Our Renovation projects in Clovelly
Our Rain and Grey Water harvesting project
This article was all about our grey water system we started with, but I will add some articles soon about the inside of our home for anyone who is interested. I will create new articles and add the links into this post as an update.
The before and after landscaping project
In my last hub on how dream visions become real I shared the start of our landscaping idea that would one day help us to get off the grid so to speak. This means that we would have our own water for the garden by collecting rainwater during the winter months and grey water from our showers and baths. To be off the grid also means to create our own electric power through installing solar panels and a wind generator. Since we live against a mountain and higher up, a wind generator would be a great solution.
While we were still waiting for our renovation plans to be passed, I began my part time job landscaping our plot, with the help of local workers from Zimbabwe and Malawi. The garden was coming into shape.
Our before and after picnic spot
Have you ever done any landscaping?
Several Picnic spots in the garden
While we were landscaping the second level of the property, the pipes that would direct the rainwater from the second pond to the first pond had to be buried under our picnic spot.
I’ve always liked gardens that have several corners where you can sit and entertain friends. On one of our trips to town we drove past a thatched roof garden furniture company and knew immediately what was missing. A spot in the garden where we could have enough room for six people to sit, away from the hot sun. We negotiated with the man who made them to come to our place to see if he could build a similar seating arrangement to the drawing I had already made. I learned by now that whatever I visualized in my mind I had to be put onto paper for others to see.
Our third and fourth pond
Now the pond near the cottage had to be created to cater for the overflow from a rainwater tank under the deck of the cottage. The pathway past the new picnic area would lead to the entrance to Titanya's cottage, so we incorporated some wood next to the paving to make it wider.
The fourth pond would collect the overflow from the tank under the deck of the cottage collecting rainwater from the roof of the cottage.
When the ivy was pulled away and we discovered the large boulder next to the steps up the cottage. I saw that layout to be a creative spot for my succulent bonsai collection. Below we created a third pond with a submerged pump to make a trickle fountain down the boulder. We got an electrician to install the waterproof cables connecting the two pumps that made the water flow from the fourth pond back into the third and second ponds and finally into the first pond.
Using broken second hand bricks for paving
Second entertainment spot
Second entertainment spot
By this time the new natural stone wall was finished and the plan was that this wall would retain a level piece of ground for a small lawn.
Creating several levels in our sloping garden gave us lots of space. We even used the old ceramic drain pipes, dating from the forties, and made plant holders from them.
On the following level higher up from the grass lawn we created another seating arrangement in the front of the kitchen of the cottage. The paving bricks Robin is using were found on the property after clearing the bottom plot.
Our landscaping carried on while a start was made to create a double storey cottage from a one bedroom building. (see slide show)
Level five was going to be an enchanted garden
This section of our plot had a special feel about it. It inspired me to build a fairy garden with an open air castle, a Wendy house cottage and a sand pit for our grandchildren. At least that is what I told myself. The real reason was that by creating this fairy garden I reminded myself that what we can visualize and fantasize, we can make real.
It was one of the most fun projects I’ve ever done. While building my enchanted garden the child within came out to play.
Titanya's fair garden slide showClick thumbnail to view full-size
Our grandchildren hardly ever played there. Our children all emigrated and since then there only have been a few visitors with children that stayed in our holiday cottage for a short time.
This playground has become a talking point among our visitors and often they bring their children so they can play there while we usually gather around the picnic spot for coffee or tea.
Every year this fantasy project needs to be revamped due to the heavy rain during the winter month, but I'm glad I created it.
From a single room to a double storey cottage
The creation of Titanya’s cottage
The name Titanya was the name of the queen of the fairies, so we felt that the theme of the cottage would have a mystical flavor since it was looking out over the fairy garden.
The draftsman, who did a drawing from the image I created on Photoshop, did a great job and the plan for the cottage was finally approved. While we were still landscaping we could start with the cottage renovations. From a single outdoor room it would become a double story cottage with a small kitchen, a half bathroom, a dining space and lounge downstairs with two single built-in beds and a staircase leading up to the main bedroom with a balcony. We planned to supervise the building our selves.
We found a carpenter / builder / handyman who lived not far from us who gladly took on the job.
Sorry for the sounds of the video.
The slide show on the building of Titanya's cottageClick thumbnail to view full-size
Both Robin and I became overseers
The series of photos on this slide show how we first had to create a retainer wall away from the walls of the cottage. Any building on a slope must have space around it so rainwater will not seep through the walls but instead run away into the ground, I learned that from being a girl guide when we had to dig a trench around our tent during our camping trips. The same principles apply.
We needed to extend the ground floor of the single room by one meter on two sides in order to add a kitchenette and half bathroom and we went up one storey.
The idea was not to use too much ground, because I wanted to keep most of the property as a garden. Going up would also add to the view of the cottage, and having a small balcony from the bedroom on top would be a great extra bonus for anyone who might like to rent the cottage from us.
In my next hub I will take you inside the cottage, and share the mortar attack we had when the renovations started with the main house.