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Old 23.09.2011, 17:39
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Concrete - DIY advice

We have a paved path leading to the front door. Along the edge of the path is a strip of gravel roughly 6cm wide. On the other side of the gravel are large blocks of stone forming the retaining wall. 3 year old son is not able to stop himself (nor am I able to stop him) from digging his hands into the fine gravel and tossing it over the retaining wall onto the driveway below. It is annoying me, but now also the neighbours (no gravel gets tossed onto their land but I guess they are irked by the untidiness )

So I reckon the solution is to mix up a couple of buckets of concrete, remove the gravel and replace with said concrete.



What are your opionions/advice on my solution; in particular
  • is the concrete idea a good one?
  • never made concrete before .. do I just need a bag of beton pulver, sand and water then follow instructions on bag?
or would I be better to plant some low (by which I mean couple of cms) creeping sort of ground cover plant .. but what would last out the winter and stay compact?

Any tips gratefully received. Am at my wits end on this one and it is meaning that 3 year old is currently banned from garden which seems bonkers in this lovely weather.
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Old 23.09.2011, 17:56
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Re: Concrete - DIY advice

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What are your opionions/advice on my solution; in particular
  • is the concrete idea a good one?
  • never made concrete before .. do I just need a bag of beton pulver, sand and water then follow instructions on bag?
Yes, exactly that. For that simple task you don't even need special equipment. Depending on the length of the strip, a plastic bowl of the right size (from underneath the kitchen sink) and a wooden spatula (like those for non-stick pans) may do the job, otherwise by a bigger bowl. But please know that both bowl and spatula cannot be used for their original purposes any longer after use for concrete work.

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... or would I be better to plant some low (by which I mean couple of cms) creeping sort of ground cover plant .. but what would last out the winter and stay compact?
Chances are you'll have just about every kind of plants growing in that 6 cm strip of soil but those you planted. And how can you be sure that ecb Jr. will not develop a penchant for pulling young ground cover plants at the tender age of 3 1/4 years?
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Old 23.09.2011, 17:57
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Re: Concrete - DIY advice

What's up with the whole DIY architecture topics today?

Is the gravel next to a wall? Or between concrete floor and stone floor?

Paths need to have a certain percentage of permeability, otherwise it will get flooded. This percentage is actually given by law and is taken into consideration when planning landscape architecture.

If there is not enough places on this path that allows rain water to filter into the earth, the water might provoke damages on close by buildings (by causing water to stagnate and damage the walls or foundations), or even provoke problems on the street where the water will eventually drain to if the whole path is concrete.

Can’t give you tips on the DIY concrete, sorry. That’s one thing I never really tried/learnt.
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Old 23.09.2011, 18:01
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Re: Concrete - DIY advice

Thanks Helm. You're making me think ...

The path has retaining wall stones to one side, and lawn to the other side. The path has a minimal slope away from the gravel (towards the lawn), so cannot think that the gravel contributes much by way of soak away, I rather sort of guessed that as the retaining wall stones are those huge, rough cut stones you often see, it would be too difficult/impossible to cut the paving stones to fit right up to the wall.

Last edited by ecb; 23.09.2011 at 18:16.
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Old 23.09.2011, 18:03
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Re: Concrete - DIY advice

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But please know that both bowl and spatula cannot be used for their original purposes any longer after use for concrete work.
Really good job you mentioned this
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Old 23.09.2011, 18:06
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Re: Concrete - DIY advice

How about.. putting some potted plants and/or ornaments on the gravel instead?

Helm, we are just trying to keep you awake with all those professional questions after the HEAVY night of drinking
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Old 23.09.2011, 18:11
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Re: Concrete - DIY advice

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How about.. putting some potted plants and/or ornaments on the gravel instead?
We tried putting really quite BIG stones, but they went the way of the gravel .. indicating that the interest is not the gravel but the throwing instead . Would be worried pots and ornaments would go the same way (although could start playing neighbours at their own game .. they have a startling selection of little ceramic frogs and garden fancies nestling amongst their bark chippings ...)
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Old 23.09.2011, 18:16
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Re: Concrete - DIY advice

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(although could start playing neighbours at their own game .. they have a startling selection of little ceramic frogs and garden fancies nestling amongst their bark chippings ...)
Oi oi oi... When I was a kid, my grandmother kept complaining about the horrible dwarves the neighbour had decided to put on the wall dividing their gardens.

Me, a responsible, lovingly 6 year old, decided it was time to make my gramma feel better and taught those dwarves to "fly".
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Old 23.09.2011, 18:20
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Re: Concrete - DIY advice

Are you trying to make excuses for my 3 year old

I believe all garden dwarves should be "taught how to fly"
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Old 26.09.2011, 14:57
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Re: Concrete - DIY advice

concrete is a goof idea, but u have to be careful, specially in CH...
- it should have a slight ~1% slope sideways and longitudinally as well. That way it wont get flooded or icy...
- it should be min 10 cm thick, preferably reinforced with a wire mesh
- concrete is -thumb rule- 4 shovel gravel, 1 shovel cement and half a bucket water, mixed and adjusted with gravel/water to have a good consistency - for swiss winter I would add half shovel extra cement...
- u should make no larger than 2 m blocks at a time to have dilatation otherwise u cracks will develop due to thermal expansion/shrinkage
- don't do concrete works under 10 degrees
- cover fresh concrete with a nylon foil and keep it wet in the first 2-3 days to have a crack free surface

so no need to buy overpriced premixed gravel, but you can make your own much cheaper...

