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 Post subject: Landscaping
PostPosted: Wed 07 Dec, 2016 10:17 pm 
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So it's been about 18 months since we completed the last project, which was the shed. Time to hit the landscaping. I originally had no freaking idea what I wanted to do. Absolutely none. So I got a couple of guys out who both threw out some very good ideas, but ultimately it was the landscaper who I didn't have to chase who won the work.

Seriously. It's a bit of coin getting this work done, and I had one guy who took a week call me back. When he did call me back I had forgotten I called him. Then he took 2 weeks to get me the quote when he finally did come out. Then the quote was wrong, then I asked for him to make corrections and quote with the materials we talked about, and he never got back to me. I figured if it's this hard trying to give him my money, how hard will it be when something goes wrong and we need to work stuff out.

Anyway...onto the pictures....

So this is a high level idea of what the guy came up with.. and I liked it. The crappy drawing is my work, not his.
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For the retaining wall, we went with these blocks called "Natural Impressions Flagstone". We liked the look and it reminded us of the Canadian ski resorts/Whistler/American/Colorado looking style.
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And here is what we started off with... just a grassy embankment that served no purpose other than to pool water next to the house during very heavy rain.
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This is the deck at the front door, but the area infront of it is pretty rubbish.
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This is the other side of the house where the laundry is.
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And yesterday...work finally began.

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It took 3L of pure round-up to kill off the grass to make it easier for them to dig up.
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After day 1, the whole area had been dug.
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Here you can see the drains that will go in to take water away from the area.
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And the blocks for the retaining wall/landscape wall were delivered.
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Day 2, and now the wall starts going up.
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The area looks huge...and it is. It's bigger than I thought it would be.
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There will be some nice sandstone steps going in here.
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This will be the firepit area.
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When the guy asked me what sort of firepit I wanted - I sent him this photo as the basic idea. It'll be interesting to see how close he gets it.
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They've now started moving dirt around the other side for the raised garden.
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I'll post more pics as the work progresses but all things going well, it should all be done just before Christmas.

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 Post subject: Re: Landscaping
PostPosted: Mon 12 Dec, 2016 11:37 pm 
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They've done a fair bit of work in the last couple of days. They are still tracking to have it all finished by Christmas. They'll have the firepit side finished in the next day or two, then they start the otherside of the house.

On Thursday, the sandstone rocks turned up. These are about 100cm x 45cm x 45cm or so, and each one weights 500-600kg.
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The boys started preparing the area for the path..
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And fast forward 2 days and here is the firepit area...
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The sandstones are what I like to call "all weather seating". It'll never need to be repainted and it won't rot. Once a while when it looks a bit dark I just hit it with the pressure cleaner. The seats are 1m away from the firepit, it's a good distance and feels "right" when you're sitting on them. Not too far away, but not too close either.
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In the end we went 4 courses high with the blocks for the firepit. I had 5 in mind but it turned out to be too high if you're sitting there. Too high means it's basically blocking the warmth.
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Here's Jo and Andrea checking out the path. In that space to the right, it looks a bit plain at the moment but it'll be decorated out with pot plants etc at a later date by us. Later date meaning...sometime over Christmas.
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The sandpit/kids play area is nearly finished. They get their own rocks they can climb/jump over. In that area of dirt will go the hedge maze. I came up with a design and the guy is going to see if he has enough plants for it. If not, I have a simpler version I can do. The maze will have an entrance on the sandpit side, the house side and the path side.
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This area here will be a stepping stone entrance done in decorative gravel. In the future we'll build like an arbour over the area where you can see the stack of pavers. We have this idea we want to try of covering the arbour in jasmine.
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And the whole area from the front of the house through to the back. It's only now I'm getting an idea of the scale of what the guys have done. It explains the 6m x 3m pile of dirt I have in the back yard now (which will be used for a future project).
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Next update will be when it's all done.

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 Post subject: Re: Landscaping
PostPosted: Wed 14 Dec, 2016 3:55 pm 
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Impressive mate. I like how you don't do things by halves.


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 Post subject: Re: Landscaping
PostPosted: Sat 17 Dec, 2016 1:12 pm 
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Thanks Tim! Do it once, do it right I say.

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 Post subject: Re: Landscaping
PostPosted: Sat 17 Dec, 2016 1:52 pm 
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So, it took 4 guys just under 2 weeks to do all the work. They pulled some 12hr days aswell. They turned up at 6am on the dot, and when I got home at 6pm, on quite a number of days they were just starting to pack up. I was the last job of their year and they wanted to get it done before Christmas. That worked for me too, because even though I didn't really set the expectation....I really wanted it done in time for Christmas. And well...it's now all done.

