Tuesday, 22 July 2008

[Progress.135] Landscaping Update - 6

Our paving work started around 25/6 after the sand has been harden. As shown in photo below, the retaining wall work just completed, still very messy in other areas. The paving work started at the back near the alfresco area.

As shown below, the pavings were laid in a nice pattern.

I took this photo to show the level of the pavings were quite close to the tiles in the alfresco.

This photo is to show the drain temporarily covered with PVC cover, at the corner of the retaining wall.

This is the left side of the house with retaining wall completed but no paving work on this side yet.

Next day, paving work almost reached the front of the house.

The driveway also mostly completed.

The paving near the entrance still not completed yet.

This photo was taken the next day, you can see the bricks near the pipe next to the water tank was nicely cut.

Clearer view of the paving work near front entrance. I think they use the white pipe as a measuring tool for the curve.

The paving for right hand side completed. The steel posts are for the fence.

Few days later, the curve part of the driveway done. Joe put a few bricks around it to remind us the concrete wasn't completely dried yet, stay away!

The driveway, with the 2 curves at the top completed.

As the front porch is about 2-3 bricks higher than the driveway, we decided to add extra step at the front for easier access.

Our turf/lawn arrived as well!

After a few days, we finally have some lawn/grasses at our back yard, no more ugly, sticky mud! Only thing we need now is: rain! Notice the drain in front of the steps still not completed yet.

This is what it looks like the next day.

The right hand side corner, with completed paving work. Notice the drain cover was replaced with a proper one.

Joe also added an extra garden bed at the front near the entrance as we told him we like to plant some extra plants over there.

During the weekend we spent some of our time filling all the gaps with sand. Joe did finish part of it yesterday, but as there were plenty of sand left, we decided to add some extra sand on top to make it stronger...

We went to a nursery in Kenthurst and bought about 120 pots, sounds like a huge number to us but as shown below, when they arrived on Monday, it doesn't look that many actually. This is about 1/3 of them.

The other 2/3 I think. Might have to visit the nursery again to buy some more...

Next afternoon, Joe got all the plants in place after full day's work. This is the same area next to the alfresco. Compare to the photos above and you can see the huge differences.

This is at the back end of our land, behind the huge gum tree.

The front part, where the new garden bed was located.

The other side of the driveway. Have a look at the condition of the fence...

Only a few minor things left and we will be ready for final inspection to get our formal Occupation Certificate!

To be continued...

Thursday, 10 July 2008

[Others.021] Try these beautiful Rain Chains

Thanks to this post from MARTIN & AAM's blog, this is the first time I ever seen this beautiful "Rain Chains".

It works the same way like the downpipes that connects to your gutters. But it's definitely looks much better than the colourbond or ugly PVC ones.

This one is from www.rainchain.com.

The rest are from www.rainchains.com. Yes, there's an extra "s" at the end, and it's a completely different company...

Found this site selling a 2.7M chain for AU$475, not cheap and it doesn't look as good as the ones I mentioned above.

Lots of people spend lots of money for water features, may be Rain Chains are a easier/simpler/cheaper alternative??!!

Any way, one extra thing for you to consider if you want your house to look special when compared to others in your neighbourhood!

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

[Progress.134] Landscaping Update - 5

This is a very long post, so please be patient...

On 7/6, same day as the gas leaking problem happened, we have all the huge blocks and capping for retaining wall delivered.

Joe started his work on 9/6 and this is what the right hand side of the wall looked like early 10/6 morning after full day of hard work. It might not seem much, but hey, let me remind you, each of those blocks weigh at least 45 kg! And they also have to install a drainage at the back, hammer a few huge plastic nails (yellow stick in the photo) into it, fill the back with little pebbles and a few other stuffs as well. It's not a simple task!

This is the middle section, there will be a stair installed in the center. This is only the first section at the front, we splitted the wall into 2 to make it look nicer. The area on the ground with a few bricks will be the drain. If you click on the image to have a closer look at the fence, you will have a better idea about the condition of the fence in the background. Tell me if it's you, how would you feel if the neighbour told you "because you are building a new house, you have to pay for the new fence!" Yeah right, keep dreaming mate!

As usual, Joe arrived around 7:30am, start working on the heavy blocks. Have a close look at the amount of pebbles/little rocks they put in at the back to fill the gaps. And you can also have a closer look at the condition of the fence as well.

Joe's truck was carrying full load of pebbles that day. And a few steel posts for the fence. No, this is not for the fence I mentioned above. This is for the other side which the neighbour has agreed to share the cost...

When I returned home that night, we have a few more layers of blocks added.

On 13/6, most of the blocks were completed, only thing left is the stairs part.

This is the middle section of the wall. You can clearly see the 2 walls now. Joe have finished the foundation for the stairs and he also buried a PVC pipe under it so that my to-be-completed garden light and irrigation system can be easily connected to the other side of the stairs in the future.

This is the area right next to the middle stairs section. Thanks to the council's &#$%@!$# tree protection requirement (for the big tree marked with orange tapes in pictures above), we have to end the double wall and merge back into one. Yes, I know that PVC pipe looks ugly. That's the to-be-completed garden light, which our electrician already finished the connection to the switch inside the house. But we haven't decided what to do about it yet (Which type of light? How many lights? How many Watts of transformers, ...etc). The little black pipe next to it is the irrigation system which connects to the water tank.

This was taken on 14/6 morning for the right hand side section, compare with the 2nd photo above and you can see the huge difference. The area between the 2 walls will be our garden bed. Next thing we need to worry is, what sort of plants we should have??

This is the middle section. Have a look at the amount of soil/dirt they digged at the back.

This is a closer look of the stairs area. There wasn't much progress as the supplier accidentally delivered the wrong cappings to be used for the stairs. The cappings been delivered were actually a much expensive ones. And thanks to their mistake, as otherwise we wouldn't even be aware of this cappings at all. After comparing the quality of the 2, we love the expensive one but of course Joe strongly against it as it costs twice as much...

After some negotiation, we agreed to use the better cappings only for the stair steps as that will be the most heavily used area, and good old Joe agreed not to charge us extra for that. The photo below is what the stairs look like on 18/6 night. The thinner one on top are the more expensive cappings and the one under it for step 2/3/4 are the normal ones. Can you see the difference?

Still not very clear? Me too when I first look at them! That's why I added a few more photos. From the first one below, you can see the thickness difference. The normal one at the left is much thicker, but the quality/density is not as good. We tried hitting both with a hammer and the normal one cracks quite easily.

This one is viewed from the top. If you rotate the normal bricks at the left 90 degrees, the width will be exactly the same as the expensive one. You can also clearly see that the expensive one is almost twice the size, which will make the stairs easier to walk as the depth of the steps will be much longer.

This is a closer look of the stairs. After the explaination above, hope it's clearer for you now.

Next day, Joe continued to work on the stairs. He also added a rubber sheet to protect the steps. The drain at the bottom is temporarily connected to a PVC pipe and later it will be replaced with a proper drain covered.

When I returned that night, all 8 steps were completed! Couldn't see very clearly during night time, but we were still very excited.

This was taken next day morning from the top of the stairs.

This one from different angle. All the extra soil/dirt above were also removed. They also started compacting the floors to prepare for the paving.

This is the right hand side again, with the cappings installed and the drain also temporarily connected to a PVC pipe.

On 23/6 all our paving bricks arrived!

This one from different angle...

This post covers the retaining wall part, next landscape update will cover the paving one, stay tuned!

To be continued...