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Removing Slabs; Putting down a Bed

Hello! First post so apologies if I'm in the wrong section but I figured this'd be a technique of sorts...

Along the back of my garden I have a row of slabs which I would like to remove and replace with decorative stones and some little shrubs.

The issue is, underneath the slabs there is a good 3 inches of concrete, I reckon I could probably get it out with a breaker but this'd mean also having to get a skip (which is expensive).

The only other option (I can think of) would be to chuck a load of compost/soil over it, I do have quite a bit kicking about as I have just finished doing my front garden.

The downside of that would be the new area (what was previously under slab) would be higher than the grass level, which would cause a rubbish edge and not really look as nice.

What sort of depth of soil is necessary for little shrubs?

If anyone can see a better way of doing this please share!


  • dannyboy10dannyboy10 Posts: 127

    Try this link.

    you will also need to think about drainage,will the water drain away easy if you leave the slabs in the ground.

  • DaintinessDaintiness EssexPosts: 980

    How many slabs are we talking and how wide is the area in question? Do you have plans to reuse the slabs somewhere else in the garden? If not, you could offer them on freecycle. As for what's under them I would get rid of it. If a thing is worth doing it is worth doing well. You don't want to go to the expense of buying shrubs, preparing soil, and as Danny mentioned the issue of drainage etc only to watch them die!

    Do you have access to a car? Builders bags half filled could be transported much more cheaply this way than the hiring of a skip. Or as my friend did...every week put a few pieces into her  bin bag until there was none left. Again how much are we dealing with?

    Little shrubs will hopefully become big shrubs and they will look to get sustainance from the soil and also use it as an anchor - this need will only increase with the age of the plants.

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,235

    Dave I think daintiness is right -you could be wasting your money here. Have you ever used one of those services where you advertise for a job to be done (online) and local firms bid to do it? I tried it when I was moving and needed rid of a settee and it was amazing how inexpensive it was. Perhaps you could advertise for a couple of lads to break up the concrete and get rid of it. Might be worth trying? The one I used was 'man with a van' or something similar but if you google it something may turn up. image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • DaveleeukDaveleeuk Posts: 2

    thanks for your responses, it's quite a lot of slabs, maybe 40. I'll probably relay them on the other side of the garden; i have a patio but it's to small to actually use so a little paved area would be very handy.

    So now I guess it's either to break it all, or to break through big holes where the shrubs would go, the latter would leave the height pretty much bang on and probably save quite a bit of time and money too.

    As far as drainage goes... It should be fine going into the subsoil underneath the concrete, I can't imagine there being any still water.

    Here's what we're dealing with. The pathway that is in shade will come up, and the bit on the left leading to it, then hopefully re layed on the left



  • DaintinessDaintiness EssexPosts: 980

    Ok, now I get the picture. If I were you I would leave the slabs closest to the fence in situ as there will be less light and water available there and more concrete from the foundations from the fence in that area.When you lift which ever slabs you want in the front row make sure you dig a substantial hole and back fill with good top soil etc. You certainly should be able to cover the fence with climbers or shrubs etc. Maybe you could post a picture when you finish - good luck image

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114

    If you leave the slabs or concrete there and either punch holes in them or cover with soil I guarantee you will always be dissatisfied with the result.  Get rid.

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