Archive for August, 2009

Tree boxes

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

Good weather and no builder on site meant Tania and I spent the weekend in the garden. The task for this weekend was to get the fruit trees that have been sitting on our front steps into the soil. My parents have apple and lemon trees in the their garden but they are so short and squat that mowing under them is a real pain. To avoid that I built three pretty simple boxes that cost just $40 NZD all up.

Six 15×62.5cm Radiata planks (for the fronts)
Six 15×57.5cm Radiata planks (for the sides)
Twelve x 30cm Radiata steaks: H3 treated
pack of galvanized nails (at least 72)
big tub of black acrylic paint.

The planks were purposefully cut to have a difference of 5cm between the front and side pieces. They are 2.5cm thick so the over lap at the corners makes them square.

tree boxes front panelstree boxes completed

Nail the steaks to the shorter planks, then the longer planks. It is best to nail to the steaks rather than each other so that if one ever comes off it doesn’t take the others with it.

You’ll want to remove the grass from beneath the boxes so it doesn’t grow up and smother what ever you’re planting there. Just place the box where you want it and then dig around the edge to mark the square, remove the box and cut lines across the area a couple of inches deep. Slide the spade under neath and you’ll be able to life the turf right off. Of course you can dig it however you want but we needed to transplant the grass to cover and area where I removed a tree stump.

Tree boxes removing soilPainting the boxesflattening the boxes

Be careful when pushing the boxes into the ground, you wouldn’t want one side to get ahead of the others incase it twists the wood. You could knock each corner one by one, but if you’ve got a lovely assistant *waves hands and Tania enters stage left* you could do it like we did and use four feet to push all corners in simultaneously.

The end result
So we now have lemon, lime and mandarin trees in the front garden. We’ve got plans for another four. Perhaps nectarine, apple, pear and plum. A veritable orchard I tell you :-)

All doneLime treetree boxes job done

Doing it ourselves

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

It’s been over two months since Tania and I moved in to our first home, and as expected it is taking up a lot of our time. Due to the previous owner’s expansionist tendencies quite a few of our weekends have been spent under the house digging a trench into which new foundations can be poured. Together with a bit of help from my brother we shifted 9 cubic meters of dirt and now the builder has set out the boxing to shape the concrete. It’s a long process, only working on weekends, but we’re planning to be in this house for a long time so we want to do it right so we can live in it, not just palm it off to the next person.
Along side that we’ve each taken on little tasks around the house to make it more our own. Tania has got the vegetable patch started, I’ve removed some tree stumps. Tania made a pin board and hotwater bottle covers, I’ve made some shelves and installed network cables to my hidden backup harddrive. Together we made a photo wall. All in all it’s been a very productive time, but I’m still looking forward to summer. Due to my northern hemisphere trips over the last two years I’ve managed to miss winter since the beginning of 2007 so the constant rain and cold that has been hitting Auckland shocked me. If I wasn’t kept busy with little projects I’d have gone stir crazy. At a gathering of people just made redundant from my previous employer I was asked about my next adventure. I’ve got some things I’m interested in doing but so long as I have this mortgage I won’t be taking six months off to walk across another country, or the Okavango Delta :-) . In the meantime I do intend to update this blog more often with some little things we’re doing to personalise our house. Starting with the floating shelves I made.