- Lay paving stones
- Build retaining wall
- Build a new staircase
- Make two new balconies/patios
- Renew look
- Plan and reorganize the plot and plants
From the sandy desert to a living plot with light & stone
Idea and preliminary design
We bought a villa with a garden from the 60s, where a large part of the older trees and bushes were overgrown. Parts of the lawn were mossy and the overgrown bushes took a lot of nutrients from the lawn. Weeds were growing and it felt like there was no plan and structure for garden paths, patios and vegetation on the grounds. The goal is therefore to:
Appearance IRL before project start
Our 1960s villa and plot of land had a period-typical appearance before the re-drainage. But, after the re-drainage, the plot was a disaster! There was no hint of "life". As we live at the foot of a sand dune, there is not much soil to plant in, but we wanted easy-to-maintain stone walkways that match the house in both color and appearance. We believe that lighting would also enliven the darkness and, together with the changed appearance of both the plot and the garden, give a lift.
Preparations for entrance via flagstone walkway
We started by planning the type of rock we wanted and decided it would be drivable. Sketches were drawn with measurements and a description of each step to be constructed. The choice of stone was made through visits to various stores and via the stone suppliers' websites, where we could find inspirational images and instructions. In the spring, we started the rough work. The old stone crusher from earlier tiling was dug out where the entrance stone walkway was to be. We could only lay paving stones on part of the intended surface, as the ground had not "settled" quite everywhere after the advance of the excavator buckets. Therefore, the first stage was the corridors at an angle to the main entrances. We have chosen to excavate approx. 25 cm to create a stable, drivable flat corridor. We calculated the consumption of crushed stone, stone flour and fiber cloth for approx. 33 square meters of ground stone walkway. The pictures show the removal and excavation of the crushed stone from previous tiling as well as the delivery of 15 tons of 0/16 rock crusher. Finally, a dimensional sketch of the future entrance passage.
One entryway filled with crushed stone
Here we have shoveled out, watered and vibrated part of the crusher. Soon it will be time to lay down the sand.
The side passage to the garage to the entrance stairs
Before filling with setting sand, we deal with the passage that runs at an angle to the entrance passage. First with the fiber cloth. Here we got a little "help" from the truck that delivered the stone crusher with tipping it into the dug hole for the passage. The planks are there to temporarily hold down the ground cloth. We of course removed them before filling the stone crusher.
Try pattern laying
It is difficult to choose the right pattern. Inspiration was taken from various pages on the internet and many shops with stone displays were visited. Assembly instructions and laying instructions were studied. After selecting a few patterns, we chose to take the time it took to try laying the pattern. We laid out some stones for testing and through that we learned to start in the "right place" and plan the paving better. It was 1/2 dressing because it looked best with the three colors we have. When we saw how it roughly looked, we removed the stones, put on the setting sand and weighed. We made sure that the walkway was laid with a slope (approx. 2 cm/m) so that any rainwater did not remain standing and that it ran away from the house.
On the way to the paved garden path
We have chosen drivable Labyrinth antique in the colors grey, sand and gray mix. All colors except sand are available at Stenbolaget. Here we have chosen to mix the stones in a special pattern to get variety and an "orderly" look. The corridor is lined with Labyrinth antique in the very lightest shades of grey. This is to get a more marked walk and a good finish on each tile row.
Delepapp: A new discount
Hmm, that tuja is too much in the way. Away with it and start a flower bed lined with bricks. Autumn has arrived, but we will continue the project until the snow comes or ....
Finished brick rebate
...the ground freezes and the frost comes. We managed 2/3 of the wall discount until November. The masonry rebate was instead completed in the spring.
Time for sub-stage three: The walk towards the lower plane
Here we continue with the passage down towards the house's basement level.
We have laid ground fabric so that the weeds don't take over completely!
We have laid ground fabric so that the weeds don't take over completely!
Side access, electricity and irrigation
The passage is now almost complete. The most difficult part of this part was that the passage had to slope both down to the south terrain plane, and also from the house towards the lawn, for the sake of runoff. It is not preferable that the corridor only leans towards the basement level if there is a lot of rain. We have also dug to lay electrical pipes for lighting and irrigation.
