Drives, paths and landscaping

10.2.9Garden areas

Garden areas within 20m of habitable accommodation shall be adequately prepared, stable and provided with reasonable access.

The stability of new or existing slopes in garden areas should be determined by an engineer in accordance with Technical Requirement R5. Alternatively, the following maximum gradients should apply:

  • Unsupported granular soil should be 5° less than its natural angle of repose.
  • Unsupported cohesive soil should not exceed 9° (1:6).

Garden areas should have:

  • old foundations, concrete bases and similar obstructions removed from within 450mm of the finished ground surface
  • appropriate action, undertaken to restore physical condition (e.g. soil structure) and drainage characteristics of the topsoil and subsoil that has been compacted during construction. This should include subsoil decompaction, such as rotavating, to a minimum depth of 300mm and topsoil cultivation to the full depth of compaction. Further guidance is provided in BS 3882 on the depths, handling, management and preparation of topsoil and subsoil for landscaping.
  • ground disturbed during construction re-graded to conform to the general shape of the adjacent ground
  • a minimum thickness of 100mm topsoil provided
  • topsoil should be suitable for general landscape purposes and should also not contain contaminants which may present a hazard to the occupants
  • topsoil that is disturbed or compacted after placement should be fully reinstated before planting, turfing or seeding.

Subsoil should not be placed over topsoil. Construction rubbish and debris should be removed from the garden and other areas around the home before topsoiling, and before or after planting, turfing or seeding.

Access is not required to small isolated garden areas, such as narrow strips of land at the top or bottom of retaining walls, but should be provided to other areas where appropriate by steps or other suitable means.