The lean in the garden wall seems to have been caused mostly by a Leyland Cypress tree removed in 2014. The tree made the wall lean over by 6 inches and also pushed the foundations sideways by around 8 inches. If we are going to have a straight wall there will be some stump removal needed because the stump is in the way.
It’s been a nightmare to try and organise the stump removal and work has stopped on the wall now. The tree folk are really busy after having been stuck at home earlier in the year and despite promises nobody seems to want to actually turn up to remove the stump. It is too close to frosts to start re-building the wall this year.
More than a month later the tree guy turned up with a stump grinding machine and (very professionally) removed the stump.
Now the awkward stump is just sawdust. There is quite a lot of sawdust but November 5th isn’t too far away and might provide a good excuse for a bonfire.
I’ve been measuring the lean of the garden wall every year. The lean has been increasing by about 1/8 inch every year, and it’s reached 6 inches now. There doesn’t seem to be any good reason for the wall not falling over, and given the lean is over a footpath it’s probably time to do something about it.
It’s an old wall built with imperial Bedford Clamp bricks in Flemish bond. The gable end of the barn was built on top of the wall, and the barn is from around 1850 so the wall is probably earlier. The wall will be rebuilt using the original bricks. It’s been repointed in cement so the bricks are horribly spalled and will need to be turned around.
I’ve been sensible for once and installed some temporary orange fencing. I feel it says ‘stay well back – there are some highly trained professionals doing serious stuff here’. Also it’s nice to have some sort of fence while the wall is missing and when the foundation hole appears. Though the first couple of days will be vegetation clearing on the other side of the wall.
The poor wall is looking less well now. Nominally the wall is straight, but the lean gives it a pronounced curve even at half height. If it falls over now it will result in ankle bruises rather than squished children so I’m feeling a bit better about it now.
The bricks were very badly spalled. We’ve been cleaning up the bricks as they were removed and where the wall hadn’t been repaired in cement the bricks can be turned around and used again. But many of the headers are spalled at both ends and are too short to be useful.
There are 1000 bricks in the stack so far. The wall had been repointed in white cement which is probably what caused the spalling. The top couple of courses and parts of the piers had been rebuilt in cement and not many bricks were salvageable from that. I’m going to be 1000 bricks short.
It will be a happy wall again, rebuilt in lime mortar that will last for hundreds of years.
At the rear of the house facing the 1970s bungalows a large stretch of wall was replaced with fence in the late 1980s. It turns out that the bungalow site was levelled to below the wall foundation. The bricks don’t reach the ground. The foundations are 3 inches thick so might have just about made it to the ground in places, but I’m guessing this wasn’t enough for an old wall which had suddenly become a retaining wall.