This is a great forum, previously I've just lurked reading the posts and hwotos and learning a lot in the process.
I am after some assistance with a bit of garden landscaping that I'm doing to try and get our back garden in London into something pleasant to live with!
First of all, I'm building some raised beds out of reclaimed hardwood sleepers (untreated). They'll be about 4m long, 1.8m wide and about 0.6m high. There are two of them with a gravel path through the middle, with four pavers arranged as "stepping stones". At each end of the path, I was planning to put a small brick border between the gravel and the turf at either end.
My questions are:
- I'm going to hire a whacka to make sure the ground is compact, and also level, but do I need to put any hardcore under the sleepers and compact that in too? To be honest, I can't see the sleepers moving too much as they've got such a massive area, so the hardcore seems a bit like belt and braces. What do you all think?
- One of the sides of one bed is going against a wall, where it will bridge the DPC. I have some tins of "aquaprufe" damp-proof paint, is it fine to just paint the wall with this where it is in contact? Should I leave a small gap between the bed and the wall? I'm a bit concerned that any gap will fill up with dirt over time, making it worse than useless.
- For the brick border, I was planning to put down some bricks, cover with concrete, and then insert the bricks into mortar to get a neat row. Does this sound okay? Will the mortar for them be okay in contact with the ground or should I prepare it especially? Also the concrete, does that need special preparation?
- Is it worth treating the sleepers on the inside edge where they will be in constant contact with the soil? I have some damp-proof membrane that I could use to line the lower half, but is it worth it?
Secondly, I am making a patio at the end of the garden, which is one step down (about 150mm) from the level of the turf around it. Am I right that this means I need to have some sort of drainage in the lowest corner (obviously it will have a slope)? What's the best way to do this? Currently I am thinking of just burying some plastic drainpipe leading from the corner into a buried soakaway from the patio area - is that sufficient?
Sorry this is a long post - hope that it all makes sense,
Cheers for any help,