Tuesday, 1 September 2009

The Tea House work starts to get technical!

Having finally got to the point of clearing the area for the tea house (as seen in the photo below), we could start making the various component parts that would build up into a Meccano-like kit that would all fit together to create the composite tea house - hopefully!

Himself had decided that we couldn't use wooden posts to go into the water to support the tea house, so he crafted (and it was definitely crafted, rather than just made!) a mould to make a concrete post instead. It was tapered to both look more aesthetically pleasing (although quite who was going to notice under water wasn't discussed!) and to make it easier to get the post out again once it had set - because we had to re-use the mould for the second post. He also, bless him, used filler on the top corners so that the post would have rounded corners when it was finished - this man really thinks of every little detail!

In the photo below you can see that the mould is raised off the ground ...... this is to allow room for the stainless steel pipe that Himself inserted so that the wooden post could locate onto it for
stability and accuracey when adding in all the other posts and beams of the framework.

Being a reincarnated Victorian engineer, he couldn't resist a bit of extra strengthening - "just to be on the safe side". He drilled a few holes in the pipe then bent a few wall ties and inserted them into the pipe and into the mould for a bit of extra reinforcement ....... if there is ever an earthquake in Derbyshire, my tea house will still be standing!

The completed post with its lovely rounded top!

Himself with one of his more complicated joints. This one is an external coner post with the slot cut to take the corner roof rafter.

Ceefer cat doing the health and safety check as we started to bring the wood out onto the yard for the trial assembly! This was the 'dry' run (ie, with no glue!) to make sure that all the joints were accurate and that everything fitted correctly - not that I had any doubts about the standard of Himself's meticulous work, but he reckons it's far better to check twice and glue once!
First used as a counter-weight, now just a weight! Ho hum!

We borrowed our best friends' son, OJ, (also know as our 'spare son' or 'my boy'!) to help erect the frame as he's considerably taller and stronger than I am. The frame quickly began to take shape.

Some joints needed a bit of persuasion ............

some needed a bit of chiseling out.............

but by the end of the day the frame was up and looking good - even if it was in the wrong place!
This is the complete external frame. The actual tea house will cover 4 posts of the long side and 3 posts of the short side, giving an internal dimesion of roughly 8ft by 10ft ('roughly' because I can't remember the correct metric measurement having been brought up on feet and inches!) with a 1 metre wide, L shaped veranda taking up the rest of the space.

Looking up, with the purlin ring in place which will support the weight of the roof.
The diagonal piece is for support, but it's also the gap through which the wood burning stove chimney will go!

Whilst all this was going on, I was cracking on in the Japanese garden. I couldn't wait to get some planting done! I have to confess that I didn't (er ....... still don't!) have a planting scheme drawn out. I have done some research on what plants should be in a Japanese garden and I know which plants I like and want in there. Once I've aquired them (mainly by virtue of asking for garden centre vouchers for birthdays and Christmas!) I just play around with placing the pots until I think they look right, balancing size, colour and textures!
This is looking up towards the pond, which is a couple of feet past where my spade is, from the bottom path. I dug up all the stepping stones from their straight line (bad!) and re-set them in a more curvacious line (good!) before working out which plants I wanted where ........ although two of these plants have since been moved to better positions elsewhere in the larger garden - but I thought they looked right at the time!
I am convinced that plants do well in our garden because I keep them permanently worried! I shift them at the drop of a hat, regardless of whether it's the 'right' time of year - if I want to move them then it's obviously the right time!

Planting a bamboo.
Job done - for the moment!

