Jasmine and I are getting ready to move out of NZ and we haven’t been on top of blogging as usual. But we had a guest blogger pop up, so here you go.
By way of introduction, I am Kent Droppers, Lloyd’s Dad. I recently sent Lloyd a text of some work I did on our house in NC that I said was not up to “Neither Rockets nor Robots” quality but I was pretty proud of. He thought it would meet the requirements. I know that Lloyd and Jasmine have a good deal on their collective plates at this point so I thought I would make a guest appearance. So at least as a guest, it is Neither Rockets, Nor Robots, Nor Business Owners.
First off is tools. DO NOT TRY TO THIS WITHOUT SCREENING as a base. Screening is finely crushed stone. It compacts fast and hard, but can be reworked quickly. For the projects below, I used 2 square yards. You simply dig out the line that you want to build into, two inches deeper than the base of the castle rock and lay in the screening. There is no way to get something set hard and level without the screening. I have tried sand; I am not that good.
You will also need a good tamper (The one in the picture was my Dad’s so a bit of nostalgia for me.). Good gloves since the castle rock is simply poured concrete that is colored with added grit so it is tough on your hands. A good short level and a long 2”x2” board for getting left to right level over long stretches.
The first project I did was the bed at the front of our house. When we built the house, we designed it so that the water would flow from the front of the lot to the house and to the right as you face the house, leaving everything below grade dry. It works great, but there was a bed at the front and there was a gully being created where it tapered down to the grass. So a wall was in order. I ended up filling in with some other rock behind the wall because the volume of water made it necessary to raise the level of the bed to the level of the grass. Works great. This was 100’ of wall and pretty easy to build; no need for right to left level (just follow the contour), just front to back on each stone.
The front of the house.
The next project was the garden. Lloyd’s grandfather got a little out of control in building a vegetable garden. It needed to be hemmed in. Despite the fact that this was only 60’ total, it was the harder project. It needed to be level right to left, but I also had to make sure that the lakeside level tier was level with the side by the house. I finished this two weeks ago and the tomatoes have taken over since that point.
If you are building a wall, getting the first level is crucial and takes time. Front to back is harder than you think over 100’. Once you have a good sold base, additional levels are backbreaking but a snap. One other needed tool for a 60 year old is aspirin.
If I get another guest spot, I want to try my hand at some roasted tomato soup that Tyler, Lloyd’s brother, made for us. We certainly have enough tomatoes.