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Suffolk, United Kingdom Gb

Good afternoon.
We have just bought a new house, the garden is L shaped with the top of the L coming from the house. I would like a patio from my french doors to the start of the L (i hope that makes sense) and the rest to be turf with a shed in the bottom corner. My problem is that from my doors to the end of my garden there is a bout a 5foot height difference with a slope. How can get a flat patio (or can i have a stepped patio) and then get down to flat at the bottom to put my shed. I have thought of having levels so in elevation will be House/Flat Patio/Drop/Grass/Drop/Grass and Shed) but as you know with new housing i have fences to other peoples gardens all around so i do not want to undermine or build up against the fences too much. I know this is cryptic but i couldnt explain anyway else easily. Hope you can help.
Thanks Kindly
(Attached is some photos the best i could do)

Garden Imag0312 Imag0310



Hi Scottyblue and welcome to GoY could you add a couple of photos to your question do you think, it would make it easier for us to picture what it actually looks like.

15 Jan, 2013


Thanks Moon_growe.
it is dark now, so will endeavour to take a few in the morning and post them on here around 9-30am
thanks for your response.

15 Jan, 2013


If the main requirement is a flat patio why not go ... flat patio ,drop and then let the lawn slop away. That way you'll only have one drop to create and have less difficulties with undermining fencers.

Alternatively if you want to go the multi drop route you could keep the parts of the of the garden next to the fences at the levels they are now and then have drops from them. It depends on how big the garden is.

15 Jan, 2013


Thanks Anchorman,
the Dims are 11m from house to bottom fence, 11m along back and then as the L comes in goes 8m then 6m in then 3 back to house. Good idea about keeping sloping by the fence.
As you can see the Leg of the L is fairly flat so will have that as lawn.
Was hoping this would be the elevation, top left being patio, step down to lawn, then another step to lawn (or rocky garden with steps going down through the middle, then the bottom step being flat for a shed.
Is this realistic?

16 Jan, 2013


It appears that my diagram didnt come out as moved the lines back to the edge so please ignore

16 Jan, 2013


You could draw a diagram, take a photo of and add to the question Scottyblue

16 Jan, 2013


Ive sketched up a elevation, very rough.

16 Jan, 2013


should work - did you give up on the idea of a rock garden?

16 Jan, 2013


Well my idea was to have a depression filled with water (a pond basically) along where one of my turf areas would be but as my partner rightly pointed out, we have ambitions in the not to distant future to have children and a dog so the water would not be ideal, so the rock garden came up with a water feature, which will still like the idea of, but for the simplicity of my sketch above i omitted it. So do you think the way to go is to keep sloped along the fence lines? and step down as discussed? What would you use as a step/soil retaining wall because i thought railway sleepers but if not coated they will rot and i read yesterday that wood protection coats can contaminate the soil? Blocks is another option but they look awful.

16 Jan, 2013


I agree that blocks look awful and yes, the sleepers would need to be treated and that can contaminate the soil. Bricks possibly to tone with the house? Our walls are all made from stone collected from the fields in the surrounding area - with the farmer's permission of course. But this would only work if you live where you can access free stone.

16 Jan, 2013


My parents house is surrounded my farmland and they are close to the farmer so i may be in luck. But i was after a smoother finish so the retaining wall was the step as well. I will investigate into the blocks a bit more as there may be a way to decorate or render them nicely? Will me doing this upset the natural drainage very much do you think?

16 Jan, 2013


I wouldn't have thought it would affect the drainage but if you use stone a build without mortar the water will be able to percolate through. Send a pm to Bulbaholic for his advice he built all the walls in our garden or go and look at his blogs

16 Jan, 2013


Hi Scottyblue. From the photographs the garden does not look as if it slopes very much but I am sure that you must have measured it and the the 5' drop is correct.
Stone recovered from a farmers field is much cheaper than bought blocks but it is of an uneven shape and will require some manipulating to build with. Having said that, I managed it and I am happy with what we have achieved! For a retaining wall that is going to be walked on I do not go higher than about a foot, to ensure stability, but if the edge is not going to be walked over then it can be much higher. Beneath the patio the retaining wall could be very thick, several widths of stone, as only the front face will be seen. This will not be as suitable for front edging of the grassy area because of the width of the top of the wall ( second thoughts - the front of this wall could be full height and layers behind it just slightly lower with some soil and grass on top). If you are prepared to reduce the area of the lower lawn you could slope the surrounding banking down from the base of the fence and have this as rockery with lots of embedded rocks to keep its integrity.
I don't know where you live, Scotty, or what your local geology is like. If you have sandstone quarries nearby you could investigate them cutting squared blocks for you for the retaining of the lawn sections. They would probably be quite expensive but could look very good.
If your patio does not already exist and you are going to lay it might I suggest that you consider real stone flags imported from India? We used these at the front of our house and are really impressed by them. They come on a pallet and are only slightly more expensive than the imitation stone slabs from the builders merchants. The problem might be that a pallet load covers about 15m square and this might be too much for you.
This response is far too long, sorry. If you want to bat any ideas off me, feel free to do so.

16 Jan, 2013


"Blocks is another option but they look awful."

Render them

16 Jan, 2013


As Bulbaholic says looking at the photo the garden doesn't seem to drop 5 feet . Are you sure?

5 feet over 11 metres is pretty steep. Looking at the left hand fence in your second photo down the horizontal bars are parallel to the ground and look to be at 90 degrees to the vertical posts.

If you had a steep slope the fence tops would be stepped and the ones I can see aren't

16 Jan, 2013


Thank you very much bulbaholic anchorman and Kildermorie.

I probably didnt explain it properly. I am new to this and didnt really think of the consequences of not explaing all.
I will measure exactly when i have some daylight and im not at work which will be saturday, but the slope is not gradual, its begins gradual then at the end dips down which gives the "approx" 5foot dim i stated (The pics are deceiving, the reason i gave this was because in my original message i was discussing the undermining the fences.
I think frompoints made from here i will go for the keep the edges sloped with rock features and take on board what Bulbaholic said.

So with a gradual slope do you think just one step will suffice or two smaller steps be more logical as i dont want too much load coming from the soil messing up the steps.

My father in Law said about using the indian paving as it looks so much nicer but yes i think the size will not suit the area i want doing.

I just have awful visions of stepping it all and then waking up one day and see a small landslide which knocks neighbours fences down.

With regard to the steps i may go with rendered blocks as from them links they can look rather nice and must be cheaper than some alternatives.

On this link
i have had a thought that i slope down the right side of the fence then have flat and a wall and have a path sloping through the middle down to my shed then flat and a wall the other side (The walls backing down to where my shed will be so it will look like a little courtyard. does this sound feasible?

17 Jan, 2013


We have low retaining walls made of rendered blocks and after some years they began to look very sad. We have just had one length replaced with blocks in a proper foundation, faced with brick facing bricks and topped with concrete coping stone. (I'll be putting pics on a blog soon)
It looks very much better than the original, and much easier to build than brick. If you are making a retaining wall don't forget to leave small gaps at intervals for drainage or build up of water may push the wall out of true. You would also be well advised to make a proper concrete foundation to build on.

If you wanted the effect of a pond without the water have you thought of making an area of blue slate, which can be quite effective.

20 Jan, 2013

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