Category Archives: Plotting and scheming

Measuring some levels

The grand design calls for extending the lower deck a bit (it needs new boards anyway), and making a few steps down to a grassed area. The idea is that with the slightly wider deck and the steps down, the railing on the deck can be done away with, and the view out of the lounge room window will be unobstructed – a bit like an infinity pool.


The design calls for a rather high retaining wall, however, to go around the downhill side of the grass. That wall meets up with another one going down the east side of the house, which has a step up to the car park level on the uphill side.

On the west side, another wall extends between the boundary and the house about half way along, stepping up to an area for the clothes line, which will just be outside the laundry door (once we move the laundry).

On the terrace down hill from the grass, the intention is to plant fruit trees and have it continuous with the chicken run so that we can let the chickens scratch around there.

It’s helpful to know how far down everything needs to be, so that if we want to plant something now we don’t have to move it later. From the upper deck, the west side looks a bit like this:


The yellow shaded area shows the level of the grass. The wall will be 60cm higher, to the level of the deck, so that it marries up with the wall on the other side. There’s a step down on the right to the “orchard” level.

That level comes from the other side of the block, where there’s two mature trees that won’t bear moving.


Extended across, this level goes about half way down the slopey bit above the seedling nursery.


It’s 2.05m down from the grass level to the orchard level, which seems OK. What it means, though, is the the sand pit/trampoline/seedling area is all about 1.5m below the final level, so we shouldn’t plant anything there yet. Also, the sand filter will be about 3m down once the area is filled in, and should probably be somewhere else.

And the big question: how does the fill get down there? A Masada-style siege ramp is probably not required, but we definitely want to be able to get a truck in there …

Pricing up wire and pipe

I fixed my busted solar panel that’s been sitting around for 4 years, now that I have a use for it. I wanted to run the pond pump off solar, circulating the water to aerate it.

It wants a small cost-benefit analysis: do I put the pump near the solar panel and run pipe, or do I put the pump near the water and run wire? The operating cost is zero, so it’s a simple capital expenditure issue (wink).





So $13.48 for 25m of pipe, or 54c/m, or $2.60/m for wire. So I should run less wire and more pipe. It’s a bit like high voltage transmission lines and gas pipelines. This is why the power station is always near the transmission.

Measuring out the levels

The bits of yellow twine tacked into the trees show the level of the deck. The idea is to have a wall at the right, where the vertical line is, which lines up with the front of the house and is at the level of the lower split-level. The vegie patch goes to the right of that, and the chickens and the firewood pile to the left, on the down side of the hill. Stairs inserted directly forward of here down to the lower earth level. The lower earth level is at the base of that skinny tree, which is also pretty close to the level of the big mountain ash to the left.


Rohan likes to see if he can pat the tails of the king parrots and the crimson rosellas that come to visit. One was on that left star picket and he went down to pat it … but the hill is precipitous and I found him flat out slipping down the hill, crying and hanging on to a rock for dear life with one hand. If ever a boy needed Skippy that was the time.