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About jim_smits

  • Birthday 04/16/1979

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Bristol, UK
  • Interests
    Astronomy, Poker and Skiing

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  1. Build diary - Garden!

    Now on a race to have it ready for this summers bbq season!
  2. Build diary - Garden!

    Hello all! A little bit of a gap from the last post. Combination of really poor weather and life getting very hectic; at work inheriting the project lead of an important but badly scoped capital project from a redundant colleague and also, but much better, finding out that we are expecting our first in October! Still chipping away and just managed a really good weekend with return of the sun and warmth! Rear fence is really coming together, with new boards, trellis and sleepers edging of the ground. Still plenty of hardcore to lay though. Pond is getting there with breeze block placed to line the hole properly and now getting the liner supported by sand. Need to test by adding some water but looking the part a bit more. Must get sleeper wall started as well!
  3. Build diary - Garden!

    Let’s just say I’ll never hire the builder I bought the house from, if his own house is an indication of his ability and/or level of effort. Once the hardcore is all down, it will all get levelled and compacted to provide a nice level base and the add a couple layers of weed control fabric. Plan is to build a pergola with a decked footprint. The rest of the area will then be laid to gravel of some sort with honeycomb gravel base plates. Finally the pond will will be added with a small waterfall and a surround and cladding of slate rocks.
  4. Build diary - Garden!

    Digging up excess clay, still! And a bit more hardcore has been laid. Getting there gradually. Interesting to see the contrast of colours of the hardcore before it gets washed by the rain.
  5. Build diary - Garden!

    Thought I’d share my pain...!
  6. Build diary - Garden!

    Thanks John! Hope you all had a good Chrimbo! Managed to lay hardcore inside the old pond foundations before Xmas hit and disappeared to Cornwall to MILs. Looks so much better already.
  7. Build diary - Garden!

    Yes, the extras budget has been increasing gradually! It has given me an excuse to buy more man toys though. Added a reciprocating saw and a compound mitre saw. 😬 The garden project has been in stages fun and infuriating...!! Hopefully I have now found most of the surprises. Once I’ve finished hardcore laying the bottom area I have got two fun tasks. Install the pond and create a waterfall, and start erecting the new wall using sleepers. For the sleeper wall im going to drill about ten holes in the existing foundation and fit steel rebar to help brace the wall and make it as solid as possible. Managed to borrow my brother-in-law’s industrial hammer drill to help with this.
  8. Build diary - Garden!

    Roughly where we are at the moment: The fence has been reinforced with the thick joists and looking much more secure. Add a third happy neighbour to the list. The sunken pond was removed. The “builder” struck again as we discovered whilst sorting the fence line, that the pond lining was nailed to the fence and almost being held up by the fence as well. The removal was a pig of a job as there were three layers of pond liner to haul up and half a foot of sludge and rocks lurking in the depths. Two frogs were provided with temporary housing in a paddling pool (they have since migrated to the neighbours pond). The hole for the new pond is taking shape and currently shored up with breeze blocks whilst the rest of the area is finished. A preformed liner will be added once ready. Currently, flattening the area and ditching any last traces of rubble. Then to be covered in 3 to 4 inches of hardcore to tidy the hole area in prep for a pergola and formal gravel area. And immenently will be starting construction of the new retaining wall where the old one stood, using softwood sleepers.
  9. Build diary - Garden!

    With the pond walls out we were now onto the next steps: Demolish the retaining wall - this would be replaced by a sleeper wall in due course Drain the small sunken pond and fill in - a new pond will be dug two feet further into the garden Dig up the plants and roots along the rear of the garden - It was at this point we discovered how bad the “builder” who owned our property before us had cut corners when putting the garden together. The garden drops about two feet into the rear neighbours property. A good foot of the rear of our garden was being held up by the slats making up the in and out fencing. And these were clearly showing some advanced rot. Sigh! So, a new job was added. I dug down two feet along 7 metres of fence line and managed to get down to the concrete lining that had originally formed the rear when it had been left to slope down to the neighbours. The solution? I decided on thick wooden planks (heavy duty joists) soaked in creocote. These would be stacked and bolted to the existing posts (safely concreted and very solid). Once bolted and strapped together they should provide a very solid barrier.
  10. Build diary - Garden!

    Demolition kept on going and going and going..... All the paving slabs were lifted in addition to knocking down the pond. And left us eventually with this. You can also see the second sunken pond in the corner as well. Of course there was a little rubble as a result..... And a couple of skips filled....
  11. Build diary - Garden!

    Next job was to start the demolition of the old pond that was taking up a huge amount of space. This was as of March 2017. Eric and Ernie are giving a final inspection. And demolition is underway..... Progressing gradually.....
  12. Build diary - Garden!

    First stage of work was clearing back the vegetation. Big thick gardening gauntlets and some long handled shears and secateurs. The hawthorn was evil and twisted all around the fencing, with some huge thorns just to help matters. I did have a very very happy neighbour once I had finished though! Also knocked down the old shed and chopped down the trees along the border of the garden. The other neighbour thanked us for that as they now actually get sun in their garden!
  13. Build diary - Garden!

    Unfortunately, these were as of April 2016 and the hawthorn has been defeated....!
  14. Build diary - Garden!

    So I stop filling my HMS Hood build log with garden photos, here is a “build log” for my garden landscaping project! Moved into our new house in April 2016. The garden we inherited sloped down front to back and also slightly right to left. The previous owner split the garden with a retaining wall and created a raised pond abutting the retaining wall. The vast majority of the fencing is overgrown. The worst offender being the left hand in and out fence which has a well established hawthorn growing throughout with an additional bramble for good measure. Estate agent glossy shot (although bushes along fence obvious still)....: Not long after we moved in.....: (Spot the photo bomb for bonus points!) We didn’t want the pond and clearly the vegetation had to be hacked back......

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