I then began work on the ground near the beach, being careful to leave space for a rough access path near the fruit cage for when we construct the tea house (and for where my weeping willow will eventually be!).
The pea gravel path in the foreground is a tester area about a metre long and shows what all the finished paths will eventually look like. The path was dug deep - I know how deep ... I dug it! It was filled with motorway grade hardcore previously dug up from where the pond now is. It was topped with fine grade sandstone and sand - also gained from digging the pond, before a layer of Weed Stop (metallic coated weed control fabric) was put down and the pea gravel spread on top. The path is edged with 1920's 'Tucker's Mixed' reclaimed roof tiles - left over from a load we'd sourced a few years ago when the house roof need some work doing on it and the tiles had to match into the existing ones.
The tall plant in the foreground is a bush Acer - but I'm cross now because I can't find the label I'd carefully kept to identify it correctly!!!
However, the other tallish plant next to the flagstone path is an Acer palmatum 'Kotohime' - Hah! Kept the label for that one!
This is the bed above the island with the stones on. The path to the bridge runs to the right immediately in front of the large rock. This photo was taken this time last year and the bed has matured beautifully!
That is Acer palmatum 'Ornatum'.
Looking back down the garden from near the beach. A. p 'Ornatum' is on the left, Acer p 'Emerald Lace' is on the right. You can just see the island and how well the moss I transplanted from the lawn has done. The bamboos in the background form the bottom boundary of the Japanese garden, the righthandmost one is Black Bamboo. I planted these about 7 years ago when I first began to think about creating the garden!
Phew - I thinks that's probably enough for one post ...........!


Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Yay! You know I've been looking forward to hearing about progress on the tea house. I see you have an excellent feline project supervisor, so I'm sure everything is progressing nicely. And of course it's important to have the right kind of plantings, too. Looking forward to seeing it in its finsihed glory, too!

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

A Tea House... How romantic! What should I do to be invited to one of the tea parties?

Woody Wilbury said...

Himself is a craftsman. That support is a fine piece of work; not many people would put that amount of attention to detail into it.


Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

Wow! It is just looking amazing. The post alone is pretty amazing, very detailed. I love how the garden is coming along, you've chosen great plants. I always hope I'll get gift cards to nurseries too! You've made a lot of progress!

Shady Gardener said...

What an amazing amount of time, effort and creativity has gone into this project so far! (I hope you will continue to post and include more photos!) And perhaps we'll all come for tea in your tea house? :-)

Di said...

That is quite the undertaking... and what a wonderful result that will be enjoyed each day. Hats off to you and Himself!

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Monica - bet you thought the Tea House was never going to happen didn't you?! So did I some days!!!

Tatyana - all you have to do is smile nicely and the invite will wing its way to you! :)

Woody - the man is a star! I'll pass on the respect to him. You'd be more than welcome if you wanted to pop over to inspect the progress....especially if you come bearing blackberries!:)

Catherine - I'm so glad you like it, because I love what you've done in your garden! Work continues apace - or it did until rain and a biting wind stopped play! :(

Shady - I truely had NO idea that it would take so long, but I'm really glad that we've spent the time to get it right.The posts and photos will continue and, once the Tea House is finished .... the more the merrier for the opening ceremony as far as I'm concerned! The support I've had via the blog has definately kept me going some days :)

Di - welcome and thanks for your kind comments. It is all turning out so well and I can't wait to use the Tea House for giving treatment sessions, it'll be so lovely - with the sound of running water down the stream..... hope it doesn't make me need the toilet part way through treatments :0

Woody Wilbury said...

Thanks Nutty, much appreciated. I'm a bit over-committed at the moment. Off to Austria tomorrow for a week and am desperately unready. Have been saying for some time that it'll be alright on the night, and have just realised that tonight is the night on which it has to be alright!!

Perhaps when I'm back and things have calmed down a bit (altho with 1st grandchild imminent....)

Anonymous said...

It's good to have clever husbands to complete all the projects we think up huh? :) Can't wait to see the finished product. Thanks for stopping by most post today, however you found me...lol :)

Nutty Gnome said...

Woody - you're a busy man! Is it your TV programme preview thingy or just a holiday? You're welcome whenever you geta round to it - the Tea House isn't going anywhere!!

Perennial Gardener - thanks for popping in and nice to hear from you too. Can't guarantee when it'll be finished .... but the posts will keep on coming to record our progress! :)

Camellia said...

I am utterly impressed (and jealous, here, meself is struggling with the theoretical bit of how to make a completely square concrete mould). Lovely project!

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Camellia - maybe I should start loaning out Himself ...... after the Tea House is done!

I don't make the moulds - that's the 'technical department', but I am allowed to mix the concrete!

