Flag laying.


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Hi,

I'm currently doing a bit of flag relaying. Three years ago I built a new garden hut having dug out lots of wet soil/clay and laying heavy 3' x 2' x 2" flags; at the time it was mid summer with the rain belting down and even hailstones but I pressed on and got the job done. The flags have as expected settled and one in particular by the hut door was annoying in that it was rocking each time I stepped upon it; I've finally got round to sorting it out but it's not an easy job. Our site is a steep valley side where standing upright outside is challenging; the flags are laid at a slope but packing the hut supports compensate for this; low walls and steps add to the fun.

I'm getting there slowly but with heavy rain forecast I'm dodging in and out; here's progress to date with the method I'm using which might be of interest.

Kind regards, Colin.

Flag leveling_0001.JPG


How annoying this flag has been it standing proud by 3/4" at the corner and rocking when stepped upon.

Flag leveling_0001_02.JPG


Unfortunately the flags settled but not the low wall hence now the top of the wall was a bit too high; I'm an engineer and built these low walls to last many lifetimes and they are solid. I spent a couple of hours using hammer and cold chisel to remove a bit of height but I wasn't happy as I looked at it yesterday morning through the kitchen window; after breakfast I attacked it with my big SDS drill in chisel mode and removed the top stones which I shouild have done in the first place; no easy jobs for me living here the last 33 years and nothing changes.

Flag laying_0003.JPG


I needed a way of accurately depositing new bedding mortar; just placing the usual five piles and tapping the flag level using the sledge hammer against a wooden block might work but then might not and these flags are very heavy with limited working space around them; it's so easy to cause back injuries.

Flag laying_0002.JPG


I've used a similar method previously with great success but never with as many problems as these flags were throwing at me.

Flag laying_0001.JPG


It took quite a bit of thought but here's my solution; nothing at all is level and with low walls and steps to contend with I put this together as a guide. I can now deposit the bedding mortar and rake it to suit using the gauge bar; the thinner stone needs bedding first. It looks so easy once the answer is known?

Flag leveling_0002.JPG


The hut is level due to packing the floor joists as seen. This is a bad place to be handling heavy flags so I'm being very careful indeed. Please note the flag pathway up the garden how steep it is; I use this during dragging the petrol mower and rotavator up; we also have other steps leading up the the garden.
 
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Hi,

It's surprising how a small job like leveling a flag can easily escalate into a much bigger job as in this case. I finally resumed work early yesterday morning the weather forecast for light showers and moderate wind. I knocked off at 5:45 with the job at last completed; a full days hard graft just to lay four flags but they proved difficult due to the slope and steps; the big flags are heavy at the best of times but working space was very cramped and difficult to position my feet as I lay each flag; I have an excellent electric hoist but couldn't use it so did the job the hard way. Another job ticked off.

I've been doing a lot of cutting back and hedge trimming this morning but had to quit due to being soaking wet; boy the rain suddenly sure came down; a change into clean dry clothes and I'm comfortable again but now rained off.

Kind regards, Colin.

Bit of progress_0001_03.JPG


The big flag to the left was a pain to position lifting it into place by hand.

Bit of progress_0002_02.JPG


It's all slopes and angles living here making the smallest outside job challenging.
 
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Flag laying is always challenging.

I found it hard laying this patio with large pieces of York stone, getting it to fall away from the house and to both sides so it would clear rainwater.

P5050050.JPG


Then laying this path.


scan.jpg



Comments like, "When are you going to clear up that mess and come in for your dinner?" didn't help.

IMG_20200701_0001.jpg
 
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Hi,

Hard graft isn't it Doghouse; you've made a lovely job of it; thanks for sharing the pictures. Fortunately I've got a wonderful wife who never ever complains when I'm on with a project in fact she's always full of encouragement because she knows I don't start things then leave them but I crack on working as hard as I can; we share everything and help each other as much as possible.

I've laid lots of these big heavy flags and they don't get any lighter as I grow older but there is a knack of handling them; most I've laid to a stringline without problems; I've always mixed the bedding mortar by hand this in itself sheer hard work.

Heavy flags_0001.JPG


This 42' long pathway was a difficult job; firstly digging out by hand tons of wet clay and disposing of it; the fence is my design and I made and erected it; the handrail is painted "mopstick" I started at the bottom of the slope laying the flags and had to use wooden spacers in order to prevent the following flags from heading to the valley bottom as I tapped them to bed them; the low retaining wall I built and the wall pointing to the bungalow is the correct hydraulic lime mortar.

Heavy flags_0002.JPG


Here are more of the heavy flags; the dry stone wall in front of Harvey the cat was only 4" away from the extension wall; I dug the lot out by hand rebuilding the wall away from the bungalow adding the new patio; garden steps and pathway; I did these two projects the first and second year into retirement 2001/2. The rear door I made when we first moved in.

33 years of big heavy projects but when I knocked off yesterday having completed the flags by the hut I thought at last I've caught up; perhaps now I might get some quality workshop time to play with my toys?
 

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