Projects sometimes seem small at first on paper, and then expand rapidly when they are put into operation ! Our sleeper wall has grown and evolved as each day progresses. Partly because imaginative extras and diversions are excitedly added at whim, and partly because it's been visually hard to settle on the final design untill the initial earth moving stages have been completed. Professional landscapers would have a clearer vision of the end product... but we don't ! Still it adds to the excitement ! Materials used so far:
~ Railway sleepers
160 used 3m x 275mm x 225mm 90kg Russian salt treated bulkhead sleepers
~ Concrete to fix sleepers
11tons of Balast
(sand and 20mm stone)
~ 88 bags of cement
Most useful tools:
Chainsaw & sharpener, cement mixer, sledge hammer, crowbar, spirit level, wheel barrows, shovel, tape, string line.
Time taken so far:
5 days: JCB Digger. Cutting shape into bank, moving earth, digging trenches, levelling banks
7 days: Team of three people cutting sleepers, mixing cement, installing upright sleepers in trenches, and backfilling with cement.Thoughts so far:
1) The job would be inconceivable without a skilled JCB. The clay ground is so hard that even a mini digger would struggle.
2) The sleepers have been sunk in concrete 2 - 2ft 6" in the ground. Be as generous as possible with the depth of the trenches.
3) Getting the levels right of the sleepers, is as much about eye, as it is about using spirit levels.
4) The job would be a nightmare in pouring rain, and sludgy trenches. We started in dry weather but a weather change always threatened
5) The chain saw has needed to be sharpened about 15 times so far, so it's crucial to be able to sharpen it yourself. (It's simple, cheap and takes about 5 minutes with tools costing less than a tenner !)
6) Having three or four people to carry and install heavy sleepers is essential if you value your back and good humour!