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25 November 2013

All You Need to Know About Cobbles

Cobbled streets and pavements have been a part of British life for as long as any of us can remember, but how did this come to be so, and why were they so popular? Here at Aggregate Shop we explain to you the origins of the cobblestone and how they came to be used throughout the UK in such a short space of time.


What Are Cobbles?

The term cobblestone is derived from the English word ‘cob’ which implies a small object that is hard and round; this term is believed to have been used as early as the 15th century to describe stones, bread and much more.


The cobblestones that are seen today are not as favourable as they used to be and have been replaced throughout the majority of the UK with tarmac and asphalt roads. Although some of the most famous cobbled streets still remain, one example of this is the cobbled streets of the popular British soap, Coronation Street.



What Was Their Purpose?

Cobbles were used throughout the UK to create streets, roads and pavements. The cobblestones were used due to their stable, sturdy and incredibly hard wearing nature, although it was not the English that discovered this use for cobblestones.


It was the Romans that first began to use cobblestones to pave their streets and roads; they would often send their men and various workers to wade into very cold streams and the edges of rivers to find the roundest and sturdiest pebbles to create more roads throughout the country.


The word cobble was later used for any stone that was between 2.5 and 10 inches across, but the stones were not measured. All of the stones were evaluated by eye alone and the roads were not measured either; the roads were put to together like very long and time consuming jigsaw puzzles by hundreds of different people over the span of many years.



Significant Changes Caused by Cobbled Roads

Cobblestone paths and roads were created long before anybody had thought to invent health and safety regulations, but the use of cobbles did make a significant change to the daily lives of those that were able to sue them.


Before cobble stone roads were made there were only muddy paths that were used as roads. The longer that these paths were used for the more treacherous they became as the dirt began to wear away creating potholes that posed a danger to both the people and the horses using the roads.


It was the duty of the government and the landowners to pay bills and taxes to repair these roads which would make them safer to use, but the majority of the time they could not afford to. When the roads became too difficult to use trade would stop completely which would leave people without supplies that they desperately needed.


By paving the roads with cobblestones it made them much safer and repairs did not have to be made as frequently which meant that trade also increased significantly.


Another issue that was partially resolved through the use of cobblestone roads is traffic accidents. Often a horse and carriage or a vehicle could hit a person before they knew what was happening as they did not hear the approach of the horse or vehicle. Cobblestone paths and roads made it so that you could hear anything approaching from an increased distance which decreased the amount of deaths that were caused through road accidents.


It’s unfortunate that cobblestone roads have lost favour in the eyes of society but I believe that they will always remain a part of the UK. For more information on installing a cobble path within your garden or as part of your driveway you can get in touch with us here at Aggregate Shop.

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posted by Aggregate Shop at 12:15
22 November 2013

Common Problems Caused by Insufficient Sand and Salt

Looking after your garden is not an easy task, there are many different aspects of your garden area that can pose problems with no obvious solutions. How do you know what is causing these problems and how can you solve them? Here’s a guide to the main problems that are posed by not enough sand or salt within your garden and how you can pick up on the issues before the damage becomes irreversible.


Insufficient Sand – The Consequences

There are many problems caused by insufficient sand within your soil, here are some of the main problems that can arise and how you can deal with the problem as it occurs.


The first issue that you may encounter is soil compaction. The soil within your garden can become compacted during wet weather as you walk across the soil the particles are forced closer together and the air between the particles escapes. If your soil becomes too compacted the amount of water that is able to drain away is drastically decreased; due to this there will be a build-up of excess water which can lead to the rotting of the roots of your plants.


The second issue that can arise when the soil begins to compact is that the roots of your plant cannot spread any further which means they will not have access to the nutrients that they need. If the plants within your garden do not have access to the nutrients that they require they can begin to starve and are very susceptible to disease and attack from pests.


The Solution

The easiest way for you to fix this problem it to mix fine sand particles within the soil of your garden; on the other hand you must ensure that you do not use too much sand. If you mix too much sand into your soil the drainage can be increased significantly, but this is not a good thing. If the drainage within the soil is increased too much your plants may not have access to the water as it will drain through the soil too quickly.


