Saturday, September 1, 2012

We Are Still Here

It has been around 10 months since we moved in and we have been busy with life, work, school and family. The house is now feeling more homely as we continue to put our own stamp on it. We have had some custom made entertainment units installed in the family and leisure rooms and storage cupboards built and installed in the garage so we now have somewhere to put coats and shoes and all those other garage odds and ends that you never have space for.
We have even started buying decorative pieces which really add character and express who we are thus making this our space. Still however we are struggling to decide on art works and have vast amounts of bare blank wall space staring back at us but its not too bland as we have some lovely views out of our up sized windows and bifold doors.
We have a brilliant veggie garden and have begun harvesting salad leaves, herbs and this week broccolini - loving having a garden big enough to give is the space to do this. Soon we will have French beans, tomatoes, cabbages, carrots and beetroot. Yummy. With sweetcorn, broad beans, capsicums and egg plants to follow assuming they all grow successfully.

The build directly behind us has started (and stopped for now) they have had the slab poured and then nothing has happened since. Sadly they are building about 2 meters off our rear fence so our lovely views out to the gum trees and I suspect lots of our natural light from the early morning sun will soon be blocked. Look we knew it would happen one day but after living here for so long with an empty lot behind you just kind of get used to it.

Next door had handover last week but are yet to have their drive done so not sure when they will be moving in. I think it is the slowest Metricon build I have witnessed so far having said that though there is a house on the estate that was started about a month after ours and it still isn't finished!

Are we still happy with our home? Yes we love it and can see ourselves living here for many, many years to come.

Photos to follow......

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Its Been A Year

One year has passed since the diggers came and did our site scrape ready for construction of the lovely home we have now been living in for over 6 months. Time goes by so quickly. So to those of you caught up in all the stress of building your new home - hold on in there it will all soon be a dim and distant memory and hopefully you'll be as happy and satisfied with the end results as we have been.

Monday, May 28, 2012


The painter has been and do the first coat to cover up the touch ups to the damaged plastering as part of the service and maintenance. The plumber is still to come out and hopefully the painter will be back to do the second coat as the walls are quite patchy.
Our electrician has been and put heater lights in both bathrooms which we are really enjoying now that Brisbane is having a mini cold snap. Look in know you guys down south don't think that 1 degree overnight is that cold but for us in is like being in the Antarctic.

Much excitement this week as the cubby house and shed are going to put together and the soil and chook poop is coming for the raised vegetable beds. The garden is almost complete. Scored a great 12v electrical ride on car on EBay for my son so I guess he'll be out driving around or in his cubby from now on - oh the peace and quiet - erm hang on his going to have the coolest play area ever and that means all the kids in the estate are going to want to hang out here too!

The cabinet maker has been out to measure up and quote for some entertainment units and storage and thankfully the price was less than anticipated so there should be just enough left in the budget to get this made up. Oh no that means we have to choose finishes and colours again. It will be worth it and I will most definitely post photos once its all done.

We are getting towards the end of our post build phase so I think this blog will naturally be reaching its conclusion soon, however I must say I have really enjoyed doing my posts and its great to look back at progress. Hard to believe that where there are now houses was bushland and empty fields less than a year ago.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Touch Ups

The painter will be coming on Monday to do some touch ups and repaint the wall by the stairs which had to be reskimmed due it it having some pretty poor plastering finishes, namely big gouges and dents that looked like someone had hit the wall with their suitcase, then dragged it down the whole flight of stairs and just to top it off went back and randomly hit it the gyprock with a nail over and over. It'll be good to get that done as it looks quite messy at present.
We are still waiting to hear from the plumber to sort out the lack of flush toilet and then all our service and maintenance issue will be complete - oh that's if we ignore the retaining wall between us and next door which wont be done until their build is nearer completion.

More houses are being started on our little 36 lots estate with a couple of new site scrapes and some swimming pool holes being done. As for who is building with who it looks like the score is now Merticon 12 Plantation Homes 8 McCarthy 3 Others 5.

We got our first proper electricity bill this week for approx $550 for the quarter Jan - Apr.thankfully we got $85 credit from our solar so this brought the bill down to $465. Now seeing as we haven't had to pay any bills on a big for almost 12 months we can't remember if this seems average, reasonable or expensive... any comments?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Service and Maintenance Visit

The nice man from the service and maintenance dept came to pay a visit yesterday with our list of minor issues in hand. We expected he'd just have a look then organise the tradies to come out to do what was needed but much to our surprise he attended to all the jobs himself right there and then! He had everything he needed in his van and was very helpful pointing things out and explaining why we were having issues with things like sliding doors sticking and so on. How's that for service?
The only outstanding work now is that the painters need to come to attend to some touch ups and totally repaint the wall going up the stairs which had such a poor plaster finish that it has almost had to be completely reskimmed as it was full of gouges and dents. Oh and the plumber has to come out to see why the main WC toilet doesn't flush completely. So  for a score out of 10 we give service and maintenance a 9 so far. Well done Metricon Qld!

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Few Photos

That Land Drain Doesn't Work Then

Where's The Ark?

