Tag Archives: using broken concrete

Crazy paving

When life gives you broken concrete, crazy pave.

Zach broke up the two concrete paths I mentioned last week. This was a bit of a mission because it turned out they had been laid to a depth that was considerably in excess of what the situation required but it is done now. I had been wondering about using the pieces in a crazy paved pathway linking the separate areas and when we looked at the spaces and the concrete pieces, I could see it would work.

Not being trained garden designers, we think visually on our feet – not on paper. We do a lot of looking before we make a move. Fortunately, Lloyd is equal to many tasks and it turns out that crazy paving is one of those. Mark and I may visualise the end result but it is Lloyd who thinks his way through the process and addresses it with precision and care. I have learned about laying crazy paving this week by watching him.

First he dug out the area, removing excess soil. Then he levelled it all, constantly checking the depth in order to achieve a flat surface that will end up on the same level as the surrounding ground and avoiding potential trip hazards that broken concrete can create. I failed to photograph the dirt stage but I did at least record the next step.

Laying a base course and making sure everything is level and at the right depth

Next he laid a bed of gravel, screeding that to get it level and making sure again that the depth was correct. Fortunately, we had the gravel here, stored in a small mountain from previous use. It is very handy having resources on site, though if bringing in materials from outside, sand may have been an easier option to form the base layer. We just lack a handy mountain of sand on site so we use what we have.  

Only then did he place the concrete slabs, constantly checking to make sure the level throughout was consistent.  

I can’t show the finished result yet but he has broken the back of the job. It is a wide path leading from the summer borders through to my tussock walkway and Zach asked me if we would lay a few informal pieces of concrete to blend the crazy paving to the new area. I hadn’t thought of that but he is right that it would stop the hard edge of the end of that particular stretch of path and make it more of seamless transition. I think of it as melting the path into the informality of the woodchip and tussock area.

The trench is unrelated to the path. We are needing to lay electric cables. But you can see the visual context where we will blend the path into the new area.

It is a minor project by our standards, but a good example of getting the foundations right from the start so that the finished result will be visually pleasing, practical, permanent and safe.

The blue of Cordyline stricta

Two flower photos to finish, because broken concrete is not pretty. While social media shows me it is jacaranda time in Sydney, we are not good jacaranda territory here (and ours won’t flower until February). At least we have the blue-flowered Cordyline stricta in full bloom at this time and how pretty is that?  

A single red dahlia, tall white daisies and Verbena bonariensis in the summer borders