Insufficient Salt – The Consequences

Insufficient amounts of salt within the soil of your garden can pose just as much of a risk as if there is not enough sand.


The plants and flowers within your garden require a small amount of salt to perform basic biological functions such as photosynthesis and respiration. If your plants do not receive this salt they can quickly begin to starve and die, so it’s essential that you make sure there is enough salt in your soil Although as with the sand, there are also problems caused by too much salt in your soil – if the percentage of salt is too high it can cause the diffusion of water to work against the plants rather than with them.


Some of the most common garden pests that will attack the vegetation and foliage within your garden are slugs and snails. By placing salt within the soil of your garden you can discourage slugs and snails; although this method isn’t friendly towards the slugs and snails it’s a lot safer than leaving pellets lying around your garden as these can make dogs and cats very ill.


There are many other reasons as to why you should use sand and salt within your garden. For more information on the uses of these products or any other aggregates feel free to get in touch with us as Aggregate Shop – we’d be happy to hear from you.

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posted by Aggregate Shop at 11:21
20 November 2013

Using Aggregates in Hydroponics

Cultivating plants through hydroponics is an incredibly simple process that is based around hydroculture which involves removing plants from soil and placing them in a nutrient solution where their roots will absorb the nutrients within the water. However, these plants do not always have to be removed from soil before they can be grown hydroponically, some plants can be grown directly from seeds within this nutrient solution.




Hydroponics is not a very new idea as it was first investigated in 1627 by Francis Bacon, although his research on the topic was not discovered and published until after his death. In 1699 John Woodward attempted to explore hydroponics further but he did not have the resources to continue with his work.


A number of experiments were conducted concerning growing plants within water and without the aid of soil but there was limited success up until it was discovered by the German botanists Julius von Sachs and Wilhelm Knop. It was within the years of 1859-65 that the pair of botanists managed to develop a stable technique of soilless cultivation.


How Does it Work?

The idea is that you can grow a plant in water that is not clean, but they thrive when placed in water that is filled with a nutrient solution. The water has to be kept at an optimum pH with no pollutants and the plant must also have access to carbon dioxide and oxygen so that it may photosynthesise.


When placed in the nutrient water an adult plant will begin to take in the nutrients almost straight away through osmosis within its roots; a seedling will first use up its own store of energy before producing basic roots that will continue to absorb the nutrients.


Aggregates and Hydroponics

The use of aggregates within hydroponics was not thought of until sometime later as it was believed that the plants did not soil so they did not need a base either. However the majority of plants seek to obtain a very specific pH and temperature so that they can grow within their optimum conditions. It was due to this need for an optimum temperature that scientists and gardeners alike began to experiment with the use of aggregates in hydroponics.


The idea of the aggregates is that they stabilise the temperature of the water greatly as they absorb heat which prevents the nutrient water from becoming too hot, this in turn prevents the enzymes from denaturing within the plant which would cause it to die.


As well as preventing the nutrient water from becoming too warm the aggregates, usually rocks or sand, can also issue out the heat that it absorbed when the water becomes too cool. This is one of the main ways in which aggregates can aid in the process of cultivating plants through hydroponics.


There are a variety of other ways in which aggregates can aid in plant growth of plants. For more information on aggregates and how you can utilise them to their full potential you can get in touch with us at Aggregate Shop. We’d be more than happy to help.

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posted by Aggregate Shop at 17:16
8 November 2013

The Risks of a Garden without Rock

Through our previous articles we’ve discussed why the use of aggregates within your garden is important and how you can utilise them to create the best garden possible; but we haven’t explained the disadvantages of a garden that does not use aggregates. There are plenty of advantages to using a variety of rocks within your garden – but here’s what would happen if you did not include these aggregates or did not use enough of them throughout your garden and home.



If you do not use aggregates within your garden it’s likely that you will instead have a large amount of uncovered soil or lawn with flowering borders. This variety of foliage will need maintaining; which means that you will have to spend a portion of your time each month tidying up your garden and ensuring that you take care of the waste. You are also likely to increase your electricity bills by mowing the lawn or trimming flowering hedges and bushes within your garden.



