Sustainable House, Environment and Energy Saving
Nowadays we are in a time very special and we might even say dangerous, there are serious environmental problems. We have reached a point of damaging our planet and its ecosystem that going back may possibly not be much as possible.
Here is the reason why we want to return to talk about the house seen as a sustainable home in order to encourage and promote a culture to consider that a house should have a limited impact on the environment, both in terms of the materials used for the construction and also for the restructuring’s methods themselves. The house’s eco-compatibility towards the environment is its capability to consume the same amount of energy that the house itself produces. In another post we have already discussed about this important issue when we talked of the ‘zero-cost-house‘.
Up to here is the theory, in reality the practice does not always correspond to the expectations.
But here we want to emphasize the need and importance that all of us should acquire an environmental awareness, the awareness that the planet is not our own property and that we have to deliver it to the next generations in acceptable conditions, at least as we have received it from those that came before us.
Compared to a few years ago presently there is more sensitivity to problems related to energy consumption, trying to contain the need to heat or cool our homes with even the relative cost reduction (energy saving and money saving).
So now we are increasingly using equipment and products that improve the insulation thereby reducing the energy required to heat or cool our homes.
In the Centres DIY, like The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Menards, Rona Inc., Sears etc. there is the availability of products and equipment to deal with these kinds of problems related to substantially reduce energy consumption and moreover to improve the energetic efficiency.
In these places you can find there a whole range of the latest generation of aircon, presented in a variety of models suitable for every need and, also, for every budget. But also fans for ceiling and fans for wall, electric water heaters low consumption, lamps, showers of any type with consumption of water reducers, up to small solar panels plants to heat the water.
In conclusion, in those DIY Centers you can find all products, equipment and measures to achieve energy savings while minimizing the impact on the environment of your house.
Energy saving, a concept so important to all of us that it has become a must for manufacturers and users, it is pursued by a thousand technical details that we want to try here below to summarize the adoption or replacement of appliances of a better energy class
- the insulation of walls (thermal insulation of external walls), floors and attic, as well as the insulation of hot water pipes to prevent heat loss and waste of energy
- the adoption of double glazing and a new generation of windows
- the use of solar panels for the production of hot water
- the adoption of environmentally friendly fuels like pellets
the simple list that we reported here above needs one additional factor, which is a major factor, perhaps the most important of all. That is the acquisition of a sensitive attitude, the consciousness and environmentally awareness.
Although it is obvious, let us emphasize that the best form of energy savings is always to turn off the system when not in use and when it is not necessary.
And finally remembering that our efforts to reduce energy consumption must not be thwarted by taking the wrong direction, in fact it is not rational nor helpful getting heat by using the electricity because it would mean to use a noble energy to get an energy of 2nd level, which is simply silly.
September 20 2016 - DIY
The Progress brings some indisputable advantages and an improvement of the life’s standard quality.
Life gets longer and longer and we have to deal with this factor because every day we are going to face new issues connected to the elongation of the age and, consequently, facing with new needs of our seniors.
A longer life, obviously, as we already said, is to be considered in itself as a positive aspect of the human progress, provided that it must be duly accompanied by an adequate lifestyle as well as the adoption of instruments and precautions that allow the maintenance of an acceptable level of life quality.
What we said above is quite obvious, but now we are going to analyze in depth the daily reality.
We can say, for example, that in the bathroom often the elderly are facing with those small problems that can demean the soul of an old person unable, sometimes, to overcome small obstacles having a sense of frustration.
In fact one of the elements that create more embarrassment in our elderly, and gives to them the feeling of having to be always dependent on someone, do not have anymore their usual independence as well as the understandable regrets regarding their beloved ones for any inconvenience caused, that is the bathtub. Which it is not a bad word, just a tool! So why do not make this tool something usefull, nice and… easy to use also for them?
Personal hygiene, of course, it’s important at any age, nevertheless, in advanced age, it becomes critical in order to maintain a good health which in turn is a valid card to deal with the diseases related to the third age.
In this context, talking about bathroom equipment, the transformation of a ‘normal’ bathtub in a bathtub with a door for the elderly becomes not only an accessory but a very useful tool which allows the elderly to be able to comfortably wash themselves taking care so independently of its personal hygiene. A simple thing that makes a big difference.
