Monthly Archives: October 2014

Progress in the sunken garden

Written by stephen gale

The weather has hampered our efforts this week, but even so we are making progress.  After 2 days of laying flagstones, Paddy and Jonny reckon that that have laid about 20 sq yards (this is out of a total of about 160 sq  yards, so there is still a way to go!).  We reckon that it will take most of the coming week (weather permitting) to get all of the flagstones laid just on the lower terrace.  However, you can see from the flags that have been laid so far that it is going to look amazing when it is finished.

Jo and I have started on the wall that is between the two sets of steps that divides the upper and lower terraces.  This wall needs to be brought up to about 300mm to allow Paddy and Jonny to lay the flags up to it.  The rest of the wall can be finished off at a later date, but the bottom few courses need to be in place for them early next week.  I am glad to say that by the end of the day we had succeeded in building up the wall for them.  It is deceptive, but there is a pickup full of reclaimed stone just in the short little wall (it might be short, but it is quite long!).

The blue pipes allow any water that builds up behind the retaining wall to escape.  This blue pipes will be cut short and plastic weep holes built into the wall at the front to allow the water to escape should it build up.

End of day 2 laying flagstones and we reckon that about 20 sq yards has been laid.  A rough calculation would seem to indicate that it will take most of the coming week to get all of the flagstones laid on the lower part of the sunken garden.

End of day 2 laying flagstones and we reckon that about 20 sq yards has been laid. A rough calculation would seem to indicate that it will take most of the coming week to get all of the flagstones laid on the lower part of the sunken garden.

Two days in and Paddy and Jonny have laid about 20 sq yards of flagstones.  By the end of the coming week, the lower terrace should be finished (in terms of laying the flagstones).

Two days in and Paddy and Jonny have laid about 20 sq yards of flagstones. By the end of the coming week, the lower terrace should be finished (in terms of laying the flagstones).

This is before we started building the wall at the front of the retaining wall.  The blue pipes allow any water that builds up to drain through the front wall.  The wiring has been installed for the two lights that will be at the front and the drain has been installed to allow the water to run off the flagstones once they are laid.

This is before we started building the wall at the front of the retaining wall. The blue pipes allow any water that builds up to drain through the front wall. The wiring has been installed for the two lights that will be at the front and the drain has been installed to allow the water to run off the flagstones once they are laid.

We need to get this part of the reclaimed wall built so that the flagstones can be laid throughout the lower terrace of the sunken garden.  This took about half a day to get to this level and this is high enough to allow Paddy and Jonny to finishing flagging this area.  We will be able to finish off this wall after the flags have been laid.  The blue pipes will be cut shorter and will feed into plastic weep holes built into this wall.

We need to get this part of the reclaimed wall built so that the flagstones can be laid throughout the lower terrace of the sunken garden. This took about half a day to get to this level and this is high enough to allow Paddy and Jonny to finishing flagging this area. We will be able to finish off this wall after the flags have been laid. The blue pipes will be cut shorter and will feed into plastic weep holes built into this wall.

There are two sets of stone steps to be installed at each end of this lower wall.  We have formed the steps in blockwork and the large pieces of ashlar will be bedded onto the concrete blockwork.  Unfortunately, the stone is not due to arrive for another 4 or 5 weeks.  In the meantime, we are going to have to get on with the rest of the work.

There are two sets of stone steps to be installed at each end of this lower wall. We have formed the steps in blockwork and the large pieces of ashlar will be bedded onto the concrete blockwork. Unfortunately, the stone is not due to arrive for another 4 or 5 weeks. In the meantime, we are going to have to get on with the rest of the work.

The wall between the two sets of stone steps is being built in the same way as the other walls in the sunken garden.  The stone has been reclaimed from other parts of the property - the majority of this stone came from a wall that we knocked down in one of the old cottages.  Most of this stone went into the wall in the kitchen, but this stone was left over.

The wall between the two sets of stone steps is being built in the same way as the other walls in the sunken garden. The stone has been reclaimed from other parts of the property – the majority of this stone came from a wall that we knocked down in one of the old cottages. Most of this stone went into the wall in the kitchen, but this stone was left over.

