To dig or build up?

Discussion in 'Landscaping and Outdoors' started by Abdul Kashem, Jun 13, 2021.


Dig or to build up?

  1. Dig

    1 vote(s)
  2. Build up

    0 vote(s)
  1. Abdul Kashem

    Abdul Kashem New Member

    Hi guys,

    I'd really appreciate some advice on a garden landscaping project.

    I have a 9 x 10 metre garden overgrown with weeds which I've stripped down to soil using a turf cutter. I'd like a large area of the space to have Indian stone put down and a decking area too.

    I've read in a lot of places the need to dig about 6 inches to enable the placement of 100mm MOT sub-base and 50mm sharp sand, before placement of the stone flags. This will generate a lot of soil which will require costly removal.

    My question is, is it possible to 'build upward' instead of digging. Im thinking to place 8 inch width treated timber sleepers around the perimeter of the garden and into place with stakes, then to line with membrane then fill with 4 inches of MOT compacted and further 2 inch of sharp sand. Is there a problem with this approach?

    If this is not a good idea for whatever reason, then regarding soil digging:
    1. Is it very time consuming and practical to manually dig 6 inch deep into soil for an area 10m x 9m or is a mini digger recommended?
    2. What is the average cost of a mini digger and soil removal services?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. stevie22

    stevie22 Screwfix Select

    You ideally want to remove the topsoil because the organic matter can cause settlement but if you've stripped he turf you'll have got most of it so I suspect you'll be ok. You do want to really compact the formation and I'd use a layer of Terram.

    Hand digging depends on how fit/stupid you are. Perfectly feasible with a bit of patience.

    A digger won't actually be a whole lot quicker unless you get a dumper too. The muck removal is going to be the same either way You'll have about 3 8yard skips or a big enough quantity to look at a grabaway. I would go skips because while a bit dearer you have a load less mess. Prices do vary and topsoil does have a value so might be worth talking to landscapers etc to see if there's a market for it. Or perhaps a cheaper skip for clean soil.
  3. Abdul Kashem

    Abdul Kashem New Member

    Thanks stevie22 for your prompt reply. I see you prefer digging up the soil. Are you able to comment on my idea of building up on existing soil by putting up a timber perimeter and filling within?
  4. MichaelW

    MichaelW New Member

    First are you not meant to lay on full mortar bed, not sharp sand?

    Second on your idea, does the entire thing not fall apart when the timber rots? I would recommend following tried and tested methods even though more expensive up front, will probably save money in the long run.

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