Landscaping – all done!

I’ve had a lovely couple of weeks in the garden helping out the landscapers where I could. I also met a lovely fellow M builder in my street. He’s a top bloke and avid blog reader. So lovely to share war stories with someone who has done a KDR. It is a hard, long road. Well worth it, but very, very difficult.

The landscaping is all completed. Jason – the designer – is an absolute legend. I love his plan. I had some doubts but I’m glad he walked me through the logic and convinced me. Sometimes you need to move out of your comfort zone!

And Tony and the crew have done a stellar job of the landscape. It was a slightly larger job than I imagined, but the boys smashed it out in very few working days. I’d recommend them in a second.

I love my sleeper garden footpath at the front that will become a jungle secret garden for the kids – and will be filled with wild berries and nature’s most naughty fruits.

It is hard to see now, but once the trees are in, and the front fence installed, it will be very private.



The steppers down the side are just a lovely. You can see the raised veg beds next to them. The steppers will lead to a lovely – and huge – merbau deck! I’m digging 40 posts on Saturday if anyone is free! (hehe).


The front driveway is screened with Dromana topping. Its a fine sand that sets like concrete once it is wet and compacted by the car. We’ve got a heap of ag pipe underneath it to assist with drainage. I know a lot of people are against soft driveways, but I’ve always been a little bit different. We have a ‘no shoes’policy inside, so the sand grit wont’be a major issue!


Another angle of the front stepper path and hidden garden. You can also see the soldiers standing tall. Love them! Best bit.



And here are all of my vegetable and raised beds. My 6000 bricks were put to good use. The bag also looks pretty cool. We have some special colours we will paint them very soon. Oh, and we’ve also painted the fence as well. Looks okay. The landscape team also created my furrows as a nice touch.


I’ll install the front fence this weekend – recycled from the old house. I’ll put in new posts, then staple the panels to the posts. It sounds easy, but anything could happen. I’ll also start digging my 40 posts for the merbau deck for anyone who is bored on Saturday!

The lawn has also been planted out the back. It is a lovely blend of 3 types of Rye and some bluegrass. It will be very soft, vibrant and not too invasive. I’m not a fan of those creeping lawns. I love seeding my own lawn. Takes a bit longer, but the result can be amazing! I’ll post a few more pictures once the edibles are all in their new homes. Very exciting times. Just not enough time in the day.


Landscaping – part 4

The landscapers were back (five of them) and they have done a super big day of work. They have laid the final footings for the raised vegetable beds.

They have finished the retaining walls (sleepers) and the soldiers. They have also dug all the ag drain trenches, laid the pipe, and filled with the special rocks that go on top for easy drainage. They also started laying another red gum sleeper edge around the fence so the soil in the garden beds won’t rot the fence.

They also laid all the steppers in my magic secret garden nook at the front. It looks hot. Just image it when it is hidden by berries and trees and a front fence!

It wasn’t in the original plans but we decided to be safer than sorry and build the garden for the long term. The good news is the concrete footings and pipe are already diverting water away from the house which is great news.

We’ve also chosen our topping for the garden. We really like the Dromana topping for its colour, texture and usability. We liked the Tuscan topping but were warned about stones in shoes and the fact that the bamboo floor will look like a stone scratch zone.

I found two massive tree stumps in the front driveway so I’ve got some stump munchers coming in next week to grind them to a pulp. They are in exactly the wrong spot – right where my cherry grove is going!

We have budgeted 10% of the total build cost for our landscaping. I think we’ll be right on the dollar – and if we are not, I’ll use any leftover dollars to buy more exotic coffee, banana and mango trees from Queensland.

Next week they’ll lay the last of the red gum sleepers beside the fence, the bricks and veg beds, bag the walls (I think) and they lay the weed matting and toppings. Then we’ll get in 10 cubic metres of mountain soil.

IMG_3038 IMG_3021


Landscaping – part 3

The bricky team came and conquered the footings after given them some time to dry.

The team ate up all of my 6000 bricks like they were child’s play.Here I was thinking I’d have heaps and be able to sell them on ebay! In fact, I think I will be short about 2000.

2014-10-10 17.11.03

A shot of how I hope the finished product will look.


The main garden beds were laid inside a day. We have one wall to go and the two main inner vegetable beds.

The de-nailing of the old merbau is taking forever! I keep thinking of the savings, but doh! what a job!

2014-09-28 14.08.18


The bricks were double laid to give my beds some extra strength. It also means that all of my walls now double as seats!

It is quite confronting to go from soil to hard cold brick walls; they’ll be bagged and painted, but suddenly the joint looks like a building site and pretty darn ugly. But the garden vision is emerging from the earth. We are getting there….slowly.

2014-10-10 17.17.01

2014-10-10 17.17.05

2014-10-10 17.16.51

Meanwhile, all my fruit trees in pots are in full flower. I do hope I can hang on to some of the fruit in the pots.

