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Old Tarmac Patio Area

phippa2001phippa2001 DerbyshirePosts: 8
Hello everyone,

I have an area of old tarmac in the back garden that provides access to the back garden gate, kitchen door (which is the route in and out of the garden from the house) and living room window which will be turned into a patio door. Please see attached 4 photos showing the current situation. Excuse the dogs bed!

The tarmac surface is old and a lot of loose stone is brought into the house by feet/shoes. I don't like the tarmac. I was looking for inspiration and ideas from people please. I wanted to find a way of replacing, rejuvenating or developing the area so as to look nice, be safe for my dog and for when there's heavy rain and hopefully avoiding too much fuss or cost. I am pretty handy at DIY and my dad is a great gardener so I hope to tackle this project.

I had pondered about covering the tarmac with an epoxy, flexible coating though was worried about surface water and run off. The obvious choice would be to pave the area but there's cost in stone pavers and it's mean excavating and putting in hardcore. I had thought about creating a concrete path towards the existing path that goes down the garden and then turning the rest of the tarmac to lawn but we keep our wheelie bins to one side of this yard and it's always handy to have some non-lawn hard surface for other DIY work. So I don't think a lawn will work.

The garden gets sun all afternoon, the sun being positioned above the fence shown to the right of the photos so putting a raised planter next to the fence in order to cover up tarmac wouldn't be ideal for any plants.

My current idea is to dig up the tarmac, create forms with wood and pour various large concrete pads, perhaps with gravel or small ground cover planting (camomile, thyme etc,) between each of the pads (see attached 2 screenshots). 

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated! Thank you


  • IamweedyIamweedy Cheshire East. Posts: 1,364
    Tarmac is nasty I would get it dug up and disposed of if you can. You can usually find uses for paving slabs etc, or give them away. 

    'You must have some bread with it me duck!'

  • phippa2001phippa2001 DerbyshirePosts: 8
    Thanks for getting in touch Iamweedy. I agree, I don't like tarmac in the garden so that's why I want to get rid of it or find a way of covering it or developing it into something better. I don't have paving slabs.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,583
    I would definitely get rid of the tarmac.  You can probably find slabs on Freecycle to help you make a cheap replacement area that will give clean access to the house for you and your dog.   Extend as time, budget and materials allow.

    I would erect a chest or head high fence or trellis to hide the bins and then either paint it or cover with climbing plants.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • a1154a1154 Sunny South Scotland Posts: 1,033
    I’d keep it and put a nice gravel down on it. You would need to put a low border on the lawn to stop it travelling.
    Is that a drain cover? You will need to keep the access to that. 
    I like gravel, and it’s comparatively cheap. 
  • phippa2001phippa2001 DerbyshirePosts: 8
    Thanks all. I have gravel around the greenhouse and fig tree, though I'm not sure about having it so close to the back door as it might be brought into the house on shoes and, depending on the stone, could be tough on my whippet's feet (he's a wimp)..

    The pavers are an option, though may involve more work in getting individual levels etc right compared to perhaps making wood forms and pouring larger concrete pads.

    I like the idea of hiding the bins and had seen someone on instagram build a wooden shed like cover for her bins with a sedum roof..
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,583
    We have gravel on our drive.  I've had to lock the front door and make everyone, including the dogs, come in thru the annex which has a longer, wooden step to get to it and a door mat and then a rug.  Gravel imports sorted.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • phippa2001phippa2001 DerbyshirePosts: 8
    Hi obelixx, so you've had to change the route into the house because of the gravel. That doesn't sound ideal for my situation.

  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Derbyshire but with a Nottinghamshire postcode. Posts: 16,473
    My front drive was concrete. Because of soakaways from two houses undermining it, part of it was unstable and a slab was rocking every time I drove over it. I have had the whole drive dug up and the huge hole filled in,edged the whole thing with blocks, new front door steps,  then they laid a membrane, limestone chippings, porous tarmac, and finished it with resin coated pebble finish, with a fine sand on it to make it non slip.  It is porous, water soaks through it. It looks good and doesn't move.  If anyone wants the contractors details, please PM me.  It costs about £120 a square metre, and took four days.
  • phippa2001phippa2001 DerbyshirePosts: 8
    Thanks for the advert, but it's not in keeping with this post.
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Derbyshire but with a Nottinghamshire postcode. Posts: 16,473
    It's not an advert , Phippa, I was just offering an idea. As I live on Notts, Derbys border, the contractors would be fairly local.   It looks like gravel, it just doesn't move like gravel.
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