So, how exactly do I cut an external curve in any paving slab / flag with a twelve inch 2 stroke petrol mix Stihl saw using the generously issued belle universal twelve inch 20mm bore diamond tipped blade, that is designed to travel in a straight line?
My answer to you and all who have asked the same question, well the question isn’t really as long as the above perhaps I’m jazzing the situation up slightly, over the years is quite simply: “With great care”, you see, you only have one chance with a cut, after all its your clients money your playing with, how the hell are you going to explain to your clients ( after your winning pitch) that you require an additional £80 – £260 as you’ve ballsed up a load of slabs. (You know what I mean, the worse your cuts are, the more out of pocket you will be, after all a quote is a quote).
Marking the cut
If your client has a particularly awkward shape to the perimeter of a paved area then I would suggest that you lay the paving on top of a piece of cardboard (NOT corrugated, not enough flexibility), recycled from any fruit and veg shop, market or Tesco’s any where within the UK, mark with a pencil and cut to the exact size, or in layman terms, cut out a template, put all waste in a bucket it’ll save you time if its a windy day! Fill the void with a 4:1 (4:1 = 4 shovels or buckets, buckets if gauging a mix, of sharp sand, 1 cement or opc, Ordinary Portland Cement) bedding mix remembering the depth of your selected unit.
What ever you do, DO NOT 5 spot any paving, this is a sure way to become a joke very quickly within the eyes of the current landscaping world and even worse its a guranteed route to revisting your client time and time again, its unprofessional and is usually a way for any landscaper who takes the piss out of their clients to earn a quick buck or two, utterly disgracefull really.
Its agreed that a full 4:1 mortar bed is required around 50 mm / 2 inches, to lay your paving on, make sure the bed is slightly fluffy and place the cardboard template on the bed, taking care to look at all joints, as a rule of thumb I stick to 10mm, as a designer and hands on landscaper I like to keep things simple as there’s so much to remember, 10 mm for all paving it is.
Gentle taps with a rubber mallet
I also mark all road pins with a pencil and wrap insulating tape around the pin using the pencil mark as top of tape, another rule of thumb, “Top of tape”. I do this in case any clumsy footed labourer, another skilled landscaper (Dean) or tried and tested contractors (Too many to mention) who forget to take heed of my words and walk through the finished level string line snapping it in half.
Ok I’ll admit it, I too, still to this day walk through my own lines Very, Very rarely though!! Good job I don’t forget Fridays!! Might try that one day if they keep breaking my lines!! Mark the template with a sharp pencil to the required curve with a slight over hang and cut with sharp scissors, replace the template and lightly mark the template cut and recheck the template, move the template to the paving slab and position correctly and mark the paving with one slow continuous crayon line. The crayon mark will not blow off the paving from the wind created by the rotating blade unlike the carbon pencil.
Great stuff, make sure the cutter is full of 2 stroke mixed petrol and put All your PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) on. In the mean time check this out for your self and I’ll be back to explain the finer points of this practice. If I’m not boring you too much I’ll explain to you what might be a very useful money saving method of the angles and exactly how to cut any paving.
Hey, by the way, Happy Easter to you and your family from me and mine.
For all enquires regarding garden design call me on 01626 332533