Helen's Garden Renovation Project

Monday 2 February 2009

How much snow do we really need?

Filed under: Progress — Helen @ 5:36 pm

In my last post I was complaining about the rain. I have determinedly dug away despite the sogginess and although it’s harder work when the soil is wet, I have made very good progress. I have piled up the topsoil in the compost bins and round about that area, and heaped the subsoil on the bare strip between the trench and the path. So on Saturday I was doing quite well.

View of the trench on 31 January 2009

View of the trench on 31 January 2009


Then, today, this happens!
Garden covered with snow in February 2009

Garden covered with snow in February 2009


According to the BBC’s website, this is the most snow we’ve had since 1991. This is an overview of the trench in snow:
View of the trench in snow

View of the trench in snow


I have also started to worry about the safety of the fence. Both Yvonne (my garden designer) and Richard (from my landscaping company) have said that it is a good idea to dig the trench right next to the fence. However, if I dig next to the foundations of the fence posts, surely that will affect the stability of the fence? I want to dig deep to get the cable safely underground, but the deeper I dig, the more danger the fence is in.

I have thought about a few solutions. My dad suggests buying and laying the cable myself. Then I can dig and fill in the trench section by section, and be careful not to do any digging when it is windy. This might work but would cost me extra because I would have to buy the cable myself. A cable is cheaper than repairing the damage if the fence falls down, but I want to avoid as much extra expense as I can. I also thought about excavating near the fence posts but stuffing some assorted rubble in there, which can be removed when it is time to lay the cable. However, when I imagine the fence being blown down, I can’t see the rubble being much protection.

I asked for help from the forum at http://www.pavingexpert.com/ and as I write this, I am getting all sorts of good advice. I think the answer is going to be to not dig too deep, and bury some warning tape above the cable. I may be able to use ducting, which would provide some protection and thus allow me to get away with burying the cable less deeply. I can also put a sign up on the fence warning of an electric cable underneath. Obvious, but effective. And it needn’t be unsightly, as I can design one myself with a pretty picture and laminate it. I expect I’d have to replace it every couple of years as the weather took its toll on it, but that wouldn’t be a problem.

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