a bit on how large you want them to be, though, right? The climbers I have in pots are generally kept quite small and delicate. If I wanted a big, wild, rambly thing I would put it in the ground! Otherwise as it got bigger, it would start to need more water and nutrients than I could easily provide. So I guess the question is: How much space do you want to fill, OP?

Ifailed Wed 04-May-16 08:43:26

Lift the slaps (it's a two person job usually), wear thick gloves. Drill a line of holes into the concrete base next to the remaining slabs. Starting at the outer edge, put on some eye-protection and use a lump hammer or matlock to break up the concrete into smaller pieces (a crowbar is useful for levering it up) and collect up as much of it as you can. Don't rush! I would then double-dig the exposed soil, adding in plenty of compost etc. Some sort of edging material would help tidy up the new border. as it's on your property, make sure there's no services running under the concrete (drains etc) before smashing it up.

gingeroots Wed 04-May-16 08:47:51

I'm wondering if it's really concrete under the slab .I guess if there'd been concrete there first they might have lain the slabs on top .

It might just be a mix of dry concrete powder and grit - that's what they usually put .Solid concrete wouldn't drain water .

What I find is that you need to lever up the slab which is actually quite easy . With one of these nail bars

You could ask over on Piglet John is the expert !

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