What would you do with a large (14' x 10' x 4') pile of mixed rubble: concrete slab, stones, bricks. I've used most of the unbroken pieces for paving garden beds. I'm looking for fresh thoughts and ideas on the matter becaue I've been looking at it for a few years now and am pretty over it!
Apparently this was an old garage that collapsed and has been here ever since, becoming nice habitat for rodents...it's close to the house and taking up valuable space where I would like to put a shed / sauna eventually. To have it hauled off would be thousands and I feel like there is probably a good up-use of it. Some of the pieces are far too heavy to move by hand (for me at least). My property total is about 1/8 acre, has some sloped areas, some drainage issues, and places that need terraced.
If you feel like brainstorming with me, it'd be appreciated
Ooooh that's beautiful. Something to consider. These are not beautiful or flat stones, they are more like concrete blocks and pieces of slab that have broken to pieces. But it's possible they could be used in new construction as floor fill. Thanks.
There are ways to make "too big" pieces smaller, and there are ways to move heavy pieces with make-shift tripods or come-alongs (ratchet pullers is another name) although tools cost money also. If the shapes are really odd, you could look for scrap metal like chain-link fencing and make gambions to hold rocks for retaining walls. In fact in this thread, a fellow used that sort of a system for his cabin foundation. https://permies.com/t/102542/cabin-project-pic#845835
A picture of what you're dealing with might stimulate some other suggestions. Your time frame might help also. If I have a job that's at the limit of my strength, it makes a big difference if I can move two or three pieces a day knowing that it might take 3 months, but it also won't hurt me.
I’ve also had a similar problem with old building rubble left over from several renovations piled under a large tree. Using a large loader to lift and remove several bucket loads looked like it was the answer until I saw roots from the tree being exposed (at waist height) so discontinued the removal. Weeded and mulched the pile with wood chips, planted small yuccas and succulents into pockets between rocks and large yuccas around the deeper soil at the edge. Though this has solved the ugly rubble eyesore, the mulch does tend to slide off the steeper sided slope (where we abruptly halted the loader action).
One of the coolest things about concrete is that you can make more concrete out of... concrete. A little cement mixed in with crushed concrete will create new concrete. Or you can use it to fill in a new pour somewhere. Maybe you want a new building pad, retaining wall, or walking path. You can smash up the concrete, throw it into the forms, and pour in a lot less concrete to fill it in.
You might want to build a cob oven some day, and urbanite (old concrete chunks) is a great building block for an oven base.
"The rule of no realm is mine. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, these are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail in my task if anything that passes through this night can still grow fairer or bear fruit and flower again in days to come. For I too am a steward. Did you not know?" Gandolf
I don't know where you are located and why you have a problem with rodents. Those two issues are important in the decision making.
Anyway, I had to think about creating a habitat out of that rubble, in case the material does not contain any toxic residues.
The most renowned organic garden designer/consultant in Germany gives some examples of rubble piles that serve as habitat for many wildflowers, reptiles, nativebees and other insects that are having great difficulties in Central Europe finding undisturbed areas otherwise. He mentions that the idea is more common in the Netherlands.
I attach two pictures from his book "Der Naturgarten" (could not find anything on the internet right now) as an inspiration.
I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do. (E.E.Hale)
Thanks for all the ideas! The most sense seems to be reusing it as a building material - to make new concrete (like that!), the slipform walls sound good too!
I've considered rubblekultur and using as a bed by covering with soil and planting high drainage lovers in there. The issue is that it is like 10' from the house and prime space for a shed (existing foundation), and like I mentioned, the rats love it (as do snakes which is great but too close). This is in the city and the rodents are an ongoing issue (we've got lots of cats around, hawks, and the small snakes too).
I'm thinking it makes sense to use this to build a shed / sauna of some sort and maybe retaining walls too. Now I just need to find people who do that kind of work haha.
Do you have a need for or might a gabion work for your retaining wall? I think this thread, Fascinated with gabions?, has some gabion retaining wall pictures near the end.
Edited to add: oops, the retaining wall picture was in another gabion basket thread here.
Paul and I were recently out and about and saw this amazing gabion-style fence. If you didn't have bottles, you could create a pattern with the different types of rubble that you do have, whether creating a gabion basket retaining wall or something else.
oooh, I like that gabion! Yes, I do have a need for that though there are a few designs that could work. The area right behind the rubble pile is in need of a retaining wall though. I could even see adding a bit of soil and putting some succulents in there.
If you are planning on putting a shed there, i'd get all the pieces out of the way and put them right back there after you level out where the shed is going. It'll fill up a bit of space that you'd have to fill anyway with clean stone to keep the rodents from burrowing under said new shed.
Michelle Czolba wrote: The area right behind the rubble pile is in need of a retaining wall though.
With many retaining walls backfilling with gravel or rubble is recommended. The hard material creates air pockets which prevent water from soaking the back side of the retaining wall. And/or it helps to direct water to a drain pipe at the base of the retaining wall. And as you often don't have enough dirt to level up the soil behind the wall, the rubble can essentially be buried 2' or so down to minimize dirt fill.
That's what I've done. We had rubble from chimney deconstruction ... largely cinder block and cement fascia blocks. The big ones have been used in walkways, the rubble went behind a big (5') retaining wall where it allowed a HUGE reduction in the amount of soil we need to move. We did cover the rubble with a layer of heavy structural fabric just to keep the dirt from settling into all the cracks. Its a win-win in my book!
Companion Planting Guide by World Permaculture Association