EASY step-by-steps TO MAKE A RAMMED EARTH BENCH

Better Homes and Gardens (Australia) - - Landscape Project -

This bench is made from lay­ers of gran­ite mixed with ce­ment. You can buy de­com­posed gran­ite from land­scape sup­pli­ers in brown, pink, gold, grey and white. You can also use sub­soil but not gar­den soil, as it con­tains or­ganic mat­ter that will break down and desta­bilise the bench.

Gather your sup­plies

• Form­work 12mm ply­wood

• Rails, sup­ports 70 x 35mm fram­ing pine • De­com­posed gran­ite

• Bagged ce­ment

You’ll also need

Cir­cu­lar saw; drill; tim­ber screws; hose; shovel; ram­mer; screed board; steel float; old towel FOR YOU TO NOTE

• You don’t need ma­rine ply for form­work, as it’s tem­po­rary.

• Al­ways mix dry in­gre­di­ents first to avoid ce­ment lumps.

Here’s how

STEP 1 Build the form­work. Make a butt-jointed box from ply­wood, screw­ing short sides to long sides. STEP 2 Mea­sure and cut 4 each short rails, long rails and sup­ports. Screw short rails to box base, sit long rails on top and se­cure with screws.

STEP 3 At­tach short rails 50mm from box top, sit long rails on top and po­si­tion 2 sup­ports on each long side of box be­tween rails. Screw top long rails to short rails.

STEP 4 Make 3 dif­fer­ent colour batches, mix­ing 10 parts gran­ite to 1 shovel of ce­ment on boards.

STEP 5 Add wa­ter to gran­ite and ce­ment mixes us­ing a hose. The tex­ture should be damp not wet, so you pick it up and ball it.

STEP 6 Shovel a 40-60mm layer of gran­ite mix into form­work.

STEP 7 Make a ram­mer with a square head for get­ting into cor­ners us­ing tim­ber and ply of­f­cuts. Ram the first layer, giv­ing 4-5 whacks in one spot, un­til it sounds solid. Each layer will take about 5-10 min­utes.

STEP 8 Keep adding lay­ers of gran­ite mix and ram­ming down.

STEP 9 Screed the top layer smooth, then wet with hose.

STEP 10 Use a float to smooth the top layer of rammed earth. Leave for 24 hours to set.

STEP 11 Re­move form­work and wet bench with the hose.

STEP 12 Soften edges with a towel. Leave to cure for 7 days. ➤

Make a small out­door area look larger with a few plant­ing tricks. Screen the fence­line, so you blur the bound­aries, and cre­ate the il­lu­sion of depth with lush, lay­ered gar­den beds. Vary plant height and add visual in­ter­est with fo­liage colour and form.

STEP 10

STEP 2

STEP 3

STEP 5

STEP 11

STEP 6

STEP 1

STEP 8

STEP 12

STEP 7

STEP 4

STEP 9

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