Veggie Patch or Duck Pond?

Pumping Out The Downfall Again!

The Yard In Progress

From Another Angle

There's Going To Be A Shed There So Can You Shift Your Tools

Drainage! And It Works

Stepping Stones

And Its Finishes

Front Yard - We Will Plant Mini Black Mondos Between Paving

Closer View
Angel Appreciating The New Garden

Finally A Washing Line

Well it's only taken 6 months but finally we have installed a washing line in the yard outside the laundry door. Yippee, no more having to dry clothes in batches on the airer, using the tumble drier or carting loads of laundry up to the business and hanging out on the line there. It feels like we have put our final stamp on the house to say yes we actually have moved in and really live here!

The Service team from Metricon are coming to visit on Friday to have a look at the jobs that need attention. I have no idea if they plan to do them on the day or if they are just inspecting as when they called they did ask whether we had any spare paint. They have followed up fairly swiftly as the deadline for having the paperwork in was the 4th.

We've been having a few cold mornings (well cold for Brisbane) recently and I am loving how due to the aspect of the house that as the morning sun comes up it streams right into the outdoor room and through the bi-folds to warm the kitchen and family rooms. Perfect. It also means that you can sit outdoors and toast yourself in the sun whilst a cup of tea and reading a good book. I love it!

Lovely long weekend in Brisbane with perfect glorious sunny days. We have spent time hanging out together, walking the dog, playing at the local park, having BBQs, relaxing in the outdoor room, basking in the sun and enjoying my new car.
Yes we have broken all the new home owner rules and bought cars, had overseas holidays and spent money that could have gone to paying our mortgage down. BUT... as I pointed out to the accountant we are in our early 40's not 80's and we want to enjoy life and have some FUN. There's time to concentrate on the mortgage now that we have those things out the way.

I will be updating photos in a new post soon

Sunday, April 29, 2012

6 Month Service and Maintenance

The paperwork has come from Metricon for us to note down any problems or issues with the house as it has been almost 6 months since we did handover (I can't believe how quick the time has flashed by and yet it seems like we have always lived here). Fortunately for us any concerns we have are very minor like the flushes on the toilets being the wrong way around i.e the big button gives the half flush, a ceiling fan that makes clicking noises and few other little things. We dutifully filled out the forms faxed and posted them back so now we wait to see what happens next.

Overall score for our new house almost 10/10 the only thing I would change is to make the actual WC spaces slightly larger as they are a tiny bit claustrophobic if you are not feeling well (if you get my drift). Otherwise it is quite perfect and the space and rooms work really well for us as a family. I wonder if that will still be the case as our son gets older and the dog gets bigger (not that she is going to be huge!).

Surprisingly this week I got an email from Metricons social media people asking me to remove the detailed plans we have posted on the blog as we are in breach of their copyright policy as they do not want other builders to be able to copy or duplicate anything from their drawings. Fair point so I am about to remove the pictures form the blog as requested. Shame as they really do help prospective would be customers with M to have some great ideas about altering the space and the electrical plans are a work of art and a lot of effort went in to organising and deciding where we would put switches and sockets etc. Which may I say was well worth it as it seems like we got it 95% right.

Oh well better find those posts with the plans on......

Monday, April 9, 2012

Paving and Pebbles

The hard landscaping is almost completed, we now have stepping stones, paving and pebbles around the front of the house and around the side from the front to the pool area. All that needs to be finished off is some soil and mulch and the garden is finished - well almost as once the landscaping team is done we will need to get some more plants put in and make a start on the vegetable garden, oh and order the shed. Then when we have the money we will look at getting some feature pots and possible water feature for out the front of the house to give it a bit more wow factor and street appeal.
The long awaited cubby house should also be arriving sometime this week so hopefully we can get our carpenter friend to put it together for us.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Now For The Hard Stuff

At last the hard landscaping has commenced with the formation of a concrete slab for the shed and concrete pads/steps out from the rear garage door and laundry. The land levels have been lowered and recontoured to allow for better run off into the new drains ahead of laying pavers and and covering with gravel. Now that the slabs are down it makes the remaining areas of garden to complete seem much smaller and more manageable, which is a good thing as we do in fact have quite a large area to maintain.I'm looking forward to the shed arriving so that we can move all that stuff that you don't have a home for out from the garage which will make it easier to get the cars in and out. This will  probably be the final work that we are having done on the house for a while as we have now come to the end of our house build budget and need to start saving again to be able to get some built in cabinets and storage made. Luckily we have enough furniture and bits and pieces to make do with for now so we don't feel like it is a big deal to be putting things on hold.

We now have neighbours in the Plantation home next door and the brick work has started on the Metricon on the other side. It's strange having people around and it's sending the dog crazy, good to know that she is protective and will bark if someone is about though.

Metricon have opened a new display at Rochedale so we might pop over later today to see what they have done and get more interior design and furnishing ideas.

Friday, March 23, 2012


Energex came and switched the solar on this week so we should be generating some of our own power now its all connected up to the grid. All we need is a few sunny days so we can really reap the benefits and claw back what we have paid to have the system installed. Finger crossed we can generate more electricity than we use so we can sell the surplus back to the electricity company.