If you do not use sand or fine gravel within your soil you could find that in wet weather your soil begins to compact and the drainage becomes very poor. If the drainage within your soil is reduced too greatly your lawn can become unhealthy and if the drainage doesn’t improve your soil can begin to die.



Without aggregates in your garden your soil can begin to die – once your lawn is dead you will be left with compacted soil that turns into mud during wet weather conditions. This mud can be trodden in to your house on a regular basis; theoretically you will have to spend an increased amount of time maintaining your garden and maintaining your home.



Wildlife can come in a variety of forms, not all of them are large enough for you to notice, but they can be incredibly useful. If you do not have any aggregates there are specific types of wildlife that you will not be able to lure into your garden. If you’re not attracting a wide variety of wildlife to your garden you could find that your garden is less interesting and also less attractive.



If there aren’t any aggregates within your garden you are effectively reducing the quality of peace that you are obtaining from your garden. Using aggregates throughout your garden as part of a design or pattern can improve the appearance of your garden which in turn can enhance your mood. An enhanced mood can reduce the effects of insomnia, stress and anxiety – by avoiding the use of aggregates within your garden you could potentially cause your health to deteriorate.


So if you avoid the use of aggregates within your garden you’re likely to spend more time cleaning or maintaining your garden and less time relaxing in the quiet of your home. For more information on aggregates or for the finest quality aggregates and services you can get in touch with us here at Aggregate Shop.

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posted by Aggregate Shop at 10:35
4 November 2013

3 Types of Aggregate that will Rock your Garden

Aggregates are one of the best materials that you can sue throughout your garden; buy utilising aggregates you can cut your water, gardening and electricity bills. Using aggregates in your garden makes it much simpler for you to maintain your outdoor area, but how do you know which type of aggregate is right for your garden?

There are a variety of aggregates that you could use within your garden, but here are our top three from Aggregate Shop.


#3 – Crushed Granite Gravel

Crushed granite gravel is not as fine as decomposed granite and has less of a granular texture; crushed granite gravel is made up of larger particles than decomposed granite and has a slightly rougher texture too.


This type of aggregate is ideal for walkways, paths and for creating designs within your garden as it gives a polished and contemporary look to your garden. On the other hand if you live in a rural area it can be difficult to get a hold of a large amount of crushed granite gravel and if you do obtain some it can cost up to twice the price of standard decomposed granite.


Crushed granite gravel does not require a great deal of maintenance and is very resistant to the majority of weather conditions. It’s suggested that you replace or add to your crushed granite gravel once every few years when weather conditions are dry.


#2 – Paddle Stones

Paddle stones are quite large stones when compared to various types of gravel that can be used within the garden. Paddle stones are often made of slate and come in an assortment of colours, including purple, grey and several shades of blue.


Paddle stones are perfect for creating rockeries and for surrounding water features such as fountains as their shape and their colour compliments the way the water falls from the feature. Paddle stones are also an excellent way of preventing weeds from growing within your garden as it is difficult for weeds to grow on these slate stones and the weeds cannot access the soil beneath the slate.


#1 – Pea Gravel

Pea gravel is made up of very small rounded stones, which as the name suggests, are approximately the size of a pea. Pea gravel can come in a variety of colours but the majority of pea gravel can range from colours such as tan, white, grey and brown.


Pea gravel is often inexpensive and is also readily available. A bag of pea gravel can cost as little as £2.50 if you exclude delivery or shipping prices. Pea gravel is ideal for patios and pathways within your garden but keep in mind that anything with wheels is likely to become stuck in the pea gravel as the wheels can sink.


There is one thing that you should keep in mind when using pea gravel within your garden is that you still need to weed on a regular basis so that maintenance does not become a vast and time consuming task.


There are a variety of other aggregates that you can use within your garden, bur whichever one you select, remember that it’s often cheaper to buy in bulk than it is to purchase small and precise amounts of aggregates. For more information on calculating the mass of aggregates that is appropriate for your garden or for professional aggregate advice you can get in touch with us here at Aggregate Shop.

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posted by Aggregate Shop at 10:57

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