Category Archives: Construction

Garden Pond Construction

There is nothing like a pond to add sparkle and movement to a garden, and it need not occupy a great deal of space — the minimum satisfactory surface area is 3.5sq m (m2). The optimum depth to aim for is 600mm. Even the largest garden-pond need be no more than 750mm deep while 400mm should be considered the minimum depth. Avoid making a saucer-shaped pond — the sides should slope outwards at about 20 degrees to the vertical and round the edge you should form a shelf about 250mm deep and 250mm wide on which marginal water plants can be grown in plastic baskets.

There are basically two modern materials from which to make a pond — flexible plastic and moulded, rigid plastic. Flexible plastic is used for pond-liners which give you complete control over the shape of the pond, while the rigid plastic the size and shape of the pond are controlled by the manufacturer.

Moulded plastics

These are installed simply by digging a hole

Fountains, lights and waterfalls Low-voltage submersible pumps are available to form fountains or waterfalls. The pump is simply placed in the pond and the low-voltage cable is taken back to the house, through a hole drilled in a window frame, to connect with an indoor transformer which is plugged into the mains supply. Low-voltage lighting sets are connected in a similar way.

Liners

The best liners are made from butyl rubber sheeting, which is the material often used to form reservoirs. Second to butyl rubber are nylon-reinforced PVC liners, and there is a third, cheaper sort, which is just laminated PVC.

Planting

Planting should take place between late April and early September, and you can begin a few days after the pond has been filled, although you should wait for two to three weeks before introducing fish. Apart from floating plants, all the other types — marginals and oxygenators — are planted in heavy garden soil in plastic planting-crates which are surfaced with a layer of pea gravel. The crates of the shallow marginal plants, such as water irises, are stood on the planting shelf while plants which need deeper water, such as the oxygenators and water lilies, are placed on the pond base.

Building Screen-block Walls

A screen-block wall should not span more than 3m without intermediate pillar supports. You cannot cut screen blocks nor the pilasters, so check the exact dimensions when planning. Blocks normally measure 300 x 300 x 90mm thick, and pilasters 195 X 195 x 200mm high including joints. Foundations For a low wall, foundations should consistContinue Reading

Erecting Fences For Beginners

Posts in holes The traditional way to put up fence posts is to dig the holes for them. The best way is to use a post-hole borer which makes a smaller and neater hole than digging with a spade. Post-hole borers can be hired and in this case it is a good idea to makeContinue Reading

Concrete Repairs For The Home

Repairs to concrete are easy to conceal, provided that you take care to match the finish to the existing surface texture. Cracks The occasional crack in a concrete path can occur for various reasons and it is simple to fill in the damage. However, where there are numerous cracks and depressions the cause is likelyContinue Reading

Brickwork Skills Made Simple

When you look around you will see that there are many different types and colours of bricks available. A visit to a large stockist or a browse through a catalogue will enable you to choose something suitable. For garden walls you will probably want to choose a ‘facing’ brick which has an attractive decorative faceContinue Reading

How Lay Paving Slabs

Choose your paving according to type of construction, colour, surface finish, shape, and size. Hydraulically pressed slabs are about 37mm thick and are strong enough to support the weight of a car provided that they are laid properly. Cast concrete slabs are about 50mm thick and are heavier but their method of construction makes themContinue Reading

Concreting Skills Explained

Concrete is made by mixing together aggregates (sand, and gravel or stones) and cement with water. For most DIY jobs you can use all-in aggregates, or ballast. There are different types of cement available but for most DIY jobs ordinary Portland cement will do. This is light grey in colour and is normally supplied inContinue Reading

Brickwork Repair and Maintenance

Although you will probably want to leave major wall repairs to a professional, there are some jobs you can do yourself. Brickwork repairs Even if your outside brickwork is sound, it will benefit from an occasional scrub down with a stiff broom and clean water. Mould or algae can be removed by scrubbing the surfaceContinue Reading

Guttering Repair Tips

One of the most useful improvements in house construction in recent years has been the widespread use of plastic gutters and downpipes, which need virtually no maintenance or decoration and which are easy to install and remove. Their predecessors, mainly cast iron, can corrode away, and once cracked or broken can be difficult to repair.Continue Reading

How To Do Roofing Repairs

As with repairs to chimney stacks, only the competent and confident handyman should attempt roof repairs. Safety is even more important in this case, since you will be working on the roof slope without even a friendly chimney stack to hold on to. Roof ladders are essential unless the repair needed is within easy reachContinue Reading

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