Extreme Makeover Project

15th August 2016

Well that might be a bit of an exaggeration but it certainly felt like it at times! For quite a few months now I’ve been working at the Kirk Hall in Crail transforming what was once a forgotten wilderness at the back of the hall into something that would be low maintenance and potentially useable for events.

extreme-1As you can see from this picture the area was quite neglected. The work required removing an old tree stump along with its roots as well as bringing an unruly hedge into line. The soil near the hall was full of building rubble and soft sand making it very difficult to place fence posts. Nor was it stable enough to lay paving. A lot of concrete had to be poured to stabilise the ground before being able to proceed with the rest of the work.

The area forms a steep slope and I thought it best to terrace it in two steps rather than try to correct the slope in a single level. This required importing a lot of hard core, and in total 27 tonnes of material had to be wheel-barrowed or carried down the narrow stepped passage-way, to the garden area.

extreme-2The paving slabs were second-hand and just needed a bit of cleaning before laying. Buying second-hand paving helped to reduce costs considerably and I’d recommend using recycled products wherever possible. To help lock in the pavers and to form the leading edges of the terrace I used tanalised pine railway sleepers. Sleepers which have been treated with Tanolith E are protected from rotting and can easily last 20 years or more. I never use reclaimed sleepers, which invariably have been treated with creosote, a carcinogenic substance which Europe is looking to ban. If you have children or animals and want to use treated railway sleepers in your garden project then those treated with Tanolith E are much safer than creosote.

The sleepers were painted with Ronseal Dark Oak fence paint which helps to add contrast to the light coloured paving. A unifying feature as well as being used to suppress weeds is the gravel. In this case I had to switch from the gravel I originally wanted (because it was out of stock) to Southern Gold, which was supplied loose by Gray and Pringle in Anstruther.

Anyway, the project is now complete and I’d like to thank Helen Armitage and the rest of the Kirk Hall Committee for their support.


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