- Pedestrian walkways
- Paved alleys
- Laying slabs
- Brick alleys
- Self-locking pavers
- The apparatus of slabs
Formerly, aisles (sandblasted in general) were one of the essential elements of the ornamental garden. We can even say that it was actually composed of a number of turfed surfaces, embellished with flowerbeds, and limited by tiny hedges of boxwood, coming superimposed on the more clear set of paths. It is different nowadays, where the freer forms of horticultural landscaping certainly make aisles an element of decoration, but above all a functional means of moving across lawns and massifs in a rational way. The alleys straight therefore no longer an obligation, the curves and the oblique often having a more practical character, without the aesthetics of the garden suffering from it. Generally, we distinguish the aisles for pedestrians (main paths and trails), and walkways motorable. The materials and techniques used obviously vary considerably depending on the use of the aisle.
- Pedestrian walkways
- Brick alleys
- Self-locking pavers
- The apparatus of slabs
Thedriveway must, as the name suggests, be able to support the weight of a relatively heavy vehicle whose wheels must not mark or, of course, sink to the point of becoming bogged down. If car passages are regular and frequent, it is necessary to resort to the creation of a real roadway. This one will be at least 2.50 m wide and will involve the realization of a search about thirty centimeters deep. This one being dug, one places at the bottom of big stones in a layer of 15 to 20 centimeters. We then have a bed about ten centimeters thick gravel. After settlement, the surface layer may be fine gravel, sand or asphalt. Note that the roadway must be slightly curved to allow the flow of water on the sides. The level of these should be about 5 cm below the level of the lawn. The realization of such an aisle is not necessary if the passage of cars is only occasional.
For a simple garage access who sees only twice a day the passage of a light car, we can resort to slabs prefabricated concrete or plastic which, perforated, have the advantage of melting practically in the lawn, the interstices being filled with soil and grass. Because of their bearing surface, these slabs do not require any particular foundation and are arranged on the ground, at which they are flush. They are therefore preferably arranged at the time of creation of the lawn, so as to form two treads corresponding to the normal way of a passenger car. To ensure their seating, just have a bed of sand that allows their height adjustment.
Depending on whether it is a fairway, a simple path for access to a pool, a rest area, etc., the pathway will be between 0.80 and 1.20 m wide. In the first case, it will be good to provide a small foundation (about ten centimeters) filled with crushed gravel or clinker, the surface layer being sand or fine gravel. If the driveway is slightly sloping, it will be good to plan a gutter for the flow of water.
The floors, stone, shale, brick, concrete or even wood offer the advantage of a hard surface that allows, in some cases, the passage of cars.
The possible solutions are multiple here.
- Natural slabs, in shale, slate, sandstone, stone, etc., offer the advantage of a beautiful decorative appearance. Care should be taken not to use frosty stones that would crack at the slightest cold during the winter. The thickness of the slabs will obviously vary according to the fragility of the material but especially according to the nature of the support, which directly influences its resistance: a stone slab placed on sand must be about ten centimeters thick, whereas if it is placed on a very resistant support (rock or concrete), its thickness could be half less.
- Concrete slabs are a solution certainly not decorative but certainly less expensive, especially if you make them yourself. There are now commercially available prefabricated sheet metal or rigid rubber molds, generally produced by brands distributing ready-mixed concrete in small quantities, and which are very easy to use. In the absence of molds of this kind, it is possible to use flat iron about 8 cm wide, or cleats that are assembled either by nailing or by means of hinges that facilitate the reuse of the mold. The pouring of concrete is done without problems on a clean and hard surface, preferably protected by oiled kraft paper (as must be the sides of the mold). To obtain solid slabs, the following dosage must be respected: for a bag of 50 kg of cement, 120 liters of well-sanded sand, 140 liters of river gravel. For a decorative aspect, it is possible to stain slabs in the mass. Finally, another method consists of digging the site of the slab on the ground, limiting its periphery by means of small cleats, and pouring the concrete directly, the cleats being removed only after complete drying of the -this. To obtain "washed" concrete, that is to say on the surface of which appear in relief the larger gravel, it is enough to pass to the jet before its total catch.
- The wooden slabs, very decorative, result from the flow of slices about fifteen centimeters thick trunks of good diameter. The wood must be well dry, and chosen for its resistance to cracking. In any case, it is essential to treat it, even to varnish it, to prevent it from rotting because of bad weather and direct contact with the earth.
The slabs are laid either by sealing, either by direct laying on sand bed or ground mortar.
In the first case, the adhesion is perfect, the resistance assured, but it is an important work, requiring the digging of a deep enough excavation, and its filling by a large amount of cement mortar. This solution is ideal for a complete pavement made of virtually contiguous rectangular or square slabs.
Laying on sand bed or earth mortar, much simpler to achieve, naturally offers less resistance and is not suitable for aisles subjected to passages too regular or heavy weight. The excavation does not need to be very deep here, the excavation must correspond to the thickness of the slab increased by that of the layer of sand or earth (5 cm), taking into account that the surface of the slabs must to be at a slight level inferior to that of the lawn.
Fill the joints with earth, and make the soil penetrate well between the slabs.
Once all joints are filled, brush the slabs to remove all the soil. You can sow sagin in the joints.
The bricks allow to make very original paths, particularly resistant, but whose only disadvantage is to be a little slippery in rainy weather. They allow an original equipment, and are particularly suitable for the surroundings of a house, and especially for the driveway leading to the garage. The laying of bricks is not very difficult, but requires a relatively large excavation, the bricks are placed on edge (on the edge) to provide sufficient resistance to the load. They must be based on wet sand bed, about ten centimeters thick, perfectly adjusted on the surface. The difficulty is indeed to get a perfect flatness of the driveway, hence the need to control the level, by means of a large wooden ruler, as and when the installation.
Better used than bricks, interlocking pavers make it possible to create an alley or an area in record time. They sit on a bed of sand and, thanks to their contours, fit into each other. This is a very practical solution whose high price is the only drawback. It provides a perfectly flat surface, and resistant very well to the load. We find in the trade pavers of this type of different colors, from which the possibility of drawing on the ground, decorative patterns...
The apparatus of slabs
By this is meant the assembly arrangement of the slabs that will be adopted for an alley or terrace. This assembly is at the same time a function of the nature of the slabs and the aspect of surface which one wishes to obtain:
- the so-called "architecture" apparatus suitable for square and rectangular slabs, which assemble with broken joints, that is to say that the side perpendicular to the junction between two slabs is in the middle of the side of the next;
- the opus incertum is the most rustic apparatus since it amounts to assembling slabs with irregular contours, simply trying to limit the free space between them;
- the equipment to the antique is also made from irregular slabs, but preferably quadrangular, arranged in parallel lines;
- the English apparatus adopts a more irregular layout, but uses slabs of variable size, sliced regularly on their sides;
- the arrangement in Japanese steps is both economical (since it only imposes a small number of slabs) and very decorative. But it is only suitable for paths marked out in lawn, and not for true paths.
The not japanese are thus implanted in full lawn, after digging a cell corresponding to the contour of each stone (the spacing between the center of each of them must not exceed 50 cm approximately, span of a step of average march). The slab then rests on a bed of thin sand, this to evacuate moisture that stagnates under the slab. It must be taken into account that it must ultimately be slightly below the surface of the turf. For opus incertum slabs with antique or English fittings, the joints are usually filled with sand or screened earth. In the latter case, grass is sown between the slabs or, better still, sagin or small flowers.
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