But so many more jobs to go:

  • Finish the brick wall,
  • ag pipe to side and front,
  • Brick up the two garden beds,
  • finish the sleeper wall at front
  • Remove two tree roots and grind down
  • lay the red gum stepping stone pavers to side and front
  • Lay weed matting to all
  • Lay tuscan toppings to driveway and side
  • Deliver 10 cubic metres of soil and fill beds
  • lay all irrigation pipes for the drip system
  • Bag all garden beds to match house
  • Reinstate front fence
  • Build merbau landing deck to front of house
  • Build rear deck to house using recycled materials
  • Build rear garden beds
  • Sow lawn to rear of yard
  • Paint fence woodlands grey
  • Plant trees

Landscaping continues – part 2

So the landscapers have now laid the footing and laid the red gum soldiers. Work is progressing well. It was a mother load of concrete to fill all the trenches that are the brick footings.

The boys are juggling many jobs so we are enjoying a few days of work a week, but that is fine by me; these guys are like hen’s teeth.

The team we’ve chosen are amazing and they go so hard and fast when they are here. Quality of workmanship is great.

The soldiers look absolutely stunning. The boys need to tidy them up a bit but you get the gist. Quite a few local comments already on how they look.  I wanted them all the way around the house but the dollars were really adding up and these bad boys are not cheap!  Instead, we’ll revert to brick further around the side. A fence will divide the space.

I’m now working on irrigation plans and working out the right topping blend for the driveway and side paths. I’m thinking something quite tan/ yellow and natural. It will be quite coarse so it doesn’t lead to stones inside underneath shoes. I’m also working on the deck plans so we can work out how much wood / posts we need to buy.

2014-10-04 07.19.23


More footings for the long garden beds


2014-10-04 07.18.24


Footings for the feature planter box.

2014-10-04 07.17.13

Edible garden landscaping begins

It has been a very long time since I was in my own garden. Probably two or more years now. How I miss picking the fresh season’s asparagus and cooking up a quick meal; how I miss having a hundred herbs at my finger tips. How I miss hunting for potatoes and berries with the kids.

The most emotionally difficult thing for me was dismantling my garden to demolish the house. Started a garden fresh after 8 years felt like such a regressive step. But now as I look at my garden plans I am finally excited by what the new garden will become.

And finally the landscaping has started.


I was lucky enough to be on site all day so I could help out with the hard jobs like digging up tree roots that somehow avoided house demolition and are in the way. I hate tree roots. One of the roots I dug up was as thick as a garden bucket!

It was also good to walk the plans and actually make a  few changes once we mapped it out. We pushed a few garden beds deeper/shallower. A sewer pipe was in the way so we also dodged that with a deeper garden bed.

The deck will extend out to the fence and have a double brick retaining wall for added seating.



So many concrete footings to be poured!




The best win for the day was using the excess soil to fill out the backyard which used to dip down around a metre. Amazingly, we managed to fill this area so the ground is now flush. We’ve now got a level backyard, ready for some grass.IMG_2749

We realised that the site levels were slightly different to the plans once we moved some soil around, so we’ve decided to work with the new levels as best we can.  I’m happy, with that. It makes my feature garden beds more of a feature.

The lads have done a cracking job in just a day. They have set all the side levels, dug all the trenches for the brick footing retaining walls.

The railway sleeper soldiers give a hint at how amazing the garden will be. Now the digging and levelling is done, I am even more impressed with the plan and how it forms around the home. The feature deck is going to be very impressive.



The next steps are to pour the concrete footings, lay the soldiers, then start the brickwork. I have 6000 reclaimed bricks from the build that will be recycled into the garden. It has been a huge saving off the landscaping cost.

Once the brickwork is done, we’ll put in the ag pipe drains to keep the land dry, lay the weed matting and tuscan topping. I’ll also need to order a few truckloads of fresh soil for the garden beds.

Then the fun part – I get to plant out my very patient fruit trees into their new homes

90 day inspection/ warranty

We had our 90 day inspection the other week.  It is a really impressive visit by M’s warranty guy Paul and a handyman (we had luke).  Luke was amazing and ran around fixing, pushing, prodding everything in the house. He tightened the staircase rail, sliding doors, drawers, door handles, installed a draft stopper, fixed a tap. Very impressive. He did 1.5 hours of odd jobs.

We had a list of slightly larger jobs that the tradies came out to fix.

  • Bamboo floor lifting in one spot
  • Showerscreen not closing
  • Hot water thermostat too low
  • Down pipe coming off
  • Gutter not flush

It is a very tiny list of things compared to the build size. Very happy with the service and promptness of the trades people.

Now the landscaping finally starts.

Ring Ring – phone line

My least favorite thing about this entire build has been the bloody telephone line.

Well, today, finally we have a telephone and internet connection!

I put the order in May 30. 

Today is August 26 (almost august 30)

How in a modern Australia it takes 90 days to get a telephone line is beyond me.

How this is allowed to happen is also beyond me. 

I’ve put in a number of complaints to find out how and why it took so long.  Not sure I’ll get an answer.

Starting to feel a bit like rural Australia under the old Telstra. Not sure the new is any better.

end of rant