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Path from house to observatory - ideas please.


Gina

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ATM I have no proper path from my house to observatory.  I've looked at various ideas and had planned to cart gravel from a heap in the yard round past the house and garage to make a path to my observatory that wouldn't be a quagmire in wet weather.  Currently, there is just grass on top of clay soil that doesn't drain very well.  That idea was all very well but I now feel it might be a bit much for me.  I guess something to stop weeds growing up through any sort of path will be required and I gather a sort of plastic mesh will allow drainage but stop weeds.

I don't know if there's any getting away from digging the turf out - I'm not a gardener though I have watched the odd gardening programme on TV.  I'm really looking for ideas that could reduce the amount of physical work involved.  Would paving stones work?  Or would they be too slippery in the winter?  Is there anything that would provide a safe walkway that I can use in the forthcoming winter nights?  I could provide lighting.  As for cost, a couple of hundred pounds would be alright, or possibly more to help me safely carry out my astrophotography.

Oh - and the distance is around 15 metres on pretty much level ground (that's why it floods).

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Gina i remember you saying this last winter and it was a concern. Paving slabs may be ok but they can still get wet and slippy even with just a bit of mud on them. They are also heavy.

I'm thinking "mulch" bark wood chippings could be a great way to go. Yes, it gets wet and dirty but offers a non-slip solution. It also shouldnt be too physically demanding to lay down a nice thich layer of it. Most DIY stores/garden centres sell it in rather large bags. The store gopher should load it into your car and then just cart it one barrowful at a time from the car to the area you want the path in.

Its used in most kids playgrounds now because its a safe surface to take a tumble on. It absorbs any shock from a fall/tumble and you are very less likely to cause yourself an injury.

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
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Ideally you would dig it out and fit a drainage pipe but that would be a lot of work.

 

If you go for gravel a layer of teram membrane underneath will stop the weeds taking root, they will still try to grow but their roots won't be in the soil so they are really easy to pull up.

I have some wooden steps but these can get a bit slippy when it is frosty.

My concrete paving slabs don't tend to be slippy though.

The gravel is definitely the best for non slip but not fun to walk on bare foot.

 

I guess the easiest way would be to get some edging stones to hold the teram down over whatever is already there then just cover it in gravel.

I think personally I would dig up the turf but if you want to avoid the work I doubt the grass would be able to grow through the membrane.

I have had a membrane down in my garden for over ten years end never had anything grow up through it.  Weeds do try to grow on top of it but they are sickly things that never grow too big and are easy to pull up.

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Ask 1 question, get a multitude of answers. That's fair enough and expected. The 3 things here to consider are:

1. Safety (must be paramount)

2. Work involved (no heavy heavy lifting)

3. Cost (as cheap as possible)

I still think bark mulch is the way to go. I wont harp on about it but i used crutches for 30 yrs and i still use them often. I know what surfaces work well for me using "4 legs" and which ones to avoid. I'm no expert, but ive taken a hell of a lot of falls in my time (no i wasnt drunk..........well not every time) and i have yet to break a single bone in my body. I'm like a stuntman or a paratrooper (LOL)......they are trained to "tuck and roll".

God forbid that you should ever take a fall. Most peoples natural reaction is to put their hands and arms out to save themselves from sustaining a head injury. Thats fine on concrete. You may break a finger or wrist or arm, but no head injury. On any other surface, tuck (tuck your hands and arms into your arm pits) and roll (twist your body mid-fall so that you land on your side). Your arm/shoulder will take the brunt of the fall but your head will be safe.

 

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
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I'm fairly decrepit, but once you've cut a path out with a half-moon cutter
(you just STAND on that) digging out grass as "turves" was not too bad?
The roots remain in place, but a so-called *WEED MEMBRANE* seems to
have prevented grass regrowth? If the underlying soil/clay is solid enough,
gravel worked for me. If you want to walk on it, I have found that "sharp"
gravel (rather than pebbles!) binds to gives reasonable walking surface? :)

Hard to say At the peak of my "powers", I could only lay 2'x2'x2" flags! lol
I doubt I could even manage those these days. Never gets easier, right? :o

Edited by Macavity
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Thank you everyone :)  I think the bark mulch sounds good - much lighter to cart and the thought of it being softer to land on if I should fall sounds good.  And yes, I too have fallen a few times now and a lot less agile and stable on my feet than I used to be.  I think I'll avoid stone edging - decidedly hazardous both as a tripping and landing hazard. 

