DRIVE: installation

    Once the fences were installed we were finally ready to get started with the herringbone drive. We had sourced the (very expensive) clay pavers and designed the layout so it was just a case of making some phone calls and getting the quotes. We had a few extra tasks to include like fixing the front wall and step, but with the design plan to show to the contractors it was fairly straightforward. We would buy the clay pavers and they would do the rest. As with the fence, we wanted about three quotes. Some people give you the impression that they are really too busy to do your job and quite often they put in a very high quote. Presumably if we are stupid enough to pay that much they would find the time to do it... we had a couple of those. We also had one who didn’t turn up. Good marketing ploy.

    compacted hardcore for the drive February 2014: The compacted hardcore for the drive.

    A useful resource these days is Checkatrade. You can use them as a Yellow Pages but it also gives you a chance to view their online portfolio of work. We needed herringbone brickwork for the drive plus a wall, some repointing and bits of remedial work on the old path. We needed a “hard landscaping” specialist rather than someone who just did tarmac and block paving. Hard landscaping includes patios, decking, retaining walls, fencing, paths, etc., but obviously the herringbone clay pavers would be the most important.

    The other useful aspect with Checkatrade (as with most online stuff these days) is that everyone is a slave to their customer feedback. There is a direct link between their current clients and their future livelihood. My very unscientific analysis of this process is that it works extremely well. Our unbearably polite landscaping team did a great job. There were a few slight glitches with their interpretation of our very exact design but all in all we were very happy.

    Re-doing a drive is one of those tasks that, for me, doesn’t really fit the DIY formula. An extension is relatively cheap in terms of materials, so the self-build route can make a prohibitively expensive project possible. There is no reason why a block drive shouldn’t be attempted but I found the balance between the material costs and the labour mean’t it just made sense to pay someone this time. There is large volume of material to remove. You need a range of specialist equipment (diggers, compactors, etc) and there is a lot of stone cutting. Maybe for a new drive you just do what you do to earn your money and then pay someone else to do it...

    borders for herringbone drive February 2014: The borders were cemented in togther with the small retaining wall by the lawn.

    insert for the drain cover February 2014: The insert for the drain cover was aligned within the herringbone design.

    cut curve of clay pavers February 2014: The cut curve of clay pavers where the drives narroows to the side gate.

    herringbone clay pavers with kiln-dried sand February 2014: the infilled herringbone clay pavers with kiln-dried sand brushed in to fill the gaps.



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