We also had the roofers come and replace all the broken tiles and recheck the roof so hopefully everything is water tight and leak proof again.

The cost of the hard landscaping has been renegotiated and we have booked them to start as soon as possible as we are very keen to get the garden finished and have a shed so we can move all the stuff for the garden out of the garage to free up some space. We are having paving and gravel with concrete steps out of the laundry and garage.We have gone for a dark paver and light gravel which hopefully compliments the house and the rest of the colour schemes.

Next door on the left, as you face our house, picked up their keys today and are moving in a week once they have had the flooring done. Our other neighbours build has ground to a halt this week due to bad weather but they did get their bricks delivered - as far as I can tell they have gone for the austral zinc which is quite a dark almost black colour. Should look good.

Looking forward to a lovely weekend catching up with friends and family and taking the dog to her first obedience class.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

No More Ponds?

The drains are in, all 4 have been positioned exactly as requested and they have done a neat job. All we need now is a heavy downpour so we can see if they have made a difference and whether we will get big ponds of water despite our efforts to prevent them. The land levels will need adjusting so that they fall towards the drains and perhaps a couple of ag pipes wouldn't go a miss either. The hard landscaping can commence now but we are after another quote first as the one we have does seem very expensive and I'd like to have something to compare it to. Pavers and concrete don't come cheap I know but even so I'd just like to double check first before committing another $15k of our hard earned cash.

Next door the build on the left as we look at our house looks ready for handover, their driveway is done and the temporary fencing is down and they have had their pool shell poured so we will be getting new neighbours very soon. The house on the right has been blue wrapped and their air con is being installed, wonder when the bricks will be delivered?
On the estate several houses have been completed in the last few weeks and now have families living in them plus 2 new builds have commenced. We still love watching the builds and seeing peoples homes take shape. The 2 most popular builders here are Metricon and Plantation Homes so its a nice mix of modern homes, mainly 2 storey houses that sit on the entire block leaving just enough room for a small garden and a titchy pool. Glad we opted for a larger block of land as I love that our garden has lots of run for the boy and his dog to play and go wild.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


The plumber hopefully came yesterday (Friday) and installed the 4 additional land drains as recommended by Metricons building manager. We won't know for definite if its been done until we get home as we are away in Vietnam for our annual pilgrimage/family hoilday to one of our favorite places ever the beautiful town of Hoi An.

Metricon also supplied us with some spare roof tiles but they only had 6 so we have ordered 30 from a local tile supplier along with some ridge capping tiles so if any tiles need replacing over the lifespan of the house we will have some in stock. Boral are reducing their production in Qld hence why they have discontinued the linea tiles perfect timing Boral seeing as we only completed our house 4 months ago! Better we found out now while we could still get hold of some rather than in a few years time when stocks had been exhausted.

As for the solar we are waiting for Energex to do their bit now that all the paperwork has been completed which could take up to 40 days. My mom has had her 1.5Kw system for a year now and has accrued a nice amount of credit and it looks like her system will take around 2 years to pay for itself. Lets hope ours will have the same productivity.

Our next project will be to get the hard landscaping finished, get a shed and commence our vegetable garden - assuming the drainage issues have been sorted that is.....

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Solar and Cracked Up

The boys from FreeSolar were up on the roof for most of yesterday in the blazing sun installing the solar panels for our 3kw solar system. From what I can see on the ground they have done a neat job. The inverter has been positioned over the electricity meter box so as to keep thinks looking tidy as we didn't want a random box just anywhere with loads of conduit running here there and everywhere. A few roof tiles paid the price during the fitting and apparently there were 3 broken ones up there anyway. So the asked if we had some spare tiles to replace the damaged ones - well the answer to that would be NO as Metricon didn't leave us any. Oh hang on I'm not being fair there - yes they did lave us some but....... they were all smashed so they went in the bin. Quick call to a couple of tile stockist who told us they'd need to order them in, followed by a call to Boral who told us that our tiles have been, wait for it wait for it, DISCONTINUED. Shock faint horror! You build a new house, have no spare roof tiles and the ones your builder used are discontinued. What to do now. Phone Metricon explain the situation and now they have promised to see if they have any that they can bring over, I reminded them we are still under our 6 month service and maintenance period so they better come up with the goods. In the meantime we have ordered 30 tiles from the supplier as there is stock but no more being made. That'll cost us around $175 (might send M the bill and see what happens ha ha).
The solar guys have moved all the broken tiles to the front row of the garage and sealed them up with silicone for now so if it does rain heavily before the replacement ones arrive and we get a leak it will be over the garage and not into the main body of the house. Also it will make it easier to swap them out.

Oh now I come to think of it we better order some ridge cap tiles too as we plan to live here a long time so don't want to get to the stage where we can't get hold of what we need if something gets cracked or dislodged.

The solar is all installed and on but we are not yet connected or is it producing electricity until Energex do their bit whenever that will be. Sorry to be so vague but I had some much other stuff happening yesterday that I didn't fully take it all in. I'll have to give FreeSolar a call and double check the facts.

