At the front of the house we had to come up with a plan to camouflage the septic tank micro filter and pump housing that also gave us easy access to them when required.
We have always planned to have a small (breakfast & coffee) terrace outside and to the left of the kitchen window (the one with bars) and to have a flower bed running along the dividing wall to the right of the house as you look at it.
We used blocks to create the flower bed and found some old clay ridge tiles from the UK (bargain at 6 quid each) to create an attractive and quirky flower bed and painted the wall the same colour as to match our lime and mud pointing and the stones on the front of the house.
Here is MrsB setting about painting the wall and blocks to colour
And here with the ridge tiles applied
MrsB that came up with the idea of forming a raised area of decking (L shaped) to surround and cover the tanks. This will eventually be covered in pots of various types
We have plenty of old oak beams sand blasted, treated and dry stored from the original roof. We have always put back in to the house what we have taken out, where possible, and this was just another way of doing that, so we decided to check out the stock for suitable pieces and found a few gems.
It was then a case of cutting them to shape and leveling them up as best as possible.
The great thing about this was that the big chunks of wood didn’t all look level when laid in however it did leave us a chance to lay wood railings on the inside that would be level and also keep the decking clear of the lids and vents etc. All we had to do then was treat the beams
Then bolt them together and fit in the railings (25mm x25mm)
Here you can see the bits of brick and block that have been used to bring the main beams to some sort of level
Then treat the planks and cut to size when dry (perhaps it might have been less messy to do it the other way round but we were on a roll by then
Then trim fit them into place held with one small nail each end
Where the little vents stick up will be covered with upside down pots with holes drilled in with plant pot on top. * (you will have to wait a month or few in order to see how that will work but in the meantime feel free to let your imagination wander.)
For the gates MrsB had found a couple of old chestnut veal crate doors, with the wood on one side worn smooth by countless calf’s heads reaching through to drink milk from the bucket that would hang on the other side.
I found some old oak beams taken from one of the original A frames and trimmed them up to create gate posts and buried them in the ground at the appropriate height.
Unfortunately on my very first pick swing I heard a dull hollow sound ring up the drain pipe on the house and realised I had hit the rain water run off pipe. Closer inspection revealed I had put a sodding great split in it, and that the pipe ran right where I intended to put the gate posts.
So with some deft diversion work and pipe mending I continued and installed the posts
Followed shortly by the gates that still have the hinged openings for the calf’s head
To create a dividing wall to the left of the property where the land dips down we dug a footing trench when I had the digger hanging about and compacted a load of old rubble into it with some cement footings over the top. Nothing drastic as it isn’t holding anything up except itself and at the most will be a meter high.
Then MrsB laid in the first row of blocks (first pic of MrsB loading them up) to bring it up to a height that will level up the front garden area.
Now to get the land level (ish) level with the kitchen door is about one and half blocks high but we are going three high on the right because MrsB wil then cover it in stone on both sides of the block and then continue up with stone leaving a gap in the middle above the block which will become a flower bed in the wall.
You can see the metal ties for the stone wall here
Along the front where the wall shows will be a stone facing and then a rustic picket style fence will complete the enclosure of the front garden.
You will still be able to see the big wood sitting proud and behind that are large round pebbles (up to 50mm) of the same colour as the wall and then a paved area outside the kitchen window and a paved pathways to each door.
Not sure about the form of the gate by the kitchen yet, but may well replicate a version of the veal gates.
So there you have it the front of the house starting to look less like building site and more “homely”