Glad you like what we're doing - wait until you see what's coming!!! :)

HappyMouffetard said...

Wow - seriously impressive. Glad you liked the photos of Tatton's garden.

Hope you don't mind, NG, I've tagged you for a meme over on my blog - no pressure to take part!

Arabella Sock said...

Oh wow! I just came over after you left a comment on my blog, your tea house makes our greenhouse labours look easy!! A full Japanese garden too - I'm very envious.

Patsi's 'Garden Endeavors' said...

Nice job.
Like the long private back yard for your oasis. Can't wait for the construction to be done...seems like a long time but I'm sure it will be more than worth the wait.
Or do you have more projects planned? lol

Rob (ourfrenchgarden) said...

The man's a genius.

I like the mould. He ain't messing.

Properly skilled stuff.

Anyway, for fear this is turning into a round of applause, you could always argue he's crap at the planting, ha.

All looks really good.

Saturday today and we've only a small changeover so we'll be playing with the red wine tonight.

Have a bon weekend

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi HM - thanks for tagging me for the meme. I've never been tagged before, so I'd better get my thinking cap on to come up with something interesting! :)

Hi Arabella Sock - welcome and thanks for popping in!I've just come in after another full day in the garden doing battle with holly whilst Himself worked on the tea house. It's starting to look really good! The Japanese garden is developing nicely - I love to work in the garden to the sound of the stream running.

Hi Patsi - work is moving on apace on the tea house at the moment and my posts will catch up with it soon - honest! :)

Yes, I have got several more projects planned - but none of them are QUITE as big as this one turned out to be!!

Hi Rob - you're dead right ....he is a genius! He's doing the roof at the moment and the joints are superb - but you'll have to wait until my posts catch up with reality! Yep - he's crap at planting, doesn't even plant spuds - but I reckon I can forgive him for that!

Have just come in after getting rained off, but we've been out there all day and I'm knacked ....so I too will be playing with the red wine - once I'm clean again! :)

Diana said...

What an enormous undertaking you have there. Looks like you are doing it all right - I hope it turns out to be what you want it to be.

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Diana and welcome - thank you for your comments. Coming from a master gardener and freelance landscape designer, that's praise indeed! look forward to seeing you here again soon :)

Camellia said...

H i Ruth, just saw your invitation.... I think I've done it before, but only in Swedish. Can't promise I'd do it until I've seen the questions/rules – but can't find 'em!!!??

ps. I don't even know how to mix the concrete. Perhaps you and himself should run courses, I'd be there!

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Camellia - sorry about that. I'd done the draft post, did the comment on your post, pressed the wrong button and lost all the links on the draft! Had to do that bit again, so you came to my blog before I'd posted - but it's up and running now.

The concrete for the posts was 1 part cement, 2 parts sharp sand, 4 parts 6mm ballast and enough water to mix it to a wet but not runny consistency. But it depends on what you're using it for - we had different quantities for cementing the wooden posts into holes.

Himself says that the how to make a completely square concrete mould would vary depending on whether you wanted to re-use the mould!

PS I'm Liz - Ruth is First-Born, but is named on my blog as she does the techi bits round the edges:)

Thomas said...

It looks as though you've been quite busy! Do you have a sketch of what the tea house will look like? I can't wait to see it when it's done!

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Thomas. Work continues apace and it's really taking shape now. I'll do a post on plans and sketches for you shortly!

Greentwinsmummy said...

I catch up with your blog & what do I find!! you are building a teahouse with a woodburning stove in it,oh heaven,if that was me I would stuff livng in the house & live out there,what great joy!!!! I cannot wait to see this take shape :o)
Thankyou for all your knd words & thoughts when I have been poorly recently too x x
GTM x x x

Deborah said...

Wow! What a project. It is going to be amazing!

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi GTM - you're very welcome to come and visit it when it's finished!!!
I'm really glad you're feeling a bit better now, but remember not to overdo it! :)

Hi Deborah - welcome. I do hope it's going to be amazing. It's certainly begining to look good as it takes shape. I love it, even in its unfinished state!