ps.: I don't like concrete garden path. so if you have a possibility to buy blocks of natural stone, lay those and put grass in between... Looks better, natural and you wont have to mix concrete...
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Old 26.09.2011, 15:07
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Re: Concrete - DIY advice

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We have a paved path leading to the front door. Along the edge of the path is a strip of gravel roughly 6cm wide. On the other side of the gravel are large blocks of stone forming the retaining wall. 3 year old son is not able to stop himself (nor am I able to stop him) from digging his hands into the fine gravel and tossing it over the retaining wall onto the driveway below. It is annoying me, but now also the neighbours (no gravel gets tossed onto their land but I guess they are irked by the untidiness )
If you can stop him from doing it for a few more weeks, next Spring he'll have grown out of it.

Our middle one stopped doing the same thing this year. He was throwing the gravel onto the grass which didn't do the grass or the lawn-mower any good.

We told him off every time he did it. It eventually got through to him that it was naughty and then he stopped.

If your son knows he is being naughty then covering it over with something else will mean that he thinks he's won and he'll move onto something else equally annoying. Just a thought.
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Old 27.09.2011, 00:28
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Re: Concrete - DIY advice

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concrete is a goof idea, but u have to be careful, specially in CH...
- it should have a slight ~1% slope sideways and longitudinally as well. That way it wont get flooded or icy...
- it should be min 10 cm thick, preferably reinforced with a wire mesh
- concrete is -thumb rule- 4 shovel gravel, 1 shovel cement and half a bucket water, mixed and adjusted with gravel/water to have a good consistency - for swiss winter I would add half shovel extra cement...
- u should make no larger than 2 m blocks at a time to have dilatation otherwise u cracks will develop due to thermal expansion/shrinkage
- don't do concrete works under 10 degrees
- cover fresh concrete with a nylon foil and keep it wet in the first 2-3 days to have a crack free surface

so no need to buy overpriced premixed gravel, but you can make your own much cheaper...

ps.: I don't like concrete garden path. so if you have a possibility to buy blocks of natural stone, lay those and put grass in between... Looks better, natural and you wont have to mix concrete...
Really? All of this for a 6cm (at most) wide strip??

Paging AFC ... think I need your expert help ...
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Old 27.09.2011, 00:50
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Re: Concrete - DIY advice

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If you can stop him from doing it for a few more weeks, next Spring he'll have grown out of it.
Is it possible to cover the gravel with new wooden floor boards until he grows old enough?
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Old 25.02.2021, 22:56
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Re: Concrete - DIY advice

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If you can stop him from doing it for a few more weeks, next Spring he'll have grown out of it.

Our middle one stopped doing the same thing this year. He was throwing the gravel onto the grass which didn't do the grass or the lawn-mower any good.

We told him off every time he did it. It eventually got through to him that it was naughty and then he stopped.

If your son knows he is being naughty then covering it over with something else will mean that he thinks he's won and he'll move onto something else equally annoying. Just a thought.
not sure how i got onto this thread, but: what age did he stop? my son also loves to throw stones... unfortunately, also at cars...
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Old 25.02.2021, 23:41
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Re: Concrete - DIY advice

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not sure how i got onto this thread, but: what age did he stop? my son also loves to throw stones... unfortunately, also at cars...
Get my dad around and he'll stop immediately.
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Old 25.02.2021, 23:48
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Re: Concrete - DIY advice

Putting my 'early childhood educator' had on. Firstly, a 3 year old should have rudimentary self-control to understand that he is not allowed to do that. However, you will need to reinforce and redirect, a lot, until he really can be trusted not to do it.


Secondly, does he have a place where he can play and explore dirt, sand and rocks in a safe way ? A bucket to put them in (redirect) with supervision ? A dustpan and brush to clean up the mess ?



Without seeing photos I can't suggest any more really specific options, but you can do a couple of other things like putting planks of wood down to reduce the gravel, putting up a barrier, or yes, indeed, supervising him in the garden until he is old enough to manage to follow the very basic rule of not throwing stones onto the neighbour's side...



I'm not sure I'd leave a 3 year old unsupervised in the garden....maybe by age 4-5 it would be realistic...



As for the wits end....well...that's a balance of persistence (toddlers are amazingly persistent) and patience (of the adult) and 99% of the time in power struggles, the toddler wins... so don't be too hard on yourself...


And please take him for a walk down the local stream, where he can pick and throw rocks in to his heart's content...
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Old 25.02.2021, 23:51
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Re: Concrete - DIY advice

Oh, and one more thing - if you do decide to take the concrete option, I recommend speaking to the local hardware/garden store... My dad stabilised the paving and gravel with a mixture of cement with a lot of sand - made a generally stick-together surface, but was not difficult to break up and remove later when needed...



And I'm assuming you own the place...
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Old 26.02.2021, 00:43
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Re: Concrete - DIY advice

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Oh, and one more thing - if you do decide to take the concrete option, I recommend speaking to the local hardware/garden store... My dad stabilised the paving and gravel with a mixture of cement with a lot of sand - made a generally stick-together surface, but was not difficult to break up and remove later when needed...



And I'm assuming you own the place...
I hope his kids has grown out of it by now
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