A self build house project diary
by Oliver Cannell

Creating the driveway and garden path

Today the digger left the site for the last time, having completed the main works on the driveway and path.

Having spent most of the last eleven months in muddy conditions on-site, we now have a solid and relatively clean surface, leading from the road up to the front door. This will make it much easier for all the various trade-people to get in and out of the house, without dragging mud inside.

Another retaining wall

The driveway is wide enough to park two cars, side by side, although for now it will be home to our one car and the wheelie bins. As were only allowed to make the driveway a certain gradient, even though the incline of the neighbours' drives are much steeper (as you can see in the photos) we have had to build some small retaining walls around the outside to hold back the land.

The amount of land being retained isn't huge, so we were able to create a relatively shallow footing for the walls. The blocks were then laid on their sides, rather than creating a double-skinned wall with a concrete infill, which was quite a bit quicker and cheaper.

Up the garden path

Included in this structure are some steps leading up to the garden path from the drive. Eventually I would like to render the front face of the retaining wall and paint it the same colour as the house (or even K-Rend it the same as the house). The top of the wall will look nice if we can run some more blue engineering bricks around it, to match the boundary wall. The driveway surface will probably be just tarmaced for now, to save money at this stage.

I'm not sure what surface to put along the garden path, on the patio area and up driveway steps - but natural stone slabs look really nice. Again, this will come down to cost though, so we shall have to see what's possible when we get to that stage.

It'll be great to get all this stuff done, and the banks and beds planted up, but for now the house is the priority and there are plenty of more important things that need sorting (and paying for) before we can even think about some of the cosmetic features. There's plenty of time for all that.

Next entry: Getting the roof watertight (Wednesday 3rd December 2014)

Previous entry: Final structural roof elements and visual details (Monday 24th November 2014)

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