9 November 2009
pavior saviour 3
Laying the bricks is simple. They are just placed in position, knocked tight to their neighbours and gently tamped firm with a rubber mallet. For the circles they have been laid in a herringbone pattern. This looks lovely but is a nuisance to edge neatly. Small angled pieces need to be cut from bricks to fill in but using these reclaimed bricks does make this rather difficult. They are brittle and shatter to smithereens as often as not. The edges eventually were cobbled as best as could be and then a dry cement mix packed in around to set slowly as soil moisture creeps in. Each circle is raised in the middle and this has given each a gently domed finish. This looks very satisfying and will hopefully stand up to the levels of foot traffic without slumping. We shall see.
The straight path sections were laid in a simple grid pattern, also tamped into place but thankfully with little need to cut any to finish. Where the new paving meets the old the line of the bricks runs at a diagonal connecting both together very nicely. As this weathers in the join should not be noticeable at all.
To hold everything in place sand, copious amounts of sand, are brushed back and forth over the path. This works its way down into the gaps and locks it all together. Using normal sharp sand it takes a number of days for it to work right down and needs repeated sweeping back and forth. All advice says to get kiln dried sand for this which is meant to trickle down as easily as that in an hourglass. Unfortunately every building supplier I've contacted about this has no idea what I'm on about. I hate that.
Once the bricks were well firmed in I attacked any protrusions with an angle grinder to eliminate any trips and smooth off sharp edges. Very noisy and disturbing to a BBC interview being filmed in studios on Flitcroft Street. They had no qualms in demanding I stop for a couple of hours - I had no qualms in refusing (I pay my licence fee).
To finish off bed edging kerb stones were moved and reset at the path edge. They are enormously heavy and need nothing but their weight to sit firm.
The garden was closed to the public for six weeks during the repaving to a daily chorus of complaints. I think the results are worth the wait. If not I'm sure they will all be only too happy tell me.