Edited by Gina
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Just now, Gina said:

Definitely Paul!!!  Slippery when wet or ice or even just covered in moss - very nasty to fall on!!

Indeedy. When i was using the crutches (there i go again.......but its all i did for 30 yrs) all the time, wet concrete was ok, Ice covered concrete very very tricky and dangerous (normally stayed inside). Wet moss covered concrete..........absolutely lethal. Some of my worst (but best tuck and rolls) happened on wet moss covered concrete.

I'd imagine its the same for able-bodied people. 

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You are going to need an awful lot, and if you buy it by the bag at B&Q (other stores are available :wink2:) you'll pay through the nose. I suggest that you find a local firm who can supply 'bulk' or 'jumbo' bags of the stuff (1 cubic metre), have it craned into your front garden or wherever, and then barrow it round to the back in manageable loads. You'll probably need to top it up on the path every now and then.

Ian

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Hi Gina,

Could you consider a rubber protection mat or grass reinforcement strip.  I've seen them used in various situations, allows the grass to grow through and prevents "sinking in".. also being rubber offer good grip.

Link to a google search web site.. http://www.matsgrids.co.uk/57-grass-protection-reinforcement  Essentially fixed by using pins as well, just like pegging out a tent!

Looks like this!

grass matt.jpg

 

Don't know if that helps..

Ta

Fozzie

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17 minutes ago, Fozzie said:

Hi Gina,

Could you consider a rubber protection mat or grass reinforcement strip.  I've seen them used in various situations, allows the grass to grow through and prevents "sinking in".. also being rubber offer good grip.

Link to a google search web site.. http://www.matsgrids.co.uk/57-grass-protection-reinforcement  Essentially fixed by using pins as well, just like pegging out a tent!

Looks like this!

grass matt.jpg

 

Don't know if that helps..

Ta

Fozzie

I was also thinking of this stuff but couldnt remember its name. Ive looked at it a couple of times in DIY/garden stores for myself to allow me to go onto the grass lawn in my wheelchair while observing. IIRC.......not too expensive.

Good idea. Not sure how it works when wet or iced over. It could be a bit like an artificial ski slope. It must be pretty safe because every year there are a couple of major flower shows here and they lay this stuff down for the 10's of thousands to walk on and i'm sure safety is their priority.

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An alternate edging I use in my garden is tree branches.  Not sure if that's any help but I had three silver birch trees that are no longer obstructing my skyline but instead providing decorative edgings for my lawn!

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13 minutes ago, The Admiral said:

I've no experience of using that, but I think I'd be concerned about mud coming through. The bark mulch idea would be cleaner I should think.

Ian

On closer inspection of the stuff, im pretty sure it similar to what they do actually use on artificial ski slopes........so in the winter when iced over could be very dangerous.

Bark mulch it has to be.

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The plastic or rubber matting might be an idea and cheaper than bark chippings but I agree there could be a problem with mud coming through.  I think overall I would prefer bark.  Play bark is about £5 or 5% extra but guaranteed quality which I think may be worth paying for - should be safer to fall on.   I think one bulk bag of 1000 litres should be just about enough - they quote 20 sq m of 50mm depth

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Two possibilities of bark from ebay :-

  1. Landscaping Bark Contract Ornamental Chip for Gardening Huge 1000 Litre Bulk Bag    £89.99 + £10 delivery
  2. Play Bark Chip for Play Areas and Huge 1000 Litre Bulk Bags Fully Certified   £94.05 + £10 delivery

So certified play bark for £4 more.  I might see if my local woodyard do it.  They're usually cheaper than online and very much cheaper than the DIY stores.

Edited by Gina
typo
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50mm depth is just under 2 inches. I think that would be sufficient enough to absorb the pressure from any fall from a standing height. I'm thinking for that to work effectively, you may need to dig out 2 inches of the grass and then lay it in place?. It would also contain the bark mulch within the pathway so it cant spread outwards. It may be fine to simply lay it on top of the existing grass.

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
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13 minutes ago, Gina said:

Two possibilities of bark from ebay :-

  1. Landscaping Bark Contract Ornamental Chip for Gardening Huge 1000 Litre Bulk Bag    £89.99 + £10 delivery
  2. Play Bark Chip for Play Areas and Huge 1000 Litre Bulk Bags Fully Certified   £94.05 + £10 delivery

So certified play bark for £4 more.  I might see if my local woodyard do it.  They're usually cheaper than online and very much cheaper than the DIY stores.

I'd certainly be going for play area "certified". Your main concern is safety.......not ornamental.

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