Garden Summer House

The garden has surely changed since we moved here, with a complete makeover for the front, pond, orchard fence, sprinkling systems and many new plants at the rear. However, the old garden shed was still cowering behind the rear pine tree. Now we have replaced it with a full Summer House.

We bought a 12.5' by 8' "Chalet" from an English Company, via CostCo. This was easily the most appealing garden building on offer. See http://www.gardenbuildingsusa.com/, ours is the "Summer Chalet", http://www.gardenbuildingsusa.com/shop/.)

This is the "chook" shed, somewhat demolished. It was actually supposed to be a pigeon coop, apparently Ralph's son was into keeping birds, but it looked more as if it should have been a chicken house.

In fact it was more like a house for black widow spiders. It took several evenings to demolish it and cut the wood up, but we have kindling for Winters to come.

We decided to make a paved area as the foundation, rather than pour concrete. Your humble chronicler was duly despatched to YardBirds to buy 108 paving tiles each one foot square, plus some cement and concrete, and several 16' 2-by-4s. The Subaru had probably never before carried such weight. The guys helping me load it were nervous. The rear suspension was no longer suspending at all. The steering was as light as a feather.

In fact we only barely had the volume in the cargo bay to fit the material in, let alone the rating to carry the weight. This was the most delicate and slow trip home that I have ever made. I never got above 25mph, and that was hair-raising when the pavement was not dead flat.

We eventually cleared the site, laid the pavers, and...

installed the floor, shimming as required to allow for unevenness in the pavers and ensure that the floor sat solidly on the paving tiles.

We had a barnraising, asking Dan and Wil and Mathias to come and help. It was good to have a bunch of strong engineers on the job! Walls were erected...

trees pruned, and large sections raised into place. We could not have done this without help.

By afternoon, it was assembled to "lockup" state. Already this corner of the garden was transformed.

The workmanship on some of the prefabricated parts was decidedly shoddy. Also, grossly insufficient a supply of nails and screws had come with the kit. Good thing we were well equipped with brawn, brain, tools and sundries.

The following week saw the wood all painted with linseed oil-based protector, the front paving extended two feet, a path paved to the edge of the lawn, and the windows and doors glazed.

On the next Saturday, Kent came to help with the shingling of the roof.

We just finished when the odd raindrop fell.

It will take a time for the garden to grow around the Summerhouse. We are still tilling the soil around the paving, and we have a seventh bank of the irrigation system to run around the garden to the Summer House, so nature should get her act together come the Spring.