Concrete garden in new house

(22 Posts)
MikeEhrmantraut Sat 08-Aug-20 12:59:34

The house we're in the process of buying is perfect in every way other than the current style of the garden. It's a medium size, regular shape and is south west facing. The problem we have with it is it's mainly concrete and has a little step from the patio slabs to the concrete patio.

The current owners have a big greenhouse on the patio (which they're not taking with them), loads of pots, with wide borders with lots of well tended annual plants and some shrubs. The main central portion of the garden is a concrete patio which they use as their seating area. It's actually pleasant looking and they clearly look after it but it's unsuitable for us as we have a toddler and a dog so really want some grass with a patio by the house.

We've not done much to a garden before, or ever really had work done. I'm wondering has anyone else done up a similar garden, and if so, what did you opt for? How much did you do yourself? Any budget tips on making it look nice yourself? How much did you pay to have work done?

We will have some money set aside for it but my friend has just had a patio and some other work done and it was £8k. Not saying it isn't worth it of course but not sure if we can actually afford what we want!

Thinking of repairing the fences and treating them for now, seeing if anyone wants the greenhouse which is in good condition if they dismantle and takeaway themselves. Decking is a possibility (but rats concern me) if we can do it ourselves on the patio. I think it's the concrete giving me the most concern as assume it'll all need to come up for grass.

Any advice appreciated. Sorry for essay blush

OP’s posts: |
Standstilling Sat 08-Aug-20 13:06:50

I think we need a diagram wink

Would steer clear of decking - slippery when wet, needs maintenance, has a limited lifespan and yes, rats. Some of the new composite decking will last longer though.

I’ve just had a patio and it was about what your friend paid.

You could get the concrete taken up and lay bark chips as a cheap-ish option.

Does the whole concrete area need to come up?

JoJoSM2 Sat 08-Aug-20 13:22:23

Getting a patio laid is very pricey but taking concrete up a lot less so. I’d expect that having the concrete removed and than soil put down and grass planted should be a fraction of the 8k that your friends paid for a patio.

JoJoSM2 Sat 08-Aug-20 13:23:26

Oh, and you could possibly do it yourselves: it isn’t as skilled as some jobs but still a bit of a faff and you’d need to rent equipment out.

MikeEhrmantraut Sat 08-Aug-20 13:45:09

Thanks all very helpful. Diagrams now attached, my apologies. You'll see why I didn't immediately draw them, I'm no artist.

I'd rather live with the patio than the lack of grass if budget doesn't allow both so that's good news concrete should be cheaper. I don't think we can afford more than 7-8k.

Certainly open to doing it in stages too.

OP’s posts: |
Somethingkindaoooo Sat 08-Aug-20 13:56:14

Maybe paint the concrete ( you can get stencils).

Your dog can have a designated bark chip/ gravel area

Perhaps some fake grass for a toddler area?

MikeEhrmantraut Sat 08-Aug-20 14:12:16

@Somethingkindaoooo I like the stencil idea, thanks. That's made me think of those outdoor rug things you can get. If the patio is too expensive we could make do with what's there at the moment. Bark chipping could do in lieu of borders and plants until we can do it.

I did wonder if artificial grass could be an alternative to removing the concrete, with some kind of underlay. The thing is I do like my wildlife and I would really much prefer real grass for that reason.

OP’s posts: |

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CatherinedeBourgh Sat 08-Aug-20 14:28:54

What is the access like? If you can get a digger in there removing the concrete wouldn’t be too hard or expensive. You can then lay lawn.

Consider power washing the patio slabs before deciding whether they really have to go. Sometimes a good clean can really transform a patio, at least until you can save up for a new one.

The price of a new one is heavily dependent on the tiles you choose, prices per sqm vary wildly. Shopping around once you have a dood idea od what you want can make a huge difference.

FlowerOfTheValley Sat 08-Aug-20 14:29:31

You can get up the concrete yourself with a Kangoo (sp?) - a electric demolition hammer. Edge the borders then soil and grass seed. If you can do it yourself then it should be under £1000.

CatherinedeBourgh Sat 08-Aug-20 14:42:45

You can definitely take it up with a percussion hammer, but be aware that it’s an unpleasant job and you will be left with a large amount of rubble to dispose of.

longtompot Sat 08-Aug-20 14:43:15

I'd keep the patio close to the house for drinks and general chilling. Sometimes concrete isn't too thick and is fairly easy to take up. A sledge hammer and a shovel should do it. Then rake over to get a fine tilth and sow some grass seed (do this when there is more chance of rain, too hot and dry right now). You might need a small skip for the concrete, and if it just has hardcore in and not mixed waste they are usually cheaper.

