This post describes the condition of the ground that Taylor Wimpey decided would be suitable for planting hedging in at the front of our new build property. This forms part of our on-going struggle to have TW meet the quality expected (and required) of them. Look out for additional posts in the near future discussing snagging, the back garden, and other issues that have arisen since. Unfortunately, TW are completely ignoring me with regard to this particular issue and I suspect they’re trying to ride out the period until our TW warranty expires and they’ll only have to put right any structural defects rather than fixing bad workmanship as they are currently required to do.
A very quick backstory first. When we moved into the house there was some hedging planted out the front between our driveway and the public path. Fast forward 1.5 years and it has had maybe a couple of inches of growth, if that. Our assumption was that they gave us unwell plants and put them in bad soil (our experience around the property has been a combination of rubble and solid clay). At that point we made the decision to pull the plants up, replace the soil, and put in something a bit nicer like Red Robins. That brings us to the real issue, described here.
We first dug slightly past the end of the existing hedging as it stopped short of the fence at the end of our property and we intended the new hedging to run right up to this. The first sign of trouble was finding pieces of concrete significantly larger than we expected. The picture below shows a selection of these once they had been broken up and removed. While this wasn’t in the hedge planting area, it was still in an area used for grass and so the soil there is required to be suitable for planting. As it was, it barely supported the grass.
However, it turned out that the worst was still to come. After removing the “soil” and concrete from the area above, we moved on to the actual hedge planting area. As it turns out, the reason for the hedging not growing was that it was planted in between 2 and 5 inches of soil on top of a layer of solid concrete, as shown below. How this could pass as suitable for any kind of planting I have no idea. The NHBC requirements would certainly say it’s not suitable.
Unfortunately I didn’t get a good picture with all the soil removed, but that concrete layer extended across and along the full width and length of the hedging area. Beneath the concrete was a layer of brickwork that also required removing in order to provide sufficient soil depth.
As an added bonus, we also came across the pipe shown below sticking out of the concrete and underlying layer of brick. This was cut off just below the surface of the soil and could easily have caused injury were someone to have fallen on that spot. (Note, we’ve removed the concrete and some of the brickwork before the photo was taken.)
To round the post off, here are a couple of pictures of the bags of rubble we ended up removing. There ended up being 12 of these bags of assorted rubble.
Our current request (being ignored by TW) is that TW pay for the replacement soil and arrange to have the rubble disposed of. How they dispose of the rubble is up to them, it’ll probably end up in some else’s garden based on our experience.