Levelling a garden

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Hi all
I'm trying to level a section of garden to put down a patio. I have read guides on the internet about how to do this but do not comprehend the information well (I'm a real gardening beginner).
My understanding is that I need a "master peg," a spirit level and level planks but am not sure exactly what to do with them.
Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
--
khevlan


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What you want is a string line and string line level.
Mine is orange string wrapped around a plastic handle with a rotating reel.
Here's what the string line level looks like:
http://www.ironworkergear.com/stanleyaluminumstringlinelevel.aspx
It will work on any string but get the string made for the job, it's worth it.
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I would use a water level. That's a clear flexible hose, open on both ends. Pour water in, holding both ends up so it doesn't run out. The water level is equal in both ends no matter what.
    Una
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snipped-for-privacy@att.net (Una) writes:

For my last project I made my own water level out of clear flexible hose. I don't know why but I found it difficult to get consistent readings and difficult to prop up both ends of the hose.
That's what led me to the string level.
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On Fri, 09 Apr 2010 21:12:52 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net wrote:

You need to mark off graduations from the end of the hose and proper use requires two people, however there are factors such as parallax and surface tension that render such a device inaccurate... at best it'd give a rough approximation.

A string level is fine if you want to set something approximately level but is pretty useless for determining pitch.
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Huh?
If I have 2 pegs in the ground, and I've marked level on each, pitch is just measuring down one of the pegs the pitch I want.
That's not what I'd call useless.
As I remember I could easily get within a quarter inch of level on a 20 foot run. That's based on how far I could move the string and see no difference in the bubble.
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Una wrote:

Hose alone is difficult. For good tips on how to make a really easy water level, see http://www.factsfacts.com/MyHomeRepair/WaterLevel.htm
    Una
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khevlan wrote:

How big is the area and how level does it need to be? Laser levels are quite cheap these days and much more effective over a large area if it needs to be accurate.
David
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On Sat, 10 Apr 2010 08:38:26 +1000, "David Hare-Scott"

And you don't want a patio level, it needs to be pitched so that water runs off and away from buildings.
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Yes, but you need to find level to establish the pitch.
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On Fri, 09 Apr 2010 21:10:53 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net wrote:

Actually level exists by default, determined by gravity... one only needs to determine pitch... that's why those secondary/terciary graduations on mason's levels. Line levels are good for erecting a fence/curbing but are pretty useless for determining patio pitch, roof/gutter pitch, wasteline pitch... for larger jobs or where more accuracy is required, like parking lots and roadways, one should use a transit/theodolite. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodolite
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Hmm, what did I say about "level existing"?
I used the term "find level". Do you think you can find level by default?

A quick search turns up prices of $750 to $1000 US.
Is that really your advice?
If you can find a reasonably priced laser with a light bright enough, go for it.
Otherwise, you need good string to mark out the size and shape of the patio, so the string is needed anyway.
Cut some good pegs, run the string, hang the $2 line level on the string and you're on your way.
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I believe laser levels are difficult to use outdoors.
Read that somewhere...
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snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net wrote:

That is a furphy. They are used outdoors all the time in the building industry and in agriculture and it is not at all difficult. My dam and my house were both constructed using laser levels.
David
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On Fri, 09 Apr 2010 21:10:13 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net wrote:

This is true, the beam is not very visible in daylight... nor are all laser levels similarly accurate, especially not over distances greater than the typical house room... they're fine for setting kitchen cabinets but don't rely on a laser level to frame an entire house. When using a laser level to set cabinets it'd be wise to double check with a carpenter's bubble level.
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brooklyn1 wrote:

Nonsense
David
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brooklyn1 wrote:

That is a pure out lie!! Land surveyors & house builders use them all the time, almost exclusively!!
Tom J
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What land surveyors are using is of little interest to the average homeowner.
I see prices ranging from $40 up into the hundreds of dollars.
I doubt the $40 model is going to be any good outdoors.
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snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net wrote:

The tool rental stores where I live have them for rent & 1/2 day should be enough to do the job, IF IT HAS TO BE LEVEL. That I question.
Tom J
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wrote:

Finally someone who is literate... patios are NOT supposed to be level... string levels and laser levels are of absolutely no value for building a patio.
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