Sometimes you can be generating power but not yet selling it back to the electricity provider and when that happens it actually makes you meter run backwards so your bill is smaller but you aren't getting the extra credits yet - not sure if that is true or whether the solar fitters were pulling my leg and having a joke at my expense. Time to do some research.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Metricon Visits

Finally after a couple of increasingly more urgent and slightly more irate emails to the service and maintenance dept at M the Qld Building Manager paid us a visit this morning to assess the drainage (or lack of) issues.
After listening to our concerns, looking at the photos of a water logged yard and examining the site he agreed that we actually need 4 more gully/land drains and a retaining wall between us and out right handside neighbours (who are at frame stage now with M). The retaining wall was originally included in the building plans but was never constructed so M will install this at no cost after discussing the potential land levels with the site supervisor to assess how high it needs to be. As for the land drains Metricon's plumber will come and do these for us and Metricon have agreed to split the cost 50-50. We felt this to be a fair arrangement as if the engineer had recommended additional drainage in the first place we would have had to pay for it all anyway and if we hadn't got M involved we would have also had to foot the bill. Hopefully the plumber can come and do the drains for us the week after next and then at last we can finish the landscaping.

The moral of this story is always get the builder to come out and look at potential issues, stay calm and be reasonable, state your case clearly and tell them how you would like to see matters resloved and then hopefully you get a win win situation.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

100 Days

Its been 100 days since we got the keys to the new house. On one hand the time has gone by really fast and on the other it feels like we have always lived here as we have settled in very quickly and have been busy making the Nolan 45 our home. We still need to add some interior design bits and pieces and put pictures up on walls but we are in no hurry to finish everything off and have it looking like the lovely show homes that Metricon display. However a few more personal touches wouldn't go a miss. The garden is maturing and once we get some feedback about the drainage issues it will be nice to finish it off and get the shed in.

Inside we have noticed some small cracks appearing at the architrave joins, one of the plug socket covers has come loose and falls off every time you use it, the powder room toilet half and full flush are the wrong way round so you get full flush when you use the half button, one of the cavity sliders on the ensuite is stiff and there is a chipped door that we picked up at handover that wasn't touched up. Otherwise the house is working beautifully.

The weather is fabulous so we will celebrate out 100 days splashing about in the pool

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Metricon Have Gone Deaf

Apparently the plumber was coming out on site Monday. Never saw him which is odd seeing as we specifically stated we wanted a meeting to discuss the issues and show him the photos of where and how the water is pooling around the house. I also asked M why a retaining wall next to the garage along the boundary has been omitted from construction, it is clearly marked on our plans and in our contract. We feel this 325mm high retaining wall would have helped deflect some of the water run off from the adjacent block and we have paid for the wall as part of site fees. So far it has all fallen on deaf ears so now its time for an annoyed phone call......

Next door now have a steel frame up they completed the ground floor yesterday and it all ready looks massive. Once the upstairs is on the little Soho at the back of us is going to be totally dwarfed. There have been two more site scrapes, a low set is going in across the way which means we will still be able to see some lovely tress over the tops yippee and up the road they are having what appears to be a traditional Queenslander up on stumps, might look a little out of place amongst all the modern rendered houses.

Breakfast first then on the phone to Metricon, the problem though is who is the best person to speak to as service and maintenance don't seem interested and we no longer officially have a site or construction manager?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Metricon Listens!

When I arrived home Friday afternoon there were two guys installing a sediment barrier between next door's build site and our fence. How is that for service? I contacted Metricon via email the previous morning about the drainage issues and the silt/mud run off from the lot and viola they put the sediment barrier up the very next day. I spoke with the guys and they told me they were only putting along the left side (which is ours) as they had been told to come and do it urgently. So its not all bad news and lack of service out of Ms head office in Qld. I can't help but wonder though if they'd have been as quick getting on to it had I not just completed building with them?
Lets see what happens once the plumber has been out and given them his report regarding the drains!

Great weekend, we've just bought a new car (a Peugeot 3008) and it looks like I have found a new staff member to join my team. Awesome

Friday, February 10, 2012

Drainage Dramas

We had a 30 minute heavy downpour Wednesday afternoon which lead to us being flooded again. To add to this we now have silt and mud washing off the metricon block next door which blocked one of our piddly surface drains so we had almost knee deep water around the side of the garage, Why they have not put up an erosion barrier along the side of the fence I don't know as our other neighbour at the rear had mud all over their outdoor room from the wash of as well.
I have raised the issue with M to be emailed that a plumber will come and have a look. I replied asking what's a plumber going to do? as the issue here is a lack of drainage and not a blocked pipe. We need someone to explain why we only have 3 surface drains and why they have been placed around the garage and no where else on the block so I have asked for someone higher up. If I get no joy I will have to call the CM we had for the build or see if I can actually speak to someone with more authority.
We're a bit peed off now with having to pump water, clean up mud, replace washed away mulch and empty mud from next door from the drain.
Come on M lets sort this out please before the integrity of our new house gets compromised.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Final Draw Down

The last payment from the building loan has been completed and now we can convert the loan into a mortgage. I have no real idea what the final total amount we have had to borrow is as I'm living in denial of what the repayments will be. Hopefully we can negotiate a good deal with the bank as we have previous and existing loans with them. The good news is since we started our build the interest rates have fallen which is a blessing to everyone out there who has home loans as it eases the pressure if only ever so slightly.

