Tuesday, June 8, 2010

It's not all about stone

I've done a bit of research about what sort of condition alpine plants like to live in (might have been a good idea just to ask at the garden centre). Turns out the best way of fooling them that they're back home on a swiss mountainside is to sit them in fine gravel, so I bought a bag when I was out on my travels yesterday. I put about an inch in all the cavities, so the rain will drain out of the plants and down into the centre of the wall. I've got a bad feeling that this might not be the best idea for the wellbeing of the wall but it's too far gone now.

First one in, it's one of the big ones and I had to really squeeze it in to the hole - I felt a bit guilty doing this, I hope it's okay.

Next one, even more rooty and even less happy-feeling about being stuffed into its new home.

Kicking myself now that I didn't go for the buy 2 get 1 free deal on gravel at the garden centre. There's nothing left to fill these big holes up so about half of the plants are going to have to stay in their pots until I can get my hands on some more grit.

Hmmm, not really the most naturallistic look! Maybe once they're bedded in and spread out a bit, they will look a bit more like the picture I had in my head...

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Weather wasn't as bad as forecast today. Mum wanted to get some flowers for Zoe's birthday so while we were at the garden centre I decided to check out the alpine plants.

I forgot we had some of these growing in our front wall until I got back. Zoe told me she had pointed this out but I must have been off in a world of my own.

3 for 9 quid - there are zillions to pick from...

Finally narrowed the selection down - got 3 'biggies' too. Hope they're all going to fit in the wall when it's ready.

Here's all the stone we've got left to do this bit of coping. I wish I was watching Nick when he did the other bit, i'm not really sure where to start.

Oh, there's a view of the corner stone from next door's garden. Good shape, reminds me of a certain lego brick.

Half way done - that was quite fun. Panicking about the lack of stone left though.


...and that's all that was left, maybe a few bits left over will come in handy for the other bit of wall to the right of the steps. That reminds me, i've got the steps to finish too. Not going to worry about it now though - I DID IT!!!

Here's the other bit that needs finishing. This is now mentally known as 'the BBQ platform'. That pink slab leftover from the inglenook fits perfectly.

This lovely pile of bricks has been sat outside the back door since we pulled out the fireplace, just waiting to be turned into...

...one of these!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The end is nigh

It's a scorching day in Kerridge. David the owner agrees to let us fill the car boot for £15 - BONUS.

He was hovering around while I started picking out a few suitable flat bits (think he was going to bump the price up for nicking all his 'crazy paving') but I was taking so long that he decided to go back to his house, letting me have a good rummage.

Filling up nicely, should make finishing off the last course a breeze.

Nick turns up and decides to get a quick bit of yoga in.

Empty the mind...

...and HUP

This is what it would look like if Kickboxer had been filmed in Macclesfield.

We decide that while we're here, we may as well pick up the end bits for the coping, we need 14" square bases and search the whole quarry for some tasty specimens.

I'm not sure if the car is going to have any suspension or exhaust by the time I get down the quarry path.

Just as we're about to make an exit, the owner comes back and rumbles us. I think we were being a bit cheeky with a 'car boot full' but he lets us have the lot for £25. I can't believe that I bought a boot-liner to 'protect the car interior'.

When the wall is a little bit older and asks 'where did I come from Daddy?' I can show him this photo.

I dream of having one of these one day!

Time to stick a couple of the big ones in Nick's boot to save what's left of the suspension on the way home.

Quick check of the map and we're off.

In a repeat of day one of MegaGarden we had to cart all that stone up the hill round the side of the house and launch it over the back wall. Luckily this time Mike next door lent us his wheelbarrow but it was still a case of drinking a pint of water after each journey there and back. One of the big stones cracked when it got chucked onto what was left of the concrete floor, but there should be enough left of it to work with.

First piece going on! Ideal platform for putting brews on to. Looks great from this side too.

Not quite right from the front though, where it has been sawn...

15 minutes of whacking with a hammer later and some carefully placed moss and it almost looks like it will fit in. David #2 at the quarry (the one who does all the work) suggests chucking yoghurt onto stones to speed up the weathering process, but he didn't say what flavour.

Got all my new stones nicely laid out to finish off the right hand side of the wall. It does feel a bit like cheating at this point as there's no lumpy ones to deal with but I think I deserve a bit of a treat.

We struck gold!

Nick's putting the final touches to his coping and i'm about half way through. The weather is amazing today and the end is in sight so i'm really beginning to enjoy myself now. The other corner stone looks perfect too.

Ta-dah! I'm dying to get the coping finished on the other side, but it's forecast rain tomrrow, just going to have to do it one night next week...

When this wall is finished, so will be these pants.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Cheshire Demolition

I've got the ever cheerful quarry owner to agree to open up especially for us tomorrow morning to grab half a ton of nice flat walling rubble. Also on the shopping list is a slab to make the 3rd step up to the garden plus 4 big square bottomed stones to use as the bookends of the coping. I'm hoping to pick up a slab of some sort (and maybe the end stones) from the always-exciting CHESHIRE DEMOLITION.

This place has got stones for miles as well as tons of other weird and wonderful reclaimed building stuff.

This seems to be some sort of Victorian hot-tub - a candidate for the central feature of MegaGarden if I decide to create a turn of the century swingers vibe.

Hmmm, here's some likely candiadates, there's too many to choose from.

This one's the ideal size but I think it would feel a little creepy every time you step on it.

I nearly went for this one but i'm going to be worrying about tripping up on that hinge all the time.

Another nice one, but 'tripping hazard' pops into my mind again. So I just went for a nice semi-knobbly piece with no major lumps and bumps.

They have a lot of stone suitable for the coping end-pieces, but at a fiver each I think i'm going to take my chances at the quarry tomorrow.

I've got a plan to get one of these old beams to turn into a bench, probably along the back wall. That's going to have to wait though.