Archive for the ‘DIY’ Category

My first garage

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Today marks 10 months since Tania and I bought this house but we haven’t had our house warming party yet. This is mostly because of the work we’ve had to put into securing the foundations, and partly because we’ve not as well organised as we appear. The work in the garage started in June ’09 I think and has invovled sloshing around in a foot of water, hauling almost 20 tonnes of dirt out from under the house and painting the new retaining wall with bitchumen. At least that was our part. We’ve also had a builder, who was too part-time for my liking, doing the skilled labour like placing steel-reinforcing and building the wall that now supports the house and an engineer to inspect it along the way. We knew the situation when we bought the place, and factored that into the cost, but neither of us expected it to take this long to resolve. People can grow human beings in less time, my mum even grew two!
Now that the digging is behind us, we’ve swept the floor for the last time and I’ve put a peg board above the workbench to hang my meagre tool-supply on, we it’s time to reveal it to our friends and family. Hardly any of them have been allowed down there until now. Noteable exceptions would be Dave, both Peters, Sam and Tania’s dad, all of whom have helped us with this.

Garage before
Garage after

These are the before and after shots but after is a relative term. Now that it’s all stable we’re going to live with it for a while, make sure it really is dry down there and then think about changing it again. We really want internal access and to make it a proper room of the house rather than a garage. Quite what ‘ll do with my work bench at that point I don’t know, but I’ll be glad for the extra Lego space :-)

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