I have only been operating for a couple of weeks now and already I have been asked 3 separate times to quote for removing gravel from a path/border, putting in a new membrane and then putting the gravel back on top.
I am fairly comfortable with doing this but wondered if anyone else finds this is a regular job and I suspect I need to be washing the gravel before replacing, so, how do I wash gravel?
This website has been priceless for me as a new start up, thanks for all the advice
Is it worth washing the gravel? You could spend a lot of time and water doing that, or could you try sieveing it using something like a Scheppach rotary sieve?
Either way wouldn't it be quicker and cheaper for you and the customer to replace it with new?
Would the cost of disposing of all the old gravel and buying new might make it worthwhile cleaning it and replacing it instead?
I have experimented washing gravel, and it takes ages and uses lots and lots of water! If you cleaned it you will still have the 'compost' to get rid of. In the past I have only dug out and replaced. I can see the attraction of sieving, but am trying to justify the cost! If you have space to store the old gravel, it always comes in usefull for something!
What does the customer(s) expect to see? If they expect new, clean-as-a-whistle gravel, then I would replace.
If not, then it may be worth taking up, replacing membrane, spreading gravel and blast through with pressure washer. If there is a lot of mud mixed in, then go back to Plan A!
Simon, my thoughts on this:
I have laid new gravel next to old gravel, looks a bit naff and doesn't blend in properly - but that's what the client wanted on their driveway as they didn't want the expense of re-gravelling the whole lot.
I have never tried washing gravel, personally I wouldn't bother - its as likely to take you as long in labour to lift, wash and relay the old stuff as it would to get some fresh stuff delivered and laid. Let alone the mess that is going to be created/have to be cleared up afterwards....
I'm sure given the choice the customer would rather have new stuff laid and that's the direction I would steer them in anyway...
As regards the old stuff, I have several people who would gladly take it off my hands, so personally wouldn't need a skip!
Gravel and chippings are funny the number of times I have spoken to clients who say i had the gravel installed so my garden was maintenance free!!! (when will they learn there is no such thing!) yet they put it under a hedge that drops or under large trees and then moan about the leaves and having to pick them out. I always advise customers to pin a tarpaling down prior to cutting the the hedge or the winter leaf drop over the gravel then you can just roll it up and take the leaves to your compost bin or the local tip and it saves a lot of time on your knees picking up every leaf, it may not look pretty but saves a lot of time.
Thanks for the advice. Will probably try and dissuade them
Paul, I like your opinion about not using membrane under gravel.
But I think for most plants being planted surrounded with layer of Mot - in the long run not recommended.
Most plants do prefer some air to the roots. I do get your way in any other area with no plants. ( or if you break some area around the plants.
simon you could try using a cement mixer to wash the gravel but you will still have to strain the water off
Simon, purely for customer economics, i would recommend taking the old gravel off, applying new membrane, then reapplying the same gravel, then jet washing it. the dirt will sift to the bottom of the gravel. Before putting down the membrane, apply a weed killer.
As Duncan has said, that 'dirt' which builds up on a gravel area is leaf compost . there is no point in putting a 2inch hardcore base then applying gravel if the area is overshadowed by decidious trees or shrubs. Compost will always build up. The only way to stop the buildup is to inform the customer that they need to have a regular weeky 'blowaway' to keep composting at bay.