Renovated Front Garden

The front garden had become rather overgrown, to the extent that Kay would go out and hack a path if we expected a lot of guests. Marion and Kent did a prune of plants that encroached upon the front path while we were away, tellingly.

Jonathan did an AutoCAD plan of the garden, to help the design and visualisation process. Kay developed a plan to use the concrete borders, long buried and overgrown, to make a Zen koi pond, complete with bridge over the adjoining spillway.

We soon observed that we would require some power to uproot a mature agapanthus ("Lily of the Nile"). Jonathan had attempted to restrain one near the garage using a chain saw, as an experiment. The action of slicing through its 20" diameter base just seemed to encourage it, and that one is now sprouting happily again.

Danny spent some mornings scraping up the pebbles on the West side.
We bought a tow chain, and warmed up the Subaru.
The first couple of tries to uproot the first miscreant agapanthus scared Merinda, in the passenger seat, and shook Jonathan who was driving... and the bush did not budge.

With the help of big Dan and his crow bar, the beast was eventually loosened, with a run up and all four Subaru wheels pulling, skidding, and scraping, and Dan levering.

Getting rid of the carcasses was a challenge. Just the shrapnel from the first filled our large garden recycling bin! Here you see the second one being lifted into the Subaru, to be trucked to K&M's garden. The effort required a call to the troops, and Wil, little Dan, big Dan, Kent, Jonathan and Dale did the deed, with Danny, Kay and Jane looking on.

By the time we got to the third, practice had made perfect, and Jonathan, Kay, Danny, the Subaru and the second-biggest crow bar Yardbirds stock, had managed together in only a couple of hours to do it in. The garden was looking much clearer.

The Plan called for a subterranean water reservoir on the West side. Jonathan and Danny dug the trench. Here you see Danny and Meri surveying the work...

And here you see Merinda going for a swim in it before it was covered over. The wire grill behind Meri is to be the cover, below the rocks, to conceal the water. The trench is about 24" deep, 2' wide and 6' long.

Here you see the cover in place behind Jonathan. The remainder of the zen-pond-to-be is covered with anti-weed plastic. The earth has been tilled and levelled, again with much assistance from Danny.

Jonathan made the garden bridge from Con Heart redwood and mangaris. It is constructed using a new type of screw. This screw is driven in with a torx driver in an electric drill. The screws are part drill, so that they "self-tap" with a vengeance, are thin with a wide and deep groove between the thread turns---this is the only way to describe it---and are corrosion resistant. They are made of a very strong alloy indeed. They sink into the wood quickly, because of the steep pitch, and finally self-countersink. In fact, if you are too enthusuastic, the entire screw will continue to disappear into the wood ad infinitum.

Anyway, the bridge was much admired, and here Teddy is testing it. You can see the as-yet-uncleared East side in the background, and the edge of the pond cover in the foreground.

Here is the later stage of preparing the East side. The earth was very hard, having been covered for years, and tilling it was hard work, as was scraping up the old pebbles.

You can see the bridge, and the zen spillway. The image is of a pond arising from the overgrown marshes, passing an island with a rock and a tree, overflowing a weir, passing under a bridge, and finally filling a still pond wherein fish live, and a gentle fountain trickles. The fountain, unlike the rest, is real.

We needed both rock, and fir bark. Here you see Dale baptising his lovely new pickup with a cubic yard of fir bark from RAMM landscaping supplies.

Teddy has tested both the strength of the wire cover and the strength of the fountain jet from the crocodile's mouth, to the point of saturation. Boys are genetically different, says Kay.

(Actually what I often say these days, in light of the whole wheel obsession thingy, is "boys really are different". Of course, I mean behaviour being influenced by genes. I think the fact that boys are genetically different is fairly well established... :-) Kay.)

The final effect is rather excellent. Here is a semi-aerial view of Kay raking the river pebbles to perfection. The island, weir and bridge are easily recognised. (It is hard to do justice to this whole with a camera.)

It is worth comparing the front with the original image.

It has taken many weeks, at a rate of perhaps one day per week, on average. On some of those work days we had social engagements, and if we were hosting Kay worked tirelessly. On other occasions, we were not necessarily our usual sparkly selves.