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Options for covering concrete

I have just visited a potential client with a typical tiny yard behind a terrace house. It is completely concreted over. The concrete is in poor condition, cracking in places, but removing it is not an option, so I am looking for options to cover it up. The obvious is decking, which would be possible. However, parts of the yard are in shade for most of the day, so I'm concerned about the potential algae growth.Another thought was to use that plastic gravel stabiliser honeycomb stuff (with gravel obviously). Gravel would reflect the light better than decking and wouldn't green over in the same way.Would either of these solutions create drainage problems? What other options are there?Any planting will have to be in pots or raised beds. Can I put raised beds against the house and existing shed, lined to prevent water seeping out the sides? I'm very concerned about creating a damp problem in the house. Do I need to waterproof / seal the wall as well as line the planter? Should I leave a gap between the bed and the house? Won't that fill with detritus and create a damp problem?Any advice very gratefully received.

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Replies

  • Hi Clive,
    Thanks for your reply.

    The owner has been ill for some time, but is intending to do the work himself, as and when he is able. He is not physically able to remove the existing concrete and he can't afford to pay someone to do it for him. If it was a little slab I would try harder to argue him out of it, but it's thick, it covers the entire yard, there's a further huge slab supporting the shed, access is a nightmare, there's nowhere to site a skip...

    Because he's intending to do the build himself, the planters would probably be wood.

    There's sufficient clearance for decking.

    As for current drainage, there's a RWP on the house and a single surface water drain half way down the yard on the boundary of the property.

    Because there's no open ground for water to filter into I was concerned that the gravel stabiliser grid might hold water (but perhaps it will seep out the bottom and make its way to the current drain as now?).

    Planters against the wall make the best use of what little space there is. My primary concern is protecting the house walls from damp coming from the planters. He will live with what he's got and fill the yard with pots if I can't find something he can do himself. Whilst that's an option I would prefer to give him some suggestions that improve his outlook a bit!
  • You don't have a pic of this site do you? It would certainly help to be able to visualise the current drainage situation, where the boundary is, etc.... there is always a solution though.

    If only he had even a little cash to be able to get one of our fellow lj friends to sort him out - that'd be perfect solution!
  • If you're concerned about algae growth on decking use UPM Profi Deck which is made from recycled material and claims to be a high friction surface. Also available is a composite material of 80% hard wood and polymers which can be order with antifungal treatment. Stabilisation systems such as CEDs Nidagravel are not an option because you cannot remove the concrete and there is no where for the water to go as these systems are all designed to soakaway directly in to the substrate.
  • Thank you everyone for your replies.

    Sorry, no pics. He's a freecycling, LETS trader with a strong system of barter buddies, who sees no reason to pay for anything (and that includes me). I'm offering some advice, but nothing more. Unfortunately, no-one in his network is up to (or is that 'up for') the job of removing the concrete, so it looks like decking is the only viable option

    The site drains well at the moment. He 'just' needs to make sure this continues.

    Does anyone have any advice about planters against the house wall? What is the best way to seal the wall? Or is it better to maintain a gap?
  • PRO

    Hi sue

    I would always advocate leaving a gap for air circulation.

    I

  • hello everybody!
    couple of days ago saw something that won ASLA 2009 Professional Honor Award in Residential Design Category... definitely NOT something that would recommend, but it's interesting to be seen

    http://www.asla.org/2009awards/330.html
  • Just another idea,
    I had few situations dilling with the same problems. one was a raised patio that was built by a contractor that the customer brought and i built around it beds from train sleeper. that was the first garden I did as a business about 10 years ago.
    the thing is the slope was bad so rain water used to go to the house. In that case it was tiled .
    So fist in your case you can just cut small 'tunnels with a disc directing to where you want. or a bigger tunnel filled with pebbles - sort of a feature.

    In my case I asked the contractor to take out to lines of tiles and he put them back in a lower angel creating a tunnel.
    hope that is helping
  • Thank you everyone for all your suggestions. I have set out all the options for the client (including the ones that will cost him money), so I'll have to wait and see what he chooses to do. I'm not holding my breath - on my last visit I noted that two old baths had become planters!
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