Th first electricity bill arrived for $261; hard to say if that's an accurate reflection of our power consumption at this stage or not. The pool runs for 6 hours a day but we have a very efficient pump,oh but it only got installed at the end of December. The washing machine averages 1 load a day as does the dishwasher. So far we have not used the air con during the day as we haven't needed to even on a day like yesterday which was 34 deg and very humid. However it has been on for about 50% of the nights since moving in. Then there are the lights but we tend to only have on what we need and switch things off when we are finished, the TV, foxtel, DVD player etc which use their amounts as does the extractor over the cooker (that gets a good workout as we do a lot of cooking!). It all starts to add up. Luckily we have a gas hob and hot water system which I hear would massively add to our electricity consumption otherwise.
If it is a true reflection (I think it is slightly under) then our power bill would be around $1100 per year which is much cheaper than our old house.
Now I wonder how much the gas bill will be?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Action Next Door

The rain eased to light showers and then glorious sunshine yesterday which was great timing as 3 cubic meters of soil arrived ready for spreading in the miniature lake feature that develops each time it rains along side the laundry area of the house. The thinking is if we can raise the levels and even the area out the water may not pool so much when it rains heavily (wishful thinking perhaps?). The next consideration is do we add some gravel pit soak aways as well as or instead of the 2 additional land drains proposed? I will need to do some more research to see how effective they are and compare costings as there really isn't much left in the gardening budget. I would like enough cash left over as we were hoping to have a small deck and pergola added to the outdoor entertaining area (as if it wasn't big enough already!!).

There has been activity finally on the block next door, site scrape happened Thursday followed by the concrete footings yesterday. My prayers have been answered and there house has been situated on the far side of their block away from us so their garden will be next to ours leaving a good 15 meters of space between our homes. This will allow us privacy, light and distance as well as good breezes and we don't completely lose the view out to the trees and fields beyond. Fantastic. It looks like they are building the Lindrum 52 which is a bit of a squeeze lengthwise but I'll keep you posted once I get some official information i.e. "morning building team do you know which house they've gone for?"

Plans for today, morning walk, light breakfast, family time playing with our rapidly growing spoodle pup Angel who is settling in brilliantly, then off to the landscape suppliers to choose some paving and gravel before a BBQ and afternoon of relaxing.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Rain and Solar

At last it has stopped raining. The pool levels got emptied a further 3 times and the submersible pump from Bunnings got a really good work out. I am contacting Metricon regarding the lack of land drains to see why they were only positioned on the one side of the house. It looks like we will need to raise the ground level in the garden on the pool side of the house and add more land drains, gravel and drainage pipes to prevent us filling up with water every time we get heavy rain. A costly project but one that needs to happen to safeguard our home and allow us to have a useable utility garden (shed, veggies, washing line etc area) I think its going to add around another $3-4K to the garden budget which means we may have to put some of the inside of the house projects on hold for a while longer.

On a more positive note we are having a 3 kilowatt solar electricity system installed, 16 roof panels to catch all that glorious Queensland sunshine - ha ha the irony after all the rain we have had! We choose a company called FreeSolar as their prices were extremely competitive. In total its costing $4,000 which we felt was a bargain, Metricon had given us a verbal quote of about $12,000 for a similar installation when we enquired all those months ago at preliminary contract. I don't think a 3KW system will mean we'll be selling electricity back to the grid but it will certainly help with the running costs of such a large house. Not that we have loads of appliances other than the washing machine in constant action! Oh I guess the dishwasher gets a pretty good workout though. We are yet to receive our first electricity bill so we have no idea how the running costs of this house compare to our old home yet. So we should be going solar by the end of this month.

The new puppy Angel is settling in well, a total sweetie and an excellent playmate for our son. Ah Home Sweet Home!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Washed Away

We have had so much rain in such a short space of time that the water can't run off quick enough. If you look at the pictures in my last post and imagine it all underwater with a mini creek running through it then this would give you a good idea of who our garden looked yesterday. The mulch from the beds along the garage washed away as the drains became full of silt, mud and debris running off the vacant block to our right .The area that contains the proposed veggie patch filled up with so much water that we had to but a submersible pump to get the water levels down. I back washed and released water from the pool on 5 occasions (twice standing there in my gum boots and pyjamas, lots of lovely green tree frogs though!) as it was full to bursting.

Today thankfully it has stopped raining and we are left with a muddy, boggy squelchy mess that we will have to address, oh well at least its a public holiday. Happy Australia Day!

We also received the quote for the hard landscaping works including the addition of two very much needed land for the ouch moment. The quote has come in at $15,000 which is around 5 grand more than we hoped for but the work needs to be done especially the drainage and I feel that once this happens the issues with impromptu water features and lakes appearing should be resolved. There is a lot of concrete, gravel and pavers included in the quote so I guess we were simply naive about how much square meterage there actually is to be worked on.
It also looks like it would be wise to get a bigger and better land drain added along the path by the garage as the small drain provided by M just can't cope with the work load. I am also baffled as to why no drainage was provided on the laundry/kitchen side of the property?

Here's to a dry day and hopefully some sunshine.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Malay Dwarf Bamboos and Cubby Area In Background

The Feature Garden Bed - Water Feature Or Steel Art Frames To Go Here

Gingers, Cordylines, Crotons and More

Black Mondo Along Side Path

New Gate Plus Liriopes

Privacy Screen Fence and Gate

Fenced Off - Shed To Go In Top Right Corner, Then Gravel and Pavers

Steel Planters ready For The Veggie Patch

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Plants and Gates

The main garden planting has been finished and mulched along with the area along the edge of the drive. We have more bamboos, cordylines, blood grass, gingers, black mondo grass, liriopes, crotons and some more natives and it looks lovely. Its so great to look out and see the plants swaying in the breeze. The boys from Native Habitat Solutions worked really hard on what turned out to be quite a hot day. Great job thank you. I'm glad we got them in to do this area as the ground was so hard they needed to use pick axes and ended up digging out lumps of concrete kindly left behind by the builders. No way we'd have been able to manage that.

The fencers from Harris Fencing came later in the day and completed the privacy screens and gates across the side gardens. We went for the slated aluminum fencing in slate grey again and we are extremely pleased with the end results. The house now feels complete (well almost as we still have a small amount of hard landscaping to do) and I felt really proud of what we have achieved when I pulled up outside the house last night.

So far I think we have spent around $7,500 on plants, lawn and the gardening team which I think is really reasonable as our initial estimates for doing the gardens was around $15k. Hopefully the hard landscaping won't break the budget and we'll have some cash left over for some fun things like pots, statues, garden lights and a small water feature if we are lucky.

The next project will then be to get the cabinet makers in from Crafted Cabinets to come and do some entertainment units and storage for us. We have used Ross and his team before, they did all the cabinets for both my business premises, the kitchen in our old house plus a kitchen and storage areas in the granny annex and they always do a great job.

Today we will be taking it easy, going for a walk, a dip in the pool (if it's warm enough), play with the puppy and our son then a family BBQ, now that's the lifestyle we imagined when we started this process over 18 months ago.

Photos in the next post.

Friday, January 20, 2012

See How My Garden Grows

Despite the mud the fence posts have been concreted in ready for the side fences and gates to be finished today. This means the garden will be enclosed and secure so no need to worry about our son or new puppy doing an escape act. The fencers are so lovely and its really funny seeing big rough looking burly blokes going all gooey over a 9 week ball of fluff with four legs, she is really cute and social so she wins them over in a split second, sweet.

The raised garden beds arrived as promised and they look really good, plenty or room for some vegetables and still space to move around.

Today the guys who did the planting in our nature covenant and the turfing are back to plant out and mulch the remaining garden beds for us. They will also be bringing in a large quantity of sand to act as a sub base for the cubby house and some gravel to go around the edge of the drive and the side of the house so the main garden will be finished. I can't wait to see how it turns out as Dale from Native Habitat Solutions has a great eye for plants and really understands what we do and don't like.

After the rain we gave the hard landscapers a call and had a chat about drainage, he had a chuckle as he was actually drawing up his plans when we called and was wondering whether to add a gravel pit for drainage or not. Ah I like it when people are on your wavelength and have tuned in to what you require. So we will be getting a gravel pit, some concrete slabs for the shed and steps from the laundry and rear garage door, pavers, gravel and some simple plants to finish it all off - assuming the price is right that is! To save some money we are going to use the left over pavers from around the pool and outdoor room for the steppers in the area outside the laundry. Hopefully it will look really good once completed and then we can concentrate on what we want to do inside the house as we'd like a few built in cupboards in the family and leisure rooms for the TV etc.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Fencers Are Back

We ended up having so much rain in a such a short space of time that we had to buy a pump to get rid of the lake that was building up next to the laundry as it really looked like we were going to flood at one point. The water was coming up so fast that it couldn't drain away. plus w are getting loads of run off from the build next door as there land level is about 30cm higher than as at present. Also the pool was so full I had to let loads of water out as it was about to go over the edge. Crazy! Now it has stopped raining and the water has receded and we have a huge mudpit. Which would be OK as it would simply dry out over the next few days however, the poor fencers are here this morning skating around in the mud trying to concrete fence posts in for our privacy screens and gates. Good job they are great blokes with a sense of humour otherwise I think they'd have took one look at the working conditions and gone home. We really will have to get additional drainage put in this side before we finish landscaping otherwise every time it rains heavy we are going to flood.

The 3 raised beds for the veggie gardens are being delivered sometime today, so that will also add to the mud fest. In the end we decided to go for the metal for the colorbond type, like the rain water tanks, as they will last longer and need little to no maintenance. These are really nice as we could get them made to measure and pick which colour we wanted so we went for monument to match with our gutters and roof. They will be about 60cm high and around 1.5 - 2m long so we should end up with a fairly large planting area. Now all I need to do is learn how to grow veg.

Monday, January 16, 2012

No Need To Water

It was 39 degrees at a week ago and the grass and plants were looking really thirsty and dry but this morning it is 19 and raining raining raining. The garden is soaked which is great for the grass and plants but for those areas yet to be landscaped its a different story as we now have deep mud and massive pools of water. Hopefully the weather wont delay the guys coming to finish the plants and mulch later in the week as it would be nice to get the formal garden completed.

I have started making a list for the 90 day service but so far it is very short and minor which I can only think must be a good thing. So far we are very happy new home owners.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Who's left muddy foot prints and mess all over our pool pavers? Who's dropped loads of dusty stuff in my pool? And....Who's been sitting on my chair? The renderer that's who! Just make yourself at home why don't you then leave your mess for your paying customer to clean up after you! But thankfully we can breathe a sigh of relief as at last .......

The work on the pool is finished. The renderer came yesterday while we were out and obviously had his break at our outdoor table (put your chair back next time dude!). The wall looks great but the pavers around the pool looked like a heard of pigs had been running all over it when we got home, mud everywhere erm it wasn't a wet day so how have you walked mud everywhere. Mucky trades drive me nuts, erm there is a hose connected to the tap tight there you could have washed the mess off before you left. We are both glad it is finished and feel relieved that we never have to have anyone from that pool company here ever again as they just don't respect that this is someones home and not only a job that needs to get done.

So now we can get the final payment of the building loan organised, have the property valued and then switch the loan to a mortgage at a lower interest rate. Cool.

Now what colour to paint the wall?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Sealed At Last

Finally the weather was not too wet or excessively hot and the driveway got cleaned and sealed with an amazing polyurethane finish. The drive now looks glossy and sparkles in the sun and we will be able to put our cars away in the garage from tomorrow. I am now taking bets who will be the first one to ding the car going in and out! (Most likely me sadly).

The renderer for the pool was supposed to trun up yesterday, hmm unless he was invisible and the new fashion in rendering is to leave it looking like a block wall I figure he didn't turn up. I'm cross as this is delaying the final payment on our building loan and costing us a higher interest rate until its converted to our mortgage. The pool company will be getting a firm email today.

On a positive note, we have a gardener and landscaper coming to plant out the final beds which are too hard for us to dig after all the trucks and builders going back and forth and to pour concrete steps, a slab for the shed and put in pavers, gravel and more planting for us. The raised bed containers for the vegetable garden have been ordered and all we need now is the shed and the garden is almost finished. We would also like to create a BBQ area by making a deck with covered pergola extension off the back of the outdoor room so I will be getting quotes for that soon.
Doesn't look like it will be long before the garden is finished and the fencers are returning next week to finish off the side gates and fences so the yard will be fully enclosed and hopefully puppy proof! Good timing as Angel spoodle puppy arrives tomorrow.

Litlle Angel

What a sweetie

Monday, January 9, 2012


Rear of Garage

Dingo Action

No More Moonscape

Resort Furniture From Freedom

Outdoor Seating

Outdoor Dining

Cleared Ready For Veggies and Puppy

Feature Bed Near Outdoor Room - Pony Tail Palm Should Get to 2m Eventually
Feature Bed Near Pool - The Grass Here Will Be Replaced With Gravel In The Future

Citrus Grove - Left to Right Orange, Lemon and Lime

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Hunter Gatherers

Yesterday we did a round trip of Brisbane sourcing statues, water features and plants. We came home with lots of ideas, prices, measurements and things we want to add to the garden wish list. Plus 3 dwarf citrus plants, some liriopes and 2 pony tail palms from the best and cheapest nursery in Brisbane out at Redland Bay.

The ladies at Lagoon View Nursery were really friendly, knowledgeable, helpful and passionate about their plants. The place is massive and they have a really simple pricing method - small pots $5 up to big pots $30 ! We got plants for $30 that we would normally expect to pay around $75 for. All their plants are extremely healthy specimens and we only looked at about 25% of what they had in stock as our car boot was full after 15 minutes!! A bit of a journey to get their but well worth the trip, definitely going back for more.

On the way home we stopped at yet another garden centre for afternoon tea and a look at their aquarium centre which was lovely with sea horses, clown fish and coral reefs. All in all a fun day out.

None of the water features lived up to expectations as we'd like something similar to what M have in their displays but I have sourced this (see below) online from a firm in Brisbane who make them to order for the only problem is convincing Sandy that $5,000 for a water feature is a great investment!

Now That Would Look Amazing In The Garden Don't You Think

Saturday, January 7, 2012

My Pool Sucks & How We Fixed It

The pool was looking lovely and warming up enough to swim in but then............. it starting making a gurgling noise, then air was bubbling up from the return vents and the water started to look cloudy. That can't be right. So I checked the control box which had the no flow light illuminated. So as instructed I did a backwash and rinse and oh no this made things worse. Now there is no flow at all and the pump in sucking air not water. Not a good thing I can tell you. Now I'll have to ring the pool handover guy for some advice, hopefully it is something we can fix over the phone and then once up and running the pool will need to run for 24+hours to get it clean and balanced again. Oh hum there goes my relaxing Saturday morning.


OK now being the determined logical person I am I wanted to fix the pool myself so logic says if there is air in the filter I need to force water in and push the air out. Makes sense. But where and how to force the water in? Firstly I tried directly in the pump skimmer but this seemed to be forcing air in too. Think ,think think and thanks to the magic of Google I found a piece on how the pool professionals put a hose with and inflating balloon like cuff up the pipe from the pool skimmer box to force the water through. Now I don't have an inflatable cuff but the article then went on to suggest jamming a thick sock around the end of the hose to create a seal. So one hose pipe, two towels for kneeling on, one pair of sports socks, two adults, a child, lots of on off with the tap and repositioning, half and hour and very aching arms later the pool is fixed. Hooray.... I love it when a plan comes together.
I've reconnected the pool cleaner, put the chlorinator up higher and left the pool to run for the next 24 hours. fantastic. My pool no longer sucks - well it does but in the right way this time.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Dingo Bingo and Outdoor Seating

How lucky are we? We rang a local dingo company (a small bobcat not the wild dog) to see if they could come and level out the land near our laundry and aircon areas and dingo bingo they could come the next day or in a months time! So they came out on Wednesday and after about an hour of running the little digger over the 100sqm of land our interesting moonscape is now relatively flat and weed free. This means we can now look at getting some concrete slabs poured for a step and small paving area out from the laundry door and another one for the shed. We need to do some measuring and rough sketching of what we need before hand though as we need to allow for raised bed as vegetable plots and a little piece of land for the dog toilet (sorry too much information?). We've decided to have a "that'll do for now" garden and make additions and changes as time goes on.

That same day we got a delivery from Freedom and now have our new outdoor set which fits our outdoor room really well. I finished work at 4pm came home had a swim in the pool, cooked a lovely meal on the BBQ and broke in our new table and chairs. I felt like I was still on holidays. Fantastic.

The renderer should be coming soon to finish the wall around the pool and we still have no idea what colour to paint it now that we have a blue pool not grey. The fencers will also be back soon to add side gates so that the garden is secure and hopefully this spell of dry weather continues and we can finally get the driveway sealed with the polyurethane coating.
We also need to hire/borrow/cajole/bully/press gang a couple of guys to help us move our old sofa upstairs and the spare sofa to the apartment at work as we do not have the physical strength or stature to do it alone.

Off to look at more plants today as well as feature pots, garden art and statues that we can use to add interest to the garden.

Monday, January 2, 2012


Yesterday was very relaxing as planned. We had a trip out to Masters at Springfield and picked up 6 bags of mulch and 4 dwarf bamboo plants which we planted after lunch. The bamboo look great but we will need at least approx another 6 of them to finish off the rear garden beds. The contrast of the green leaves against our grey fence really makes the plants stand out and the mulch gives the bed next to the pool a nice finishing touch.
Thankfully the weather has been glorious and we did manage a swim later in the afternoon. Ah this is the life!!

Ready For The Planting Squad

And They're In

Only About 1m Tall Yet - Will Get To About 3m and Fill Out More

With Mulch

From The Pool - Yes I'm Was In The Water When I Took This Shot

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year New Addition

What a beautiful morning this first day of 2012, the most amazing blue sky, the sun is shinning and all is very calm and quiet. Starting the day with a BBQ breakfast in our outdoor room then we may do a bit more gardening and hopefully if the day warms up a quick dip in the pool. I don't love the colour but I don't hate it either so I guess we will keep it, however I will be speaking to out pool builder again to see what offer is on the table before making a final decision.

Loving spending time in our new home it is as if we have always lived here. The house is not as we want it yet as we still need to add some rugs and decorative pieces and more furniture but there is no need to rush. Also the garden needs a lot of work so we feel to focus on that and then let the interior simply evolve and grow as we settle in to it. We have never had such a big garden before and it is a little overwhelming trying to decide what to do with it, breaking it up in to sections seems to be a good way of deciding what we want where. The garden really needs some hard landscaping done to give it some height, depth and interest. I think we will add a deck and pergola and some bench seats around the outdoor room pool area and then some paving and gravel plus some raised beds that we can plant vegetables in. We will also need a small shed and somewhere to hang a washing line. The grass has taken really well and the lawned areas look great, hmm it will need its first cut very soon though must organise someone to come and do that for us. We'd also like some feature pots and plants and art pieces to create areas of focus or may be even a water feature? Oh the list goes on and on - better go and look at those home and garden magazines again for some ideas.

News Flash:
Have a look at this little cutie who will be the new addition to our family.....

What a sweetie!

She is a golden spoodle and will be moving in with us in a couple of exciting. It has been a few years now since we had a dog, it will be great to have a little furry four legged member of the family again.

Joy to you all for 2012.