Forget the gym, ferry screed!

Forget the gym, in 1 day without leaving the boundary of my small garden, I walked a stonking 13.6km (22,236 steps) ferrying screed!

Nice to be back!  Every last ounce of my recent energy has been doing DIY rather than typing it…. Else I’ll never finish before peach season ends (check my bio if you don’t understand)!

A guy at work (my ‘normal’ job) used to tell me my arms were too skinny and I should eat more – I’ve always loved my skinny arms!  Now, from so much lifting, scraping, drilling and filing, my biceps are sooo huge they hurt bulging out of the top of my jackets!


Weekends have been filled with 7am to 10pm never-ending big scale tasks, the heavy duty stuff.  Spiced, of course, with some rendez-vous laced with bubbles!  Then Monday morning comes I go to my office job – I can’t wait to sit down for 10 hours flat, a well-deserved rest!  Other colleagues are on various diets, can’t decide whether or not to tuck into the birthday samosas and doughnuts, then give excuses for why they haven’t been to the gym – Gym?!?!  I tell them to scrap protein shakes, save their gym membership, buy a tonne of screed along with a run-down house, and do it up.  That will keep them fit, taught – Plus bonus they’ll have an income generating asset at the end!

Patio preparation

Before laying a patio it is important to level the ground below where the large patio slabs will be placed – So that a firm substrate for attaching and levelling the slabs exists.  This can be done using screed.

What is screed?

Yep it’s  one of those words that builders seem to use frequently and blasé, so much so I didn’t want to ask!  In the dictionary it has 2 meanings:

  1. A long speech or piece of writing, typically one regarded as tedious – Haha, I thought carrying screed was pretty tedious!
  2. A levelled layer of material (e.g. cement) applied to a floor or other surface

Simply for a patio it is a layer of small stones that can be used for levelling the ground before adding a patio stone adhesive and patio stones on top.

Care with screed

  • The stones visibly dry out pretty rapidly same day – So you have to distribute them onto the ground same day
  • The stones also have an chemical on them that takes about 3 weeks to dry – So make sure you lay the screed at least 3 weeks prior to laying the patio stones on top.


I’d had 2 tonnes of screed delivered – One of those big, mechanical arms dropped two eye-wateringly huge sacks into my front garden.  Phew, fortunately the supplier didn’t arrive with a ‘tail lift’ extension like some pallet delivery companies, as it wouldn’t have fit through my garden door!  Tail-lifts are fork-like (with only 2 prongs) metal shafts on tiny wheels usually highly deflated from heavy loads (it is quicker to carry the items to end placer rather than use it).  Personally I think tail lifts should be banned from gardens and only used in warehouses – They only work if garden gates are wide enough with  ground flat enough – Who has a garden like that??

Soil before and after screed (that still needs final levelling and compression)

Distributing the screed over the soil I’d dug out in my back garden was a HUMONGOUS task!  I didn’t have a wheelbarrow or container to transfer screed from the front of my house to the back, only a small, cracked bucket that could only hold a few stones… But it’s what I used.

All day I ferried back and forth carrying this little, cracked bucket, filling it with screed in my front garden, walking down my side alley to empty it over the soil in my back garden… returning to the front garden etc.  My neighbour laughed – He told me every time he looked out of his window, I was still doing the rounds!

I thought it hilarious that I’d walked 13.6km (22,236 steps) in one day without leaving the boundary of my small garden!



Other types of screed:


Then to level and compress the screed, get stomping!  Yep, great for gluts – Squeeze tightly to push the screed firmly into the soil below so that it forms a solid, level base suitable for adding paving slabs on top.


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