Ray’s Wall


Welcome to the photographic diary of major underpinning & retaining works to the rear garden, the work was carried out by Ray Hopkinson, his family and friends at his Hastings home over a seven year period commencing September 2010.

The construction works consumed many tones of concrete with due to restricted access were carried to the rear by hand in buckets.
The walls were carried out in an anticlockwise direction starting with wall C (see diagram) Walls A & A1 represent the deepest point with a depth of 4.45m below the patio.

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2010 and the start of Wall C


The photo below shows the very start of the dig at a depth of 3.337m x 1.9m wide was required, this involved significantly more excavation than a simple narrow trench footing and wall.


Below shows the excavation of the wall C toe, setting out was achieved with minimal technology, a string line (photo) a length of clear hose as a water level, one light and one medium plumb bob depending on wind speed, a spirit level and tape measure.


Provides a sense of the 5.5m length of wall C.


The photo below shows the steel reinforcing bars incorporated within the wall and purpose made re-usable plywood lined shutters used to encase the concrete during pouring. This is the only section ever carried out in a hit & miss sequence, it is due to the constant risk of land slide and the fact it stretches the escape route.


The completion of wall C with shutters removed, the wall consumed over 10.5 cubic meters of concrete all carted by hand in buckets.


For a complete gallery of pictures of this stage, please click here.


2012 and the completion of Wall B


2011 was a quiet year for Ray due to injury and other commitments.  The elbow Wall B was competed in early 2012.  The pictures of Ray and Lauren below were taken in April 2012. Shuttering still in place awaiting removal.


The top of Wall C is now totally hiding the substantial depth and width of the complete wall foundations.

Complex hand-made shuttering required to encase the wall sections.  Concrete mixed on the old patio and poured via temporary slide. The picture below also shows the challenges ahead as Walls D and A will need to go to significant depth under the remains of the old steps and patio.


A clear indication of the deep work in prospect approaching the start of Wall D.


A few more pictures click here


2013 and preparation for the deep Walls D & A


2013 was another quiet year due to health and other commitments.  Work commenced later in the year on the deep digs required to accommodate Wall D.

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2014 the deep Wall D and Walls A & A1


2014 was a hard year with the deep and potentially dangerous deep dig to accommodate Wall D and Wall A. The extreme depth of foundations was at the mercy of the weather, landslip being a constant worry.


Moving and relocating the large amounts of spoil around the project to make room was a constant pain throughout the project. Ian and xxx posing.


All spoil was hauled up and moved by hand.  Even the smallest mechanical digger would not fit down the side of the house.  xx skips were used during the whole project.DSC_0028

Progress on Wall A and the start of significant shoring required as the foundation dig approaches and potentially undermines the old patio.

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Complex shoring-up of the old patio. A difficult problem as there is little to lever and shore against.


For a comprehensive gallery of photos from this period in the build please click here.


2015 the completion of Wall A and the end of heavy digging is in sight


The photos below date from June to December 2015 and show the last sections of Wall A and the elbow against the boundary fence.




Matt in his best clothes…


The final big concrete pour


Back to where it all started 5 years ago.


Ray moving the final spoil


Shuttering the coping to top the walls


Shingle new patio for the moment to allow time for the backfill to settle.




All walls complete and awaiting rendering


For a comprehensive gallery of photos from this period in the build please click here.


2017 Project completion


The Wall completion party took place on 18th August 2017.

Both upper and lower patios are initially filled with pea shingle to allow for settlement before permanent paving installed.


Reasons to be cheerful…