Time40 Sat 08-Aug-20 14:49:42

seeing if anyone wants the greenhouse which is in good condition if they dismantle and takeaway themselves

I did this. It got snapped up in seconds - I didn't even have to advertise; I just put the word around the new neighbours.

didireallysaythat Sat 08-Aug-20 14:55:51

You've got a side entrance to the front - can you put a skip on the front? Depending on the thickness of the concrete you could break it up yourself hiring a breaker or pay a builder/grounds maintenance company to do this (skips are £250 builders £150-200 a day maybe?)

Then a few tonne bags of top soil bagged and you could seed it, turf or plant it.

Mistymonday Sat 08-Aug-20 15:18:14

Please please don’t use astroturf! It is just going to degrade in a few years of use into tiny bits of plastic, adding to the ridiculous amount of micro plastics already in drinking water, the sea, the soil, the food chain, it is even found inside babies in the womb. It is environmentally irresponsible and should not be allowed imho. Grass, plants etc are a much better option, will allow water to drain away, including washing away dog pee (trust me, I have two!) and will also keep your home and garden cooler. Concrete, stone etc absorbs heat and radiates it back out.

Plus it looks nicer grin 🌷

MikeEhrmantraut Sat 08-Aug-20 15:37:51

Thanks all, some brilliant ideas. That sounds really positive and I'm not as worried now! Yes we will have side access and could probably get a skip outside the house.

Don't worry I really am not keen on artificial grass. Really want some proper grass and I will be bringing some of my plants in pots short term which are mainly bee and butterfly friendly, with the longer term aim of establishing some bird friendly shrubs.

OP’s posts: |
bilbodog Sat 08-Aug-20 15:51:41

Are the concrete areas a large slab or mAde up of concrete paving slabs? We moved a patio made of slabs and when we laid in new position we made a pattern using the concrete slabs and bricks and it looked lovely! Sorry cant post a photo it was 2 houses ago!

Last house we paid about £7k to have an area approx 20 x 20ft grass all dug up, square lawn laid in middle with brick edging and concrete slabs re-used as stepping stones round edge, set in gravel.

GingerFoxInAT0phat Sat 08-Aug-20 16:04:38

We hard a large concrete path going round in a square all along the edge of our garden. We hired a breaker (jackhammer?) for a day and dug it all out. It was a day of hard work but totally worth it. We paid £100 for someone to take it away from our drive.

Now we’ve put topsoil down and just about to plant grass seeds to start growing a lawn.

TattiePants Sat 08-Aug-20 16:18:50

It sounds exactly like our back garden when we moved in to our house. It was 12 years ago but I think it cost about £5k for a local builder to break out the concrete, level and compact the ground, build, render, paint and fill the planters and supply / lay a York stone patio. We also advertised the greenhouse on freecycle and someone dismantled it and took it away. Excuse the washing!

Standstilling Sat 08-Aug-20 16:28:58

Your diagram efforts are appreciated grin It doesn’t look too bad at all.

This what I’d do as a reasonably cheap fix so you can get the use out of the garden:
- get rid of greenhouse - someone will bite your hand off for it
- get rid of concrete - get someone in and get it done and sorted. Labour and skips will probably be the biggest part of the cost.
- depending on the state of the soil underneath, either lay weed membrane and bark chips or rake it and grass seed it (might need some topsoil too but you could get t he labourers to bring it in).

Then when you have been in the house a while and have had a chance to think it over, plan what you’d really like.

MikeEhrmantraut Sat 08-Aug-20 17:12:40

Well you lot are lush; thanks for all the great ideas and photos. Can't wait to get in there and look at it properly to assess what the condition of the patio and concrete is like. I do have some photos but since it's not ours yet I am reticent to post. Hopefully should be in next month apparently, so fingers crossed it won't be too late in the season to get a wiggle on with getting some of it done. We do have a pressure washer (those things are great fun, did our current house before we put it on the market, actively seeking new things to blast into infinity) so you never know, some of it may be liveable while we sort out the lack of grass.

OP’s posts: |
Wrighty57 Sat 08-Aug-20 17:38:36

One MASSIVE piece of advice for grass. Make sure when you lay your soil, you use a weighted roller or powered compactor to, well, compact the soil and make it flat and even. If you lay turf on soft, fluffy soil you will have a wavey, uneven lawn and then it will never look it’s best.

You can hire them or a professional landscaper will probably own one and charge the same amount for half a days work than it would to hire, operate and return said device.

Standstilling Sat 08-Aug-20 19:41:34

Good point about compacting the soil before seeding. People in big boots shuffling all over it also does a good job.

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