 

First of the flagstones being installed

Written by stephen gale

While we were away for a couple of days this week, the first of the flagstones has been installed in the sunken garden.  It is going to take quite some time to get all of these laid.  Still, it will look great once it is done.

The first of the flagstones are starting to be laid in the lower terrace of the sunken garden.  We are using a random pattern rather than laying the flagstones in courses. The flags are of varying thicknesses and we are coping with this by using a thick bed of sand and cement underneath the flags.

The first of the flagstones are starting to be laid in the lower terrace of the sunken garden. We are using a random pattern rather than laying the flagstones in courses. The flags are of varying thicknesses and we are coping with this by using a thick bed of sand and cement underneath the flags.

The thicker of the flagstones are probably on the weight limit for two men to carry - you certainly don't want to have to move them far.  Fortunately, we have managed to move the pallets into the sunken garden using the telehandler.

The thicker of the flagstones are probably on the weight limit for two men to carry – you certainly don’t want to have to move them far. Fortunately, we have managed to move the pallets into the sunken garden using the telehandler.

The flags are of varying quality, but this all adds to the rustic feel of this space.  The worst of the flagstones we are putting to one side and will return the reclamation yard for them to be replaced - they are so rough, they are a "trip hazard"!

The flags are of varying quality, but this all adds to the rustic feel of this space. The worst of the flagstones we are putting to one side and will return the reclamation yard for them to be replaced – they are so rough, they are a “trip hazard”!

Sunken garden and the weather

Written by stephen gale

The bad weather, which has been forecast for a while now, hit us today.  By 2pm, it was too wet to carry on, but Paddy and Jonny did their best.  They switched their attentions to the step by the back door and this has now be laid.  There is no point in trying to point it in this weather, but at least the flagstones are down.  Their is a step to go in underneath the porch and this is being earmarked for another “wet day activity”.  We can’t really do them both at the same time otherwise you wouldn’t be able to get in the house!

Before the really bad weather hit, we had time to use the wacker plate to pack down the crushed stone in the sunken garden.  Now the stone has been packed down, we need to put some more crushed stone to bring the levels back up to where they should be.

Before the really bad weather hit, we had time to use the wacker plate to pack down the crushed stone in the sunken garden. Now the stone has been packed down, we need to put some more crushed stone to bring the levels back up to where they should be.

The upper terrace still has to be levelled, but we are taking the opportunity to get rid of some of the waste stone behind the retaining wall.

The upper terrace still has to be levelled, but we are taking the opportunity to get rid of some of the waste stone behind the retaining wall.

The temporary concrete blocks and flagstone have been removed to make way for some concrete and some new (or rather old) flagstones to be installed.

The temporary concrete blocks and flagstone have been removed to make way for some concrete and some new (or rather old) flagstones to be installed.

These still need to be pointed, but it makes a huge difference to the appearance of this area.  The shoe on the bottom of the rainwater pipe also needs a coat of black paint!

These still need to be pointed, but it makes a huge difference to the appearance of this area. The shoe on the bottom of the rainwater pipe also needs a coat of black paint!

This area is starting to look a little more finished.  It is amazing how you can get used to things looking half finished!!  I have spent the last 2 years doing so!

This area is starting to look a little more finished. It is amazing how you can get used to things looking half finished!! I have spent the last 2 years doing so!

 

Progress on the sunken garden

Written by stephen gale

It has been very wet here in Yorkshire for the past week and this has impacted on the progress on the work in the garden.  Actually, the progress has been pretty good, but the impact is definitely starting to show on the grass!  Lots of rain, new grass and heavy machinery are not a great combination.  Still, it will grow back!

Paddy and Jonny have really put the hours in this week and it shows.  The two terraces are starting to take shape and next week we should be in a position to start laying the first of the flagstones.  All of the wiring is now in place for the uplighters that will light up the walls around the garden at night.

There are a number of uplighters around the perimeter of both the lower and upper terraces.  The wiring has to be put in place before the flagstones are laid.  We know the position of the lights so that we can drill the holes after the flagstones have been laid.

There are a number of uplighters around the perimeter of both the lower and upper terraces. The wiring has to be put in place before the flagstones are laid. We know the position of the lights so that we can drill the holes after the flagstones have been laid.