Sidewalk almost done
The side aisle has the same pattern as the entrance aisles. We have chosen to line the aisle with smaller "bricks" of the Kantsten Mini type. They must act as a support so that the decorative stone closest to the house does not roll out into the hallway. We have two tones of yellow-white and black-and-white lake single, 16-32, which must be shoveled out on the front and along the plinth around the house. On the other side of the aisle, we have laid white granite rubble, and to separate it from the lawn, we have laid steel edging. We also made a ring of Large Circle stone that frames the rhododendron bush. Lighting stones beautifully illuminate the passage when it gets dark. All products are available at Stenbolaget.
We have chosen to "pause" with the side passage, i.e. it has no concrete end so far. This is so that the future stone staircase on the side of the house will be ready. We think it is easier for the top step of the stairs to determine the "level" where it should connect to the side passage. Both the side passage and the connecting passage from the stairs must slope away from the house and the stairs, out towards the lawn in order to direct the rainwater in the right direction.
Part stage four: Stone steps to souterrain plane
When the villa was drained and re-insulated, we had to make the decision to remove the existing concrete stairs down to the basement level. The existing concrete stairs were made of cast-in-place, sturdy concrete so the company doing the excavation had a hard time removing the stairs. The consequence was that the stairs were "sawed"/carved off along the foundation of the house, see the picture below. An excavator dragged and "pushed" away parts of the stair foundation that remained a short distance away and the hole was refilled with soil. The pictures show what it looked like after backfilling with soil.
Stair design and stone delivery - small and large!
We thought of making the stone stairs out of concrete blocks that are set in 'soil-moist concrete'. We have been looking for steps that are as similar to the dimensions of the old stairs as possible. We found the stone in Stenbolaget's assortment. The name of the stone is Blocksteg Betong 350. We decided to put three of these per step. We make a total of 8 steps. The substrate under the setting steps consists of 'soil-moist concrete' and rock crusher 0/32. For the 'soil-moist concrete', 50 kg of coarse concrete/step is used. We calculate the consumption of rock crusher during the steps to a total of 1.25 kbm for the eight steps.
First steps on the wooden stairs
Here the first steps are taken on the stone stairs. The very first step has support against the poured concrete slab outside the door. The three stepping stones have been set in soil-moist concrete and aligned parallel to the concrete slab and level with each other. The three steps lean slightly forward for rain runoff. The rubber mallet and spirit level are well-used 'tools' when laying the stones. The wheelbarrow is used to mix the soil-moist concrete and the trowel is used to fine-tune the slope.
The stairs will soon be ready
We are a little more than halfway when the first frosty night comes. In order for the soil-moist concrete to burn properly, we have put a tarpaulin on it.
For the attentive...
The observant has also noticed that the plaster on the foundation has also changed color. It has been newly plastered, hence the change in color from 70s brown to "concrete color". Furthermore, the front door as well as windows and window frames have been replaced or repainted with white paint.
The stone stairs ready!
One late evening in mid-October, the stone staircase was completed. The idea is that it should be "bordered" by a retaining wall. Unfortunately, the frost has arrived so it will be difficult to catch up. We save the retaining wall for the spring...
New year and continuation from last year!
The project to change and renew the villa plot for the better continues.... This year we plan to complete Stage 3 and 5-10. Since we do everything ourselves, it takes time.
- Stage I: Paving stone walkways up to the main entrance. CLEAR.
- Stage II: A new, raised discount at the main entrance. CLEAR.
- Stage III: Paving path towards the lower floor and the short side of the villa (called side passage in this blog). STARTED, almost finished, fn PAUSED, see above.
- Stage IV: Stone stairs to the basement level. CLEAR.
- Stage V: Wooden deck/balcony/patio to the front. CLEAR.
- Stage VI: Decorative stone, closest to the plinth around the villa. CLEAR.
- Stage VII: Retaining wall on one short side of the villa. CLEAR.
- Stage VIII: Discount on the short side of the villa and under the kitchen windows. STARTED, almost finished, currently PAUSED due to Stage III not yet finished.
- Stage IX: Irrigation to flower beds and garden land. STARTED.
- Stage X: Lighting to flagstone walkway, balcony and retaining wall. STARTED. Currently PAUSED because Stage III is not finished.
Stage V: Wooden deck/patio to the front
We want to build a wooden deck to take advantage of the morning sun and have a nice place to sit. We chose a place closest to the entrance stairs and under an overhanging roof. We have chosen to build a rectangular wooden deck with forty-five degree corners at the front. The wooden deck will be framed with "fence" on one short side and white Decklight lighting all around. The picture below shows the surface where the wooden deck is to be built. It is prepared with electricity for the wooden deck and has been provided with the "correct slope" out from the house.
