Wednesday, June 30, 2010

E/L-things I hadn't seen yet

The Patch---after loosing a battle between a large rock and gravity, the pond had to be pumped and the liner patched. There were about half a dozen small abrasions, the largest of which you could put a pencil through. Curious we didn't realize the pond was leaking until the ground dried out. With the ground saturated, there was water on both sides of the liner as there will be all winter long.

Keeping the liner dry with the stream nearly finished was a problem because seepage couldn't be controlled from the rocks and pools.

As a result, the pond, nearly full, had to be pumped out creating another first--the wetland full of water.

Leaving the nearly finished pond looking not so finished!

The wire was installed for the pump between the upper pond and the house, just in time for Tommie's brother to volunteer to help purchase a solar pump for the project. It's always nice to have an outlet 150' from the house which is all this will be now!

There was a resident in the big pond not so happy about us first emptying, drying and working around the big rock patching and then subsequent filling leaving another individual displaced by rising sea levels! Fortunately, there is lots of habitat and I'm sure Mr Toad (definitely not a bull frog which has large ear patches behind its eyes) has a new home with an even better view.

I also hadn't seen...

... the house reflected in the pond (after excavation of the beach)

...the mock up of stairs they will eventually want to access the garden and patio

...the large pond overflowing

the north fork with water flowing (a result of our pumping the bulk of the water out of the lower pond for patching)

...the upper pond edges buried and mostly planted, with stream in background.

Hanging the plates

This was one of the more fun installations. Not unlike Kieth and Lindsay's stairs in that lots of work up front costing, tracking down materials, picking then up, drawing and resolving details and all the work necessary to make the parts, made assembly pure joy!

The original mock up for Cheryl's fence. Interesting, that after two months of design revisions, pricing and budget driven changes, acquiring materials, iterating the design and resolving issues, the fence is very close to the original idea. Every time I do this, it re-enforces to me that there is no substitute for honed instinct.

Then in about 2 hours, all the panels went in!

Above--Brad transferring chain lengths to frame for hole drilling placement. Below--Joe and Brad carry the plates (about 100+ pounds each).

Except maybe the first hour and 50 minutes in which Joe and I laid out the plates, drilled the holes, carried the plates to position and drove the steel pins through the chain, in the rain!

Special thanks to Cheryl for taking these pictures and participating in the design and build process.

But when it was all done and said, the sun came out and made the day!

Foreground--rabbit fence inset and separate from deer/entry fence

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Kieth/Lindsay stairs

Keith and Lindsay, neighbors in Bellingham, have a beautiful garden and an old 1932 craftsman style house with wonderful detailing. Like many houses of this vintage with a full basement, the main level is about 4 feet off the ground and accessed by a large, steep, massive concrete stairway with a flimsy railing.
They approached me about helping design some stairs. An effort to simplify and refine a design it became more complicated than they could do on their own--so we began the discussion of my assistance design, material acquisition and installation.

This cedar, from Two Dog Timberworks, was reclaimed from downed or salvaged logs and is as nice as any cedar I've seen in the last few years. It's the same material as I used on Cheryl's fence.

The stairs are open beam stairs and made up of a total of 7 pieces of wood and 6 bolts. Considerably more tools were used in their completion. First the wood had to be cut, then planed and jointed.

Of coarse, when we got into the porch, we realized it was sagging and now was the time to fix it, re-support it and refine the details of the existing deck that, left unfixed, would have been a weak link between the old porch and the new stairs.

We borrowed a jack from neighbors and proceeded to jack up the porch while all the time being careful of the mature plants surrounding the project.

After 2 days of milling, transporting, unloading, laying out and cutting wood, here the wood looks just like it did, save for the rose wood finish, as it did at my shop above.

And on the third day, with all the pieces of wood prepped, the porch fixed and sanded and the design resolved, we assembled the stairs--in about 30 minutes!

Keith keeps me company while I'm under the stairs making a few attachments! The original concrete stairs were solid and so massive we decided to leave them.

The plan--plant with moss and ferns, transforming the concrete into a boulder! Keith helped this transition by taking off all the corners with a jack hammer last week.

Detail of stair base allows the stair beams to float. Because they used to have a sidewalk, the grade of the path is low and will be brought up to be level with the surrounding grass. The path way will be large stones set in lawn, similar to Lois's. The grass will actually be about 2 inches below the base of the stair beams allowing for easy trimming and preserving the 'floating' look.

All done and said, the family puts the first foot/dog prints on the stairs!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cheryl's Fence Details

Cheryl's fence is done and all that's left is to finish the square gate with the hole! I just love the way the steel and the cedar go together and accent the panels.

The angle iron on the corners, the simple notch at the top of posts for split beam, standard bolts, and 3/4" hot rolled steel pins are all readily available locally.

The large sustainable old growth cedar and boiler plates with large anchor chain welded to it are not quite so standard!!

Origional Design by Brad Hankins of Design Build Brad
Boiler plates and Cedar from Two Dog Timberworks
Chain welding by Irish Welding Services
Chain supplied by Dave of Island recycling
Steel angle and rod from Skagit River Steel and Recycling
Nuts and Bolts from Hansons
Clear finish for steel from Sebos
Elbow Grease supplied by Joe Candelario of dbBrad

Eckert Lyon Week 3

We are moving on to week 4, the last bit of work needed to resolve all the edges and hand off the ponds and stream as a 'you finish' project.  Even after we finish tucking and covering the liner edges, there will need to be adjustments here and there and lots of plants which the owners will do as time and money permit.

I feel it's important to show increments in week intervals because future clients will not only be able to see how much work can happen in a week but also how much work is behind the scenes or in this case, under the liner and a week is a very comprehendible amount of work for most projects.

At the beginning of the week we had a mud bog. This little Kubota (from Double R Rental) is a great machine and I hope to purchase my own soon. However for some of the bigger rocks 6k-8k pounds, it could barely pick them up. I was a little nervous about approaching the soft edge of a large pond with an 8k lb rock in a 9k lb tractor.

While a large rock in the bottom of a pond is a 'feature', a small tractor in the bottom of a pond is not!

Here the edges are getting shaped, raked and leveled.

This liner weighed about 800lbs and had to be moved into the pond with tractor and slings. It took many bodies to pull and push it into place.

Even the larger 15k lb Hyundai (Jet city rentals) could barely pick up this boulder.

This rock goes outside the liner. The liner will glue to it and be cut off just above water level. Usually it's ideal to place rocks like this 'on' the liner but given the orientation of the flat spot and the desired finished height plus the need for stability, we chose to dig it in and not place it on the liner.

All of this work happened before the liner went in.

The stream liner, the outflow from a drainage ditch installed by the house contractor and the poly pipe left over from FrEdLey (donated by Fran Abel Landscape Design) for the project.
Christine models a thistle's large tap root on a small Hyundai.

A nice pinhole feautre of my lumix. To get the blackened edges on yours, simply drop the camera with the lense out from about 3 feet onto a hard surface!

The old Nissan is put into action hauling a huge huckleberry together with decomposed cedar for the pond edges.
Tommie and Fran begin "working" the edges.

Large boulders and logs make the pond's edges wildlife friendly and provide a more natural look.

The stream is a long way from being completed but with the liner, large rocks and logs, it's beginning to take shape.

One of the large hollow logs is getting planted.

This is the outflow from the upper pond.