The wires coming out of the short sections of brown drainage pipe are for the lights that are going to be recessed into the flagstones.  The lights are positioned 30cms from the walls to shine light up against the stone work.

The wires coming out of the short sections of brown drainage pipe are for the lights that are going to be recessed into the flagstones. The lights are positioned 30cms from the walls to shine light up against the stone work.

The blue pipes allow water that builds up behind the retaining wall to seep through the stonework that will face this retaining wall.  The pipes will feed into small plastic weep holes in the finished wall.

The blue pipes allow water that builds up behind the retaining wall to seep through the stonework that will face this retaining wall. The pipes will feed into small plastic weep holes in the finished wall.

This blockwork has been built to support the stone steps that will be installed here.  The blockwork to the right will be face with the same stone as you can see on the back wall above.

This blockwork has been built to support the stone steps that will be installed here. The blockwork to the right will be face with the same stone as you can see on the back wall above.

These arrived in the week on 4 lorries.  There should be enough flagstones here to cover the 154 sqm in the sunken garden.  It is difficult to believe that we are going to need this many flagstones, but we did measure it (at least twice!).  As well as the sunken garden, there are also a couple of areas to flag at the front of the property.

These arrived in the week on 4 lorries. There should be enough flagstones here to cover the 154 sqm in the sunken garden. It is difficult to believe that we are going to need this many flagstones, but we did measure it (at least twice!). As well as the sunken garden, there are also a couple of areas to flag at the front of the property.

There is a drainage channel along the back of the sunken garden.  The flagstones are laid so that water will run away from the house and into this channel.  Only the thing plastic groove will be seen as the rest will be covered by flagstones.

There is a drainage channel along the back of the sunken garden. The flagstones are laid so that water will run away from the house and into this channel. Only the thing plastic groove will be seen as the rest will be covered by flagstones.

 

Sunken garden

Written by stephen gale

Work continues in the sunken garden despite the rain.  We are hopefully that we will have the levels sorted out in the two parts of the sunken garden by the end of the week.  However, the first thing that we need to do is to build the retaining wall between the two terraces.

This is the retaining wall that will separate the lower and the upper terrace in the sunken garden.  It has rained throughout the day today and this makes progress slow.  And very muddy!

This is the retaining wall that will separate the lower and the upper terrace in the sunken garden. It has rained throughout the day today and this makes progress slow. And very muddy!

Progress in the sunken garden

Written by stephen gale

With the large steps installed from the lounge into the garden, we have passed a major milestone.  The next job is to build the retaining walls for the upper terrace and get the ground level right (together with the drains).  Much of this work will be done next week and I expect by the end of next week we will be laying the first of the reclaimed flagstones.

We are going to place the order for the remaining ashlar this week, but unfortunately there looks as if there will be a 2-3 week delay while we wait for delivery.  We may well get on with other odd jobs around the property (e.g. flagstones outside the front and back door, pointing on the outbuilding) while we are waiting.

The temporary ramp built to get the telehandler into the lower part of the garden was dug out this morning.  You can see where the channels have been dug to accommodate the drains that need to be installed to take the water off the patio.  The flagstones will slope very slightly away from the house to ensure that any rainwater is kept away from the property.

The temporary ramp built to get the telehandler into the lower part of the garden was dug out this morning. You can see where the channels have been dug to accommodate the drains that need to be installed to take the water off the patio. The flagstones will slope very slightly away from the house to ensure that any rainwater is kept away from the property.

The temporary ramp that we built to get the telehandler down into the garden has now been removed.  This means that we can get on with building the retaining wall for the upper terrace next week.

The temporary ramp that we built to get the telehandler down into the garden has now been removed. This means that we can get on with building the retaining wall for the upper terrace next week.

Now these steps are installed, the last thing that we need is for them to get damaged.  The cardboard should prevent any odd chips or scrapes.

Now these steps are installed, the last thing that we need is for them to get damaged. The cardboard should prevent any odd chips or scrapes.

Steps in the sunken garden

Written by stephen gale

We have had more success today and all of the steps from the lounge down into the sunken garden are in place.  And with no damage!

The large bottom step that got damaged yesterday was removed and replaced with a slightly slimmer one.  It doesn’t really matter as the flagstones will cover this part of the step.

