Sunday, 23 April 2017

Reclaimed, revamped water feature

When browsing around old junk yards, we came upon a beaten up old cast iron garden 'sink' thing.

It had rusted in places and the paint was peeling off, but looking behind its tatters, we saw something that would be perfect and fit in with the ethos of my garden.

It was rubbed down to remove all the rust and flakey paint ...

It was then primed ...

... And given a few coats of black metal spray paint ...

It's absolutely solid and weighs a lot, as you'd expect. The back was not sprayed and left in the green. It still has the old copper pipe in imperial measurements, which caused one or two problems because we've gone all metric lol. But we managed.

Once the last coat of black had dried, I dry brushed it, using a sponge and some white paint ... Also suitable for metalwork.

All the while, it had to lay on its back because it was simply far to heavy. Once it had a few coats of gloss lacquer, it was ready for fitting.

A heavy wooden frame was made to bolt it onto. We also purchased a small, electic pond pump as the sun jet water pump I have simply would not do. 

I cleaned out my water barrel, to use as its reservoir and refilled it. I ended up with pipes and gunk all over the place ... Don't you just love that green slime that grows when you neglect something? 

The sink hole was already blocked up, so we left it as it was. When the sink part is full, it runs off into the barrel making a wonderful sound! No doubt, it would have had a brass tap on it at some stage in its life, I've put a simple little "L" fitting where that would have been. This also helps with the direction of the runnjng water.

It's so heavy, a length of wood was used to hold it on top of the barrel, as well as it being bolted to its frame and then to the fence. I also put my little ugly guy in there! It looks like he's having a bath. 

A new outdoor electric socket was fitted to plug it into. I'm thinking of using the spare plug for some night time lights, but I'm not sure yet.

I'd like to say I did this all myself, but this is not true, my daughter took most of the photos whilst my better half did the spraying and, well, we all had to lift it.

I think it's a rather handsome addition to my garden. I just need to sort out the flower bed that it's nestled in. Better late than never!

A massive thank you goes out to all those that helped me achieve this spectacular, reclaimed water feature.

Monday, 26 December 2016

Rustic Pergola

This is how my son and I made my outdoor living room pergola. I hope it inspires you as I found the process much easier than anticipated.
I am not a woodworker and, quite honestly, sometimes haven't got a clue. But I had the plans in my head so my son had to do his best to give me my vision. I'm also terrible CGI creator too so I will apologise in advance for my little drawings in here :)
I was mostly the labourer and tea maker for this project.
The whole ethos of my garden is ... Everything reclaimed, reused, recycled or upcycled. Where possible, only essential base materials are purchase from the DIY store.
Please click on the robot link for the full details on my Insructables

 Featured Post

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Hedgehog Haven

The desirable residence that is my garden, currently supports a number of hedgehogs. How many exactly, I have no idea.

Here is "mum" we filmed back in July

And here is a baby one we filmed today

I'm so pleased we have them here. 

We have called Hedgehog Helpline Wales twice to ask for further advice and, well, we seem to be doing OK so far.

I just have to coerce the little one into my hand, for a reward, and ensure he or she weighs at least 400 grams - the "ideal" weight for a small Hedgehog in August


Bit of an update since I posted the info above ...

Sunday, 21 August 2016

The Sunken Deck

My kids (all grown up and fledged now), mostly laugh at me because, as they say, I'm the only person they know with a sunken deck and a raised patio!

On the birth of my first grandson, Brandon, I needed to completely redesign my garden to make it user friendly and safer. 

I was granted permission to erect the fence you see between my house and the house next door as the garden sloped down in that corner to a wall with at least a six foot drop the other side. I was not granted permission to build the wall up, so, to be able to use that part of the garden, I had to dig down to make a level.

Ok, so I didn't do all the digging by myself, my sons helped.

Stones unearthed would be repurposed elsewhere in the garden. Base materials eg the 4" X 1" for the fence, concrete, posts, frame for the decking etc, all had to be purchased because I couldn't repurposed from elsewhere.

In the true spirit of my garden's ethos, the decking was reclaimed. The table was gifted to me, the umbrella was reclaimed and, I'm happy with the whole look. It doesn't get used much, but it's safer than it was before.

It's a few years old in this picture, but looking better every day

Saturday, 20 August 2016

The quiet garden

Or not, as the case may be. But this was one of the quiet days

Hedgehog Visitors

Here is a quick video I took of the resident Hedgehog ... Since taking this, we believe she has become a mum as there are baby ones in the garden too

My Garden Ethos

My garden has a purpose and an underlying ethos. I believe in nature and its preservation. With this in mind, I do my very best to reflect this in my planting and maintenance. Here are a few examples:

Reduce: I make every effort to reduce waste and my carbon footprint. I refuse to use electrical items for garden maintenance. It's a little harder, but worth the effort.
  • I use a hand mower / push along mower instead of any electrical one.
  • I use clippers, shears, lawn shears etc, all people powered and non-electrical

Reuse: When I was digging out to lower a corner of my garden for a patio, I reused the stones unearthed to build up a flower bed in the opposite corner of the garden.

Reclaim: Now this is something I do lots of!
  • The local builders merchant were going to throw away a huge chunk of metreage of decking. The reason? They had been left outdoors too long, had become unevenly discoloured and they couldn't sell them to Jo Public. I claimed them - for free!
  • My circular patio was an ex display model from "last seasons" stock at the builders merchant's. As it was slightly damaged, they were going to throw it in a skip! I claimed it and all I paid was for one of their delivery drivers to delivery it to my house.
  • Paving slabs, again from the builders merchant's, they had weathered and were no longer the "desirable" size. There were about 10 slabs, two of which were chipped. I wasn't so lucky with the zero price tag this time, so I offered 25% of their original cost, this was accepted and we were both happy with the arrangement.

Recycling and Upcycling: This, again, is something I do an awful lot of:
  • My patio table is an old industrial "cotton reel"
  • One of my garden benches is made from some old planks of wood, destined for the skip, along with two massive forraged tree stump cuttings.
  • Another of my garden benches is has been made out of left over decking planks.
  • My raised vegetable bed is made from reclaimed pallet collars

Animal and Insect Friendly: I want to encourage as much wildlife in as possible.
The RHS has a page, titled "Perfect For Pollinators" which you might find interesting if you'd like to make your garden perfect for the bees and butterflies.
If you want to plant for wildlife, the RSPB has a whole section dedicated to "Planting For Wildlife", I think you'll enjoy the information 
  • I refuse to use any harmful chemicals or pesticides in my garden. 
  • I've built "nooks" and planted in such a way that the resulting shelters harbor insects, worms etc and therefore encourages in the hedgehogs and toads etc
  • My planting always consists of bee and butterfly friendly plants.
  • I have insect "hotels"
  • There's a large bird feeding "station" ... It's nowhere near a bird "table"

I have so much to list, check back regularly because I will have to update this post

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