Going clockwise around the house... we have the entrance to the left. So you can either walk on the path right next to the house, or eventually... choose to walk on the pavers which will lead you to an arbour thing with jasmine hanging from it.
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So the arbour would be over the pavers, parallel to about where the hose reel/phone line is.
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The kids have their own play area/epic sandpit which over the years will serve multiple functions. It's about 15" deep to dig to the bottom.. At the moment their plastic "whatever that's called" (cubby house, jungle gym thing) sits in the pit. But over time, that will change. We can put the swing set in there, a hexagonal climbing thing I saw on ebay... a table and chairs etc. They have their own sandstone rocks they can climb over, jump across, graffiti with chalk, bounce balls off, sit on and eat a sandwich etc. This is more or less a 100% kids area.
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Enter the hedge maze. My own design. A simple design due to space constraints and the number of plants we could fit, but a hedge maze none the less. Those of you with a keen eye will see there is sort of a "centre of the maze" (Westworld anyone?) - and in there we can put a chair or whatever. The plants are very young at the moment and they were actually suppose to be a bit higher. But this is all the supplier could get of this particular plant. Give it a year or two and it will grow and flesh out. The plant (if left to fully grow) will get to about shoulder high on an adult. These are different plants to what was originally spec'ed as well. The original plants we were going to get were a Japanese box hedge, which grows to knee high on an adult. We changed the plants at the last minute because of the extra height these hedges will get to. I like to think of this area as 50/50% kids and adults. After a few drinks I'm sure any adult would find getting through the maze a novelty. Also notice there's an entrance from the sandpit side; a quick exit/escape route to the path beside the house, and another entrance on the paver side.
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I needed access to the upper level of the backyard and this is what they came up with. I like it. It's a paver path and some stairs, not much really else to say.
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Now the piece de resistance... the fire pit. See the pavers in the rock.. the cross of 4 are for walking on. In time (maybe later today if I get the chance), I've got these 2 large royal blue glazed pots I want to put on the pavers that are on either side of that cross. I'll get some nice looking plant to put in the pots and the blue against the red/orange rock should really set the area off. You can walk through to the fire pit from the paver path, or simply step out into it from the outdoor area.
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The fire pit measures 1.9m in diameter, and has the sandstones as permanent seating. During parties or whatever it'll be "pull up a chair". The pit is made out of the same blocks as the wall, tying it all together. The landscaper said he thought it looked a bit "northern territory". Whatever the look - we've always had fires out here during parties, and when we were in Africa at the safari lodges we went to, the fire pit was the central communal place after dinner. We had to have one and it fills the space nicely. Those of you who have been to the house and know the outdoor area - this is straight outside the space were we have our outdoor lounge. This area I like to think of as 100% adults.
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Around the top of the wall is an edged garden just filled with cedar mulch. I love the way it smells outside right now while it's still all new. When we were in Banff last year, they used the cedar trees as firewood in the cabins we stayed in - and it's the same smell. In the next few weeks (probably over Christmas), we'll get some plants and plant out that garden ourselves.
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Around to the other side of the house, this is much simpler with just a wall and a garden bed on top. The plants may look small now (and they are), but give it a year or two and the garden will really be on point.
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Due to this side of the house being in a lot of sun all year round - the landscaper went with tropical plants.
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Again...I needed access to the clothes line. So some paver steps were put in.
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More garden...
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In this section they split the garden into 2 bits. One with the mulch and the other with rocks. The rock part has different plants in it aswell. At a future date I'm thinking of getting a water feature in the rock part.
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And finally - the railway sleeper entrance. Again this just provides an alternate way to the front door. We may decorate this area out further with a nice pot plant or something in the front bottom corner near the wall.
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The only thing left to do now is to get the grass growing back as quickly as possible where all the earth works were done around the base of the wall. Once the grass grows back and goes right up to the edge of the wall - it'll look awesome. My next immediate project over the summer is to get grass seed down, hit some patches of crows foot and paspalum to nuke them, and get my lawn looking good.

But anyway... landscaping = done. Well the area around the house anyway, and this now completes the last "major" thing to do outside the house which we had planned all those years ago.

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 Post subject: Re: Landscaping
PostPosted: Sun 18 Dec, 2016 1:21 pm 
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Looks awesome!

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 Post subject: Re: Landscaping
PostPosted: Wed 21 Dec, 2016 1:29 pm 
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epic mate! great job! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Landscaping
PostPosted: Tue 27 Dec, 2016 10:50 pm 
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So on Boxing Day we had some family around and we christened the firepit... here are some pics.

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 Post subject: Re: Landscaping
PostPosted: Thu 29 Dec, 2016 2:38 pm 
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Looks great mate.


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