Paddy and Jonny spent all day on these steps, but they went away smiling as they went in without any damage. You can see that the bottom step on the right is slightly slimmer than it should be.  This is ok as the bottom is covered by the flagstones.

Paddy and Jonny spent all day on these steps, but they went away smiling as they went in without any damage. You can see that the bottom step on the right is slightly slimmer than it should be. This is ok as the bottom is covered by the flagstones.

These steps look great - big and chunky, but very heavy.  Everyone is relieved to see these in place.

These steps look great – big and chunky, but very heavy. Everyone is relieved to see these in place.

New chairs and stools for the kitchen

Written by stephen gale

The new chairs and stools arrived for the kitchen today.  They were ordered about 6 weeks ago, but unfortunately it was just before the factory in Italy closed for it’s annual holidays.

The chairs and stools came from Nuovo Living out at Redbrick Mill.  They are made by Calligaris and these are the New York chairs and stools.  The seats are leather and although the colour is listed as being white, in reality the colour is more of an off-white.  We knew this before we ordered the chairs as there were swatches of the leather available at Redbrick Mill.  It was still a relief to see the same colour chairs and stools arrive today!

Although we had looked for some time for chairs and stools that matched, we dithered a bit when we found these.  It was probably more to do with the price than the actual product.  We decided to have a cup of coffee in Redbrick Mill while we mulled over our choice.  This decision was made slightly easier when we realised that the chairs we were sat on in the café  were the same chairs we were considering buying.  If they are sturdy enough for us in a retail setting, they will last well in a domestic one.  Decision made.

It took us a while to find these chairs and stools, but we got there in the end.

It took us a while to find these chairs and stools, but we got there in the end.

New stools for the island unit that match the chairs for the kitchen table.  It took quite a lot of effort to find these.

New stools for the island unit that match the chairs for the kitchen table. It took quite a lot of effort to find these.

 

Oops!

Written by stephen gale

We always knew that handling large and heavy pieces of ashlar was going to be awkward.  We also knew that they would damage fairly easily.  Well, today, we proved it.

While putting the bottom step in place, a corner of one of the large pieces of ashlar got damaged.  The guys did the best they could to repair it, but unfortunately it is always going to show up.  Structurally, the repair is fine, but cosmetically, it looks awful.  It might look slightly better once the stonework dries, but it is always gone to notice when wet.  The only option is to replace it.

The good news is that we probably have a spare step – we ordered 4 steps and it looks as if we are only going to need three.  Still, it stopped work today as the repair was attempted and then finally discarded.  Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.

The largest piece of the bottom step was lowered into position fairly easily.  The second (smaller section) is brought down into the garden using slings and a telehandler.

The largest piece of the bottom step was lowered into position fairly easily. The second (smaller section) is brought down into the garden using slings and a telehandler.

Lowering the smaller section into place

While the damage is fairly minor, it does notice.  Luckily we have a spare step, do the large section will have to come back out tomorrow and be replaced.

While the damage is fairly minor, it does notice. Luckily we have a spare step, do the large section will have to come back out tomorrow and be replaced.

The chipped corner piece has been glued back in place using some resin.  It has been ground back so that it is perfectly in line with the existing stonework.  If you closed your eyes, you would not be able to feel the chip.  However, when you open your eyes that damage is all too obvious!

The chipped corner piece has been glued back in place using some resin. It has been ground back so that it is perfectly in line with the existing stonework. If you closed your eyes, you would not be able to feel the chip. However, when you open your eyes that damage is all too obvious!

New stone steps

Written by stephen gale

We are getting prepared to lower some of the large stone steps into place outside the lounge.  Just the sheer weight of these steps make them a major challenge.  To make life a little easier, the steps themselves are being preformed using concrete blocks and concrete.  The ashlar steps should then just sit on top of these preformed steps.  Well that is the theory anyway!  With some of the stone weighing more than half a tonne, this is not going to be easy.

The steps into the sunken garden have been pre-formed using concrete blocks and bricks.  The wires running through the steps are for an external power socket and for the lights in the sunken garden.  I am not sure where the little knitted Santa came from!

The steps into the sunken garden have been pre-formed using concrete blocks and bricks. The wires running through the steps are for an external power socket and for the lights in the sunken garden. I am not sure where the little knitted Santa came from!