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...


Anonymous said...

I see you did quite a bit of paving, where is your on site storm water detention system, in the front yard?

Allan said...

Hi David,

Our council did not ask for any water detention system to be installed for our construction.

Not 100% sure, but I heard that in our council area if you are building duplex, have draining/flood issue, special soil condition (couldn't retain water or something like that?), ...etc, then you need to install those expensive detention system.

Take the house accross the street for example, although on same street, we are on the high side and they are on the low side, and all their neighbours around them complained to council about some draining issue - which everyone agreed it's actually council's responsibility to fix - in the end they have to put in 2 huge under water detention system to make everyone happy...

Better check with council and builder (or even the neightbours?) to get the correct information.

Allan said...

Sorry, should be "underground water detention system" instead of "under water detention system"

Anonymous said...

what type of the blocks are these blocks? are they Tasman blocks? where did you get them from?

Allan said...

Hi David,
Can't remember which model but it's definitely a Boral Retaining wall block. I just have a quick look, looks like a "Pyrmont" one. You can get more details in this link: