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.