Jul 30, 2015

Into the Earth #3

We crossed our fingers on Friday for a weekend without rain, as it has proven to be impossible for trucks to climb up the grassy hill when the ground is wet. Against all odds after all the bad luck, the Weather Lords favoured our cause!  So on early Monday morning, after a 250 kg plate compactor which did not move an inch in the mud had been changed to a 80 kg piece of machinery, Pekka started preparing the ground for landscaping fabric to be placed between sub soil and the first layer of compatable gravel.

Compacted ground ready for landscaping fabric

Then a cement truck loaded with gravel arrived. Instead of manually carrying all the gravel uphill, it would be delivered "by air" to the correct location. Why did we not think of this before but relied on raw manpower and wheelbarrows before?

Gravel truck arriving

So the next part was easy. Pekka could just watch 15 tons of gravel (0 - 32 mm in size) moving 20 meters up hill to our backyard, slowly covering the landscaping fabric.

Flying gravel

More flying gravel

Then the gravel was evenly spread around the 45 m2 terrace area with shovel and then compacted carefully with water and compactor to finish the first gravel layer.

First gravel layer ready

Next the entire area was covered with 50 mm Finnfoam thermal insulation to minimise the impact of ground frost. Gaps between the panels and walls were filled with expandable urethane foam.

Laying down insulation

The picture below shows the slight inclination of the terrace on the border of foam and wall. The exact inclination will be adjusted with the following layers to match the recommendations.

Ready for the second layer of gravel

The following morning, at 6.30 am (way before Pekka's morning coffee), the gravel truck returned and shot another 17 tons of gravel (0 - 16 mm in size) on top of the insulated terrace.

Second set of flying gravel

The piles look huge first, but both times the amount was just perfect (thanks for the providers calculator!). Fortunately Pekka got some help from Sofi, who was quite keen on assisting with her own shovel.

Shoveling team

After 2.5 days of intense teamwork, we were finally at the point we originally planned to have achieved more than a week ago.

Terrace foundation - ready!

Compacted gravel

Without Juha's laser Pekka had to rely on a traditional string line method to determine the right ground level. The top gravel layer is now compacted and levelled correctly with an inclination of approximately 2 cm per each meter away from the building. The border stones (which were actually recycled stones from Project Underground) have also been laid to determine the area and support the structure.

Determining the correct level

Despite this being perhaps the project with most adversities, everything is now finally ready for stone dust and slates. But those will need to wait a bit. We need a small vacation first. All inclusive with relatives.

Terrace to be


  1. If it were to rain while you are on vacation, will the gravel be ok?

    1. Yes. Before plate contractors rain and time would have done the same job. And we'll only be gone for a few days anyway, then we'll continue with painting the guest room. Something they say about rolling stones and moss... ;-)

  2. Tänään sataa paljon. :) Hyvä duuni teillä! Apureitakin :)