Overhaulin’ the yard that is. All projects and car work were put on hold back in August when an unexpected phone call provided the opportunity to buy 50 tonnes of road planings, albeit at somewhat short notice. Road planings are the crushed up scrapings of tarmac removed from a road before resurfacing it. It is a loose material, but packs down into a pretty hard surface with use. The day after I received the call, three huge 8 wheel tipper trucks arrived carrying my planings and dumped them in a heap next to my workshop. I had long wanted to resurface my yard and increase the parking, however up to this point I’d not actually made any plans on how to go about it… but it seemed the time to do it had been thrust upon me. Fortunately my neighbour owns all manner of machinery, and kindly lent me a big, all wheel drive telehandler and a tracked 3 tonne mini-digger with which to shift the materials about. I literally had to cease work on anything else to get this job done as it was a pretty big undertaking…
My first job was the remove the old fencing, as I planned to open the yard right out and make much more parking and maneuvering room. I could only estimate to what depth the planings I had would cover over the entire area, but I guessed at four to five inches, so with that in mind I set about digging out the ground with the mini-digger. At first it went well until I discovered that under half the existing yard there was a hug amount of broken concrete and rubble. This made the job much worse as it all had to come out in order to get down to the depth required, but once gone it left a hole over a foot deep, which I has to in-fill back to 5 inches deep. Then came the rain, turning my freshly dug yard into a complete mud bath! I figured while the place was a mess, I might as well get and dig some trenches to move my overhead power cables underground. I dug two foot deep trenches to the buildings and laid 40amp armoured power cables to both my workshop and parts store.
My workshop was constructed on much higher ground than the yard, so at the time it was built, a ramp was hastily constructed to allow access. It had served its purpose, but was pretty ugly and left a two inch step at the top, so I decided I’d replace it with a new one. The new ramp is longer and wider, making the slope more gentle and there’s no longer a step at the top where it meets the floor. The concrete thickness varies from about 4 inches in the center to about 10 inches at the edges so it should be able to handle some pretty heavyweight usage. While I had the mixer on the go, I also laid a new concrete path along the opposite side of the yard and installed some gateposts at the rear of the yard. You might also notice here, that for the first time ever, the workshop has received a coat of paint! This wasn’t down to me but my ever helpful girlfriend, who painted the whole thing with a brush! HEROIC!!
When the ground work was finally completed, the cable trenches back filled, concrete set and the ground firm and level, the planings could be laid. First a cloth membrane was laid to prevent not only weed growth but also to stop the planings being crushed down and mingling with the soil underneath. Generally this stuff is pretty expensive, but eBay came to the rescue with a killer deal which reduced the cost by about 75%. Leveling the planings was pretty hard and, in the end most of it had to be done by hand with a shovel and rake, but now it’s been down and in use for a little while it’s beginning to settle and flatten out by itself. The finished surface, when packed down is firm enough to jack up a car on and drains well in the rain. No puddles form on it and the membrane under it is permeable, which further helps with drainage. My estimate of a depth of five inches proved to be about right.
There’s still more work to be done outside, but for the first time in years I can enjoy the use of my yard, without having to wade through mud this winter. The rest of the drive way will get done sometime next year, but first I have to convert my parts store into a nice 9 or 10 car garage.