The construction of the new patio is taking off!
The length of the wooden deck will be 4.40 meters and the width/"depth" 3.30 meters. Ground cloth is spread to avoid weeds. The joists are placed on balanced garden slabs and spliced/screwed together with joist shoes. Distance between the studs is 60 cm. The studs are of the dimension 45x110 mm, pressure impregnated AB wood. The trolley consists of pressure-impregnated AB wood with the dimension 28x120 mm. The posts are attached to the joists and to "frame" the balcony with a plank board, double edge joists are made. Holes for the lighting are drilled in the clapboard that frames the balcony. The lighting wiring is attached to the studs under the trolley and then goes down into the electrical pipe buried under the wooden deck.
The wooden deck ready!
One late summer evening, the wooden deck was finished. The lighting was tested and the outdoor furniture was put in place. All that remains is to finish building the "fence".
The patio is provided with a "fence"
We have chosen to have "lying bars" as a fence. It has been difficult to get hold of "ribs" that are both pressure impregnated and planed on all four sides, with the right dimensions (45x22 or 45x37). Finally we got hold of them, so late at last the railing was fixed.
Stage VI: Decorative stone at the house plinth
We plan to lay decorative stone approx. 30-40 cm from the house plinth. This is to avoid splashing on the plinth and also because it looks decorative.
Stage VI: Results
This is what it looks like after we laid out the decorative stone. Significantly nicer. The decorative stone is of the type yellow and black sea stone (50/50) with fraction 16-32.
Stage VII: Retaining wall on one short side of the villa
We didn't have time to build the retaining wall next to the stairs last year. We therefore took action and did it this year instead. The retaining wall will be about 10 meters long and run along one short side of the villa. The pictures below show how it looked before.
Stage VII: Excavation for the retaining wall
Excavation begins. Both in depth and behind it must be excavated.
Stage VII: The retaining wall is started
First, a fiber cloth is laid. Then we pour in crushed stone 0-32. The crusher is towed and watered every other until the correct levels have been reached. We have chosen to build up the retaining wall with Megawall Garden. It has a heel on the normal stones. The heel holds the stone in place. By using the geogrid, the wall can be made a little higher.
Stage VII: The stones for the retaining wall are assembled
Now comes the hardest part: getting started! The challenge is to get the wall straight and not too close to the existing stairs, as the wall must continue along the stairs. It is also important to get the stones of the first row at the right level "under" the ground surface because the ground surface slopes down along the wall. Furthermore, the stone itself must lie straight and plumb. We have chosen to put the first row in soil-moist concrete. You can also use stone flour. The metal pipes are draw-off paths, which are removed when you have reached the right level.
Stage VII: The bricks are stacked on top of each other
Now it goes away....Stack, sweep, measure, adjust, beat, stack, sweep, measure, adjust, beat.....And then backfill with soil behind the wall.
Stage VII: Retaining wall almost complete
Behind the bricks we have put Isodrän/Pordrän discs and separated them from the backfilled earth with cloth. We have also set geonets to stabilize and minimize any race. The geonet is placed just above the stones of the first row and higher up, depending on the height of the wall. As the rows are built up, we have backfilled with soil. Good to know is that there are discs that withstand more or less pressure. Choose a disc that can withstand a lot of pressure, just in case.
Stage VI: The retaining wall is provided with lighting
One late evening, lamps from the Silverline series are mounted in the brick. We drilled the holes in the stones ourselves, and it wasn't that easy. Took a long time and we had to drill both from the front and from the back. Cables are connected together and laid down in electrical conduits so that it is safe in case you happen to dig where the wall is.
On the retaining wall, we have laid a cover like Megatäck Patina. We highlight the retaining wall and stairs. Behind the wall we have laid decorative stone such as sea stone with fraction 16-32. We mixed black and white and yellow sea pebbles.
Stage VII: Decorative stone at the retaining wall
In front of the wall there will be a corridor with decorative stone. We will shovel out decorative stone, sea stone, gray-brown of fraction 6-12. The corridor should turn at the far end towards the future wooden deck at the back of the house.
