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I am cleaning a house previously held by my deceased mother in law and now I am onto cleaning the garden and finding if the ground is level to set up cemented slab for base of a shed I ordered. I never done such kind of job but want to find out how do I clean my garden, weed out the bad grass/weed and making sure it is leveled?

What tools do I need?

Garden pic 1 Garden pic 2

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    Something that might inspire you may be the BBC Series, Monty Dons Big Dreams Small Spaces. The home owner does all the work, from creating the design to levelling the yard. The show features quite a few gardens that are of your size and shape. I believe in the UK it is offered on BBC2. Netflix also offers the series in some countries. – GardenGems Nov 29 '19 at 22:03
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Now is not the time for gardening in the UK, but now IS the time for removing the old fence and putting in new fencing, removing the shed (if you want it removed and I think you do) and work out where you want a patio and a new shed. Don't worry about the lawn for the time being, ignore it; it looks like it needs replacing anyway, so that's best done in March next year, and certainly not before the fencing, shed and patio are finished, it's the last thing to be done. Consider whether you still want the tree in the corner at the bottom of the garden too - not sure what it is, might be a Birch.

The first thing to do is measure it all, length and width, and take a width measurement half way down the garden as well as at the top and bottom. Draw it on graph paper, to scale, till you've got the outline of your garden, then add in things like your new shed and patio, to scale, so you can work out where best to place them. Take into account things like which way it faces (south, east, whatever) and where the sun travels - you really don't want to put a new shed in the sunniest part of the garden, though you might want a patio there.

It's hard to tell from the photo, but is the top of the garden, near the house, higher than the other end? Or the other way around? In other words, does it slope?

Fencing is the first job to get done after clearing away what's there - you might want to consider paying someone to come and erect a new fence,but you need to consider what kind of fence, what it's made of - cheap panels from Wickes or B & Q really won't last very long, so you might want to do some research into different types of fencing.

Regarding what equipment you need, depends how much of the work you're going to do yourself - if you get someone in to lay a patio, put up a fence, erect a new shed, they wil have all their own tools.

If you want to make a base for a shed you're going to erect yourself, you'll need a spade and fork (for digging), a rake for levelling, a shovel for making cement mixes, some long boards and a large piece of board (for mixing cements) plus a spirit level as a minimum. Many people mix concrete and create an oblong 'pad' for a shed to stand on (see here https://www.hanson.co.uk/en/ready-mixed-concrete/technical-information/how-to-lay-a-shed-base) but its not essential - if you work out where the edges of the shed will be after leveling the ground, its possible to just use paving slabs around the edges with a few supporting ones under the joists of the shed floor, provided you work out the spacing correctly. You will need to dig out a trench for the slabs around 6 to 8 inches deep, fill with aggregate/hardcore, then cement on top and under the slabs to keep them in place. The spirit level is essential here, along with a long, straight piece of wood to make sure they're all at the same level and each one is individually level. There are plenty of Youtube videos on how to make a shed base, so google that to find some.

  • Your correct the house in level up and the way the old shed is, is the way down. Though I want to make sure the patio is balanced as required by shed. In future we want to expand the house meaning make room and I am not sure if I should consider that or no because we can move the shed then? I found this youtu.be/X11bIZz0Rn4 which is looking useful. – Nofel Nov 30 '19 at 11:04
  • Video is pretty useful actually - there are lots on line that should be helpful, as you've discovered. If it was me, I'd level off the bottom of the garden ready to take the shed, especially if you want to extend later, no point giving yourself another job to do when you do want to extend the property later. – Bamboo Nov 30 '19 at 11:32
  • thanks, in the video from what I understand is that sharp sand is base, then mortar (cement?) and then pave slabs? I was gonna start today but needed to clear as I wasn’t sure how do I measure the height of sharp sand and mortar after I put it on their. – Nofel Nov 30 '19 at 19:07
  • Not really a sharp sand base, that's more suitable for paviours. This video is probably more useful than the B & Q one - you will note the aggregate or hardcore put down before the slab layer mix (which is just a cement/sand mix specially designed for use under slabs, much easier than mixing your own) wickes.co.uk/how-to-guides/garden-landscaping/lay-a-patio – Bamboo Nov 30 '19 at 20:03
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    All I'll say, as a professional, is that a sharp sand base is not particularly stable over time, especially with the weight of a shed on it - the hardcore and compaction makes for stability and much longer term,solid paving if its done with slabs, as you intend.. A sharp sand base is really intended for light use (walking on, table and chairs, that sort of thing). – Bamboo Nov 30 '19 at 23:44
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finished bedsenter image description hereBamboo's answer works. I would add that you need to rent a 'sod cutter'. You have little sod but it would be great to remove 2" of grass/weeds/soil. What you cut you can and should use to make plant beds. For the new beds you simply add the cut soil/weeds to the areas where you want plant beds. Turn the sod over and when you've got beds the way you want you cover with 4 inches of topsoil. Compact with a small piece of plywood. You jumping up and down on the plywood to remove big air pockets.

Note: You need to remove the top surface of that backyard. A sod cutter is wonderful. The 2" of soil and weeds it cuts out for you needs to be used to be made in beds such as the ones I've shown.

Your home and property have a major problem with drainage. Look at the soggy soil...no grass will grow in that wetness well at all. You want to know that every drop of water on your property GOES somewhere. Dry well could be the answer for you.

Make sure your level of soil is 2 to 4" below the fence. 4inches below the siding on the shed. 4" below your siding on your home. Make sure that all water runs away from the home, the back yard. Dry wells will work wonders for your drainage.

The picture is showing the process to make beds. Double digging. A one time thing.

All plant beds should look similar to these beds. Dump decomposed organic matter on top, especially during the winter.

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    Not sure I understood ur answer – Nofel Nov 30 '19 at 19:10
  • What part, Nofel? Your yard needs to be lowered and you need areas for planting plants. The flat area will be for a lawn. Ask more specific questions and we'll be glad to answer more specifically. Fixing your back yard is no small matter but we can help you do it correctly and efficiently. Save you lots of money! – stormy Dec 5 '19 at 0:02
  • That shed and the entire fence truly have to be replaced. – stormy Dec 5 '19 at 0:03

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