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Michael

Not only is your project one I would aspire to, I am amazed at your ingenuity - the soil sieve and stone grader is fantastic:)

I absolutely second your comments Philip.

What a smart piece of DIY engineering!

The whole rammed earth thing is very interesting and I'm going to look search rammed earth on youtube, google etc as the website suggests.

Rob

I enjoyed this insight into earth-friendly construction and I particularly like the idea of keeping resources within the garden using the 'closed loop' approach. We lose so much from gardens via brown wheelie bins that it's good to see a technique reversing that trend.

One thought that's crossed my mind is that the best soil for rammed earth purposes must surely be subsoil, which is generally more lifeless and inert than richer topsoil. I hope this is something that's covered on Michael's courses; I hate to think how many earthworms might be entombed if anyone rushes out to use their best topsoil!

Also, a few years ago, in a book, I saw rammed earth being used to make raised garden beds. These beds were left exposed to the elements i.e. they had no waterproof capping on them, and my instincts told me that something wasn't right - so I checked with those pioneers of rammed earth building, the Centre for Alternative Technology at Machynlleth, in mid Wales.

Lo and behold, they told me that for rammed earth to work in that situation, it would indeed need some form of cover over the top of the raised beds to basically keep rain out and stop the earth from becoming damp and crumbly and prone to frost heave.

Is this your experience, and how do you keep the weather out?

I have to say I am not an expert on this subject but have been reading a lot and doing some research since Michael's post.

Modern techniques do tend to include a concrete footing and a concrete plate to seal the wall from water penetration.

Lime or cement can be added to stabilise the structure. I know that cement is resource hungry in its production and is responsible for a lot of the worlds emissions - at least it is a decent compromise by utilising materials from the site where one may otherwise import other concrete materials and still use cement in construction? - good question tough John.

I enjoyed this

Hi, this really is inspiring - any idea what you would charge for a 1m x 2m rammed earth wall to use as a garden feature?

Including labour costs?

(I'm a garden design student - I'm guessing about £400?) ((laugh if you want to!))

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