Stage VIII: Discount under the kitchen windows
We were thinking of creating a flower bed under the kitchen windows. The idea is to have hardy plants and not plant them too close to the house. There should not be any plants that have deep roots. This is how it looked before.
Stage VIII: Discount almost ready
We start by digging to lay down electrical pipes for electricity for the lighting and installation hose for irrigation. Next, we lay ground cloth and shovel over it with decorative stone, sea stone with the fraction 16-32. We have chosen to mix black and white and yellow sea stone to match the house. Then we make three circles, using large circle stones. Then flowers are planted.
Stage X: Garden lighting goes the extra mile
We have chosen to illuminate the walkways, the retaining wall, the wooden deck and two selected trees in the garden. We have 10 lights of the Benders flexilight type mounted in the flagstone walkways. They have the shape of semi-stones and shine with a cold white glow. It is a 12V system that is lit with a time-controlled timer. On the wooden deck, we have put 7 Decklights from Hide-A-Lite in a 12V loop.
More lighting is added
In the retaining wall, we have chosen LED lamps from Silverline. There are five warm-white PowerLED Downlights in the retaining wall, which we installed so that they provide "trailing light" downwards. They illuminate the steps well, and as a positive side effect they also illuminate part of the house plinth. We have a large lilac tree that we chose to illuminate with a Silverline PowerLED Spotlight. On the other side of the house, we have installed a Silverline PowerLED Spotlight Pole that illuminates part of the big bigara tree. On the gable we have set up three Silverline PowerLED Pathlights. The lighting from Silverline is turned on by a so-called PowerLED Smart Controller, which is an automatic timer with dusk and dawn sensor. All in a 24V system.
The front - before and after pictures
The "outdoor season" is coming to an end and it is getting colder and rainier. We have managed to do almost everything we planned from the beginning during this season. Showing some before and after pictures, to get an easier overview.
Short side - Before and after pictures
It's not just the front we've done to, but also the sides of the house. Here below, for example, the new staircase and the retaining wall on one short side of the villa are shown.
In the spring, we will finish Stage 3, i.e. the last little bit of the side passage where it connects to the stairs. We set curbstones and put down the last lighting stones. Along the aisle on the other side, we continue with a "string" of marble crusher. Next to the balcony, paving stones with the same pattern as we had before are planned. Seastone is laid along the wall. The main corridor will have a low wall border against the future lawn towards the parking lot. There is an idea to remove part of the hedge and put a retaining wall along the ditch facing the street. At the back, another wooden deck is planned, which is larger than the balcony at the front.
The garden projects continue this year as well!
We continue with our stone projects and update the situation on the project website again this year! For those of you who have not seen previous pictures and read the descriptions, here is an overview of what was done:
- Walkways of ground stone with a border of bricks and edge supports
- Discount with bricks
- Borders around flowers and plants
- Retaining wall with stairs
- Decorative stone along the house
- Wooden deck made of impregnated wood
- Lighting on flagstone walkways, walls and trees
Stage III: The end of the side walk finally done!
We have finally finished Stage III, the corner where the side walk meets the stairs and the retaining wall at the souterrain level. We took the opportunity to make an edge support around the flower bed under the dining room windows and filled the flower bed with sea pebbles. The blue iris was edged with circle stones in a round circle.
Front: A low retaining wall along the street
We intend to remove the hedge and build a retaining wall along the street. The wall will be built approx. 3.50 meters along the street and approx. 6.50 meters along the entrance hall. It will be built with concrete bricks. The pictures show a drawing of the surface and how the surface looks before construction.
Preparations for the construction of retaining walls
We were partially helped to dig a "grave", about 1.40 cm wide and 0.65 meters deep from the side of the road. After that, ground cloth was laid out and the pit was filled with stone crusher 0/32. After every approx. 5 cm filling of crushed stone, the crushed stone in the pit was vibrated and watered. When the surface reached its correct level, a self-made frame of structural timber was laid out on the surface. Next, a rough concrete foundation was poured, after rebar was laid. The most difficult thing was to get the foundation to the right level so that it would match the existing flower bed on the other side of the entrance hall at the height, and to get the wall perpendicular both to the entrance hall, garage driveway and the street outside.
Installation of bricks
When the foundation sole has dried, the installation of the bricks begins. The bricks are installed one by one in a longitudinal direction. The bricks are glued to the stone below with assembly glue. Each stone row is placed with approx. 1.5 cm indentation against the stone below.
