Understand What is Needed to Build the Hard Landscape
Landscape construction is concerned with what it takes to build gardens and other landscapes. Since many types of construction in the landscape can be achieved in many different ways, this course serves as an introduction to some of the ways that different surfaces, enclosures and structures can be made.
Learn the principles and techniques of landscape construction
This course provides essential study for any landscaper.
- Learn about hard landscaping
- Explore the ways that stone, timber, water, and earth can be used and managed to create gardens
- Develop a foundation for growing your knowledge of garden construction
Study at home using course notes or online, with guidance from international landscape experts.
There are 10 lessons in this course:
Tools and Machinery
Landscape Plans and Setting out a Construction Site
Drainage in Landscape Construction
Surfaces, Paths, Paving and Turf
Construction of Garden Structures I
Construction of Garden Structures II
Establishing Hedges and Other Plants
Workplace Safety and Management of Landscape Construction Work
Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.
Manage equipment for landscape construction projects, including tools and machinery.
Determine earthworks for a landscape development.
Plan the construction of different landscape structures including buildings, fences, and walls.
Manage the installation of a simple irrigation system in gardens.
Determine construction techniques for different building or installing different garden features; including paving, water gardens, rockeries and furnishings.
Determine techniques for creating soft landscaping.
Manage work being undertaken on a landscape construction site.
What You Will Do
Compare the quality and cost of a range of different tools and machinery used in landscape construction.
Identify tools and machinery used in everyday work by landscape constractors.
Explain appropriate uses for different tools and machinery on a landscape construction site.
Prepare landscape plans for a number of landscape sites
Research and report on marking out boundaries in construction sites
Describe how to locate contours
Determine the fall of existing drains, and identify appropriate falls, spacing and depths of drains
Observe and report on earth moving equipment in operation
Survey a site and recommend earthworks necessary
Examine surfacing materials for paths, gardens, etc and determine the appropriate landscaping function of each.
Assess the construction of a range of different existing landscape features
Describe preparation of foundations for a specified garden structure, on a specific site.
Design a rockery at least 30 square metres in area
Contact a range of suppliers of landscape materials and compare the products available in your locality.
Identify materials needed to install an irrigation system on a site selected by you.
Prepare plans of irrigation systems
Research which species of plants are suitable for hedging in your locality
Outline how to effectively transplant an existing tree
Prepare a detailed risk assessment for a landscape construction site
Identify safe working practices for a landscape construction site
Determine a list of work tasks to be undertaken on a landscape construction site. Give a time frame for completion of the entire project
TIPS FOR BUILDING ROCK WALLS
Solid walls are great for privacy and unlike timber fences, they can reduce noise. Some of these kinds of stone or rock wall are discussed below.
Dry Stone Walls
Dry stone rock walls can be constructed either as a free-standing barrier or as a retaining wall to hold soil on a slope or in a raised garden bed. Dry stone walls are built by stacking rocks or blocks one on top of another without using concrete or any other 'joining' material to stick them together. The individual units are stacked so that they interlock as much as possible to give extra stability to the wall.
The base of the wall should be twice as wide as the main section of the wall. This spreads the weight and helps prevent the wall sinking. On soft ground, dig a trench or “hitch”, 10-20cm deep, and lay large foundation stones in the base of the trench. This might not be necessary on compacted or stony ground.
When building a free-standing wall you should:
- use large flat bottomed stones at the base of the wall
- place the largest stones towards the bottom of the wall
- lay the stones so that their longest side is running into the wall
- fill the gaps between the stones with smaller stones
- lay through stones (large stones placed cross ways in the wall) halfway up the wall for extra stability
- build the wall so that it has a batter (a taper towards the top)
- avoid horizontal or vertical lines between the stones
- mix the colours of the stones
The stones or blocks of wet walls are cemented together with a mortar mix (usually one part cement to three parts sand). A wet wall can be solid – entirely constructed from stones, or veneered – using concrete blocks in the centre of the wall covered by a stone veneer.
To construct a wet wall, a strip foundation should be laid first, with steel reinforcing set in concrete. The depth depends on the height of the wall and the type of subsoil. On average it should be approximately 235 cm deep and twice as wide as the wall. The stones/blocks are then laid on top. Similar to dry stone walls, the stones in each course (layer) should overlap the stones below. If built in a damp position, the wall will last longer if a damp-proof course is built in. Made from brick, asphalt and bituminous sheet it should be built in the base of the wall, about 150 mm above ground level.
The gaps between the stone blocks are very important. If they are too small the wall may be unstable; too large and the wall will look ugly.
Coping is the top layer of the wall. Often made from a different material, it prevents water from seeping into the wall and provides an attractive finish.
There is a range of pre-cast concrete and dressed stone copings that can be used. The different styles of coping may be useful in matching the wall with the rest of your neighbourhood.
Too often wet stone walls expand or subside and develop dangerous cracks. If a wall is longer than 10m, include expansion joints to prevent this problem.
Type of Stone
Traditionally, rocks for stone walls were collected when nearby paddocks were cleared for farming. These days, the type of rock you use will depend upon what is available from the quarries in your area.
Opportunities After Your Studies
This course is of great value to people wishing to work in landscaping. It will not lead to a construction license but should provide basic skills needed to undertake small scale landscaping projects which do not require council approval.
It is likely to benefit people who wish to add basic construction to their landscaping and gardening skills. It could serve as a platform for further study or be taken in conjunction with other modules to enhance your learning experience.
People who should take this course are those working in, or wishing to work in:
Garden restoration or conservation
Landscape materials supply
It could also add to the skillset of people wanting to start a landscape business, or be of value to people wishing to renovate a home garden.
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