The low retaining wall is ready!
After four rounds of glued bricks and cutting the end piece towards the garage driveway, the retaining wall is now ready.
The garage driveway is widened and asphalted
In connection with the building of the retaining wall, we took the opportunity to widen the garage driveway by about 1.25 meters. We dug a "grave" by hand that was about 30 cm deep. Then it was filled with ground cloth, crushed stone 0/32 and at the top a layer (approx. 5 cm) with crushed stone 0/16. Between laps, the surface was vibrated and watered. Then a construction company came and removed the existing asphalt, leveled, vibrated and put on a layer of about 5 cm of new asphalt.
Back: Built from wooden decks
In this blog we have not written anything about the back of the house. It's because our focus has been to finish the front and one side. We chose to make a wooden deck at the back. It will be a larger wooden deck than the one we have on the front from 2013. The picture shows how the surface looked before construction.
Preparations before the construction of the wooden deck
We started by raking so that we got soil clearance. Then we dug pits and filled with crushed stone, leveled and laid on garden tiles and leveled again. We then put on ground cloth, to avoid future weeds growing through the trellis.
Carrying lines, joists and posts will be in place
First, the "frame" was made with carrying lines. The carrying lines are laid in a longitudinal direction and have dimensions of 45x170mm. Next, joists were mounted on top of the supporting lines. They are 45x120mm. They are set with cc 60cm. Closest to the house, there will be a lower staircase, so that you go up to the balcony. Therefore, a "frame" is prepared closest to the balcony door. Finally, the posts are put in place.
Installation of the planks
We chose to split the wooden deck in half with a plank board. After that, the clapboards were sawn and screwed. There was a total of approx. 320 meters of 28x120mm and approx. 18 meters of 28x145mm. The 28x145 dimension was used for the frieze that framed the wooden trolley.
The wooden deck finished
The wooden deck was finished in late summer. There will be another rail, but it will have to be until spring...
At the back, we plan to excavate to make a paved surface adjacent to the wooden deck. Further on, we plan to make some kind of retaining wall/terracing on another part of the back. The pictures below show before-after pictures of the front.
New year and we continue with front and back!
Last year we refrained from putting a fence on the new wooden deck. We are doing that this year instead. The corridor at the side of the house ends so it connects to the wooden deck. We also continue with the surface at the retaining wall facing the street on the front of the villa.
The wooden deck gets a fence all around
Last year it was too late in the season to put a fence on the new wooden deck. We will do that this year instead.
The back - The fence around the wooden deck is taking shape
We have decided that it fits best with "lying bars" for the fence. This is because the balcony above has horizontal slats. The wooden deck will have slats of the dimension 28x45 mm. We were thinking of having 14 rows of ribs. Here we have come a bit with the cutting and assembly of the ribs.
The fence around the wooden deck is ready
Now all slats and crossbars are mounted. The lintel is slightly rounded so that the water runs off more easily. The lamps in the wooden deck provide a nice trailing light on the fence both inside and outside.
We continue with the front
We started work last year on making a small wall facing the street. Because it was late in the season, we didn't have time to finish the surface. We will continue with that this year instead.
Front page - continued
We shall pave the surface with sea stone 16-32 in the same mixture as we have along the house. It is also intended to have a small path up to the mulberry tree as well as a flower bed with bushes and small "mini ornamental trees". The slope along the wall should have a higher curb, so that the topsoil does not run out. We have also discussed whether we should have a small pond / fountain on the surface, but time will tell.
The back - plans for the area around the tree deck
Next year, the back will have a slate-covered surface in direct connection with the wooden deck. There we plan to put an outdoor kitchen, with better grilling possibilities. Possibly a roof is put over that part, for example in the form of joists with sail cloth and/or plants. The stairs to the wooden deck will be redone so that it fits better with the future surface.
Around that surface there will possibly be a small retaining wall.
Around that surface there will possibly be a small retaining wall.
The back - before and after pictures
Below are some pictures of the back. We have focused mostly on the front and one side, so there will be more focus on the back next season.
We will finish the surface on the front during the late summer/autumn, with decorative stone and once up to the mulberry tree. On the back, a slate-paved surface is planned in connection with the wooden deck. Even further ahead, a low retaining wall is planned to "frame" a corner against neighboring plots.