In addition to the convenience of the mentioned factors, it must be added the safety aspect that nowadays is an ever-present topic in every moment of our lives.
It is a well-known fact that one of the most frequent incidents for people of a certain age it is the femur’s fracture, which normally does not have serious consequences in a young man, but that assumes severe gravity and often constitutes a downturn in quality of life for an aged person.
All efforts aimed at preventing falls and accidents must, therefore, be seen as an intelligent behavior.
Concerning the personal hygiene, in the bathroom with regard to the cleaning accessories, the choice usually implies two basic accessories,
1 the box Shower
2 the bath tub
As for the shower, we have already got to treat the subject in another article, so here our attention is focused on the bathtub.
BATHTUB WITH LATERAL DOOR, CHANGE THE BATH
Although from the hygienic point of view the shower is definitely preferable, the bathtub has historically given a place in our bathroom that makes up the memory to the ancient Romans and ultimately has a special charm.
Also, we would add that the relaxing effect you may experience taking a warm bath in the tub it is not certainly comparable to a healthy but fast and simple shower.
For a person with mobility limitations, like an elder or invalid person can be, the disadvantage of using the bathtub is represented by the obstacle constituted by the edge of tub that is to be climbed over.
Just that it is the problem that has tried to solve with the creation of these new types of tanks that have a small door on the side of the tank, watertight, which allows the elderly person to fit comfortably in the tub, close it and then open the taps for filling and, finally, taking their desired bath.
This kind of tanks usually is also equipped with a seat that allows the person to take care of themselves in full comfort, in complete autonomy and privacy.
On the market there are several types of tank specific for elderly or disabled (in fact, in some ways, there are more than few similarities for the two categories) that are adaptable to every need and every type of environment and, not least, for every pocket!
There is also the possibility to amend the existing tub by built a small door on the side of the tub. This solution is not always the most advantageous as it depends on the available type of bath and also the necessary masonry works. Also when work began, it is not unfrequent to face with unexpected problems due to the wall materials and deteriorated pipelines over time.
Many specialized companies offer bathtubs of all types and sizes and guarantee the replacement of the tub with a shower or replacement of a bathtub with easy access with no need to replace pipes, hydraulic system intervenes or carry out masonry work .
Said that, often the installation of these tanks requires very little time or even, in the most simple cases, the execution of work in a single day.
February 24 2016 - HOW TO
We like when it comes to gardening and here there are few ideas to make even more exciting our hobby.
Recently is becoming more popular and fashionable the habit of using common materials, like concrete blocks, cinder blocks, bricks, logs of wood, iron rods and so far to assemble furniture products and handcraft of any kind.
Among others the cinder blocks are very simple to find, cheap and easy to use to make very creative and original diy works for your garden as well for your house giving a certain touch of personality.
We are talking about some concrete cement cinder blocks, usually of a rectangular shape, that you can find in every warehouse of building materials for a few dollars.
With a little of phantasy you are certainly able to create indoor furnitures that you can paint and use to decore some beautiful corners of your house.
But probably the best way to get the best from this material is to build outdoor furnitures
Here some ideas how to use cinder blocks
OUTDOOR USE OF CINDER BLOCKS
- make a concrete garden bench
- make a vertical planters
- make steps
- make a barbecue
- make raised garden bed
but let us say that there is not limit to the phantasy!
We have here mentioned only diy works for the outdoor cinder blocks usage, but in the future we plan talking also about ideas for inside house to be made with cinder blocks.
As you can imagine (and as we said already) all these things are cheap to be made and you do not need specific tools to build them. Off course you may want to have stronger objects and you can use concrete to fix the cinder blocks one each other, this is feasible, but is not always necessary.
The price of each block is around 1 $, maybe even less, and therefore we think that is something that we may afford it!
If you have a small garden and if you are gardening lover it can be useful to have a space outside the house where you can store your garden tools. In fact it will be very helpful to always have at hand our garden tools as well as, at the same time, keep them protected from the weather.
The solution it could be to build a wooden house for garden tools.
Obviously, in the malls, workroom, like Home Depot, Lowe’s, Menards, Ace Hardware, are easily available several mounting kit to build small houses for tools, sometimes at moderate prices and above all, easy to assemble.
However, how can you compare buying a product ready to mount to something you have to project and put together with only our own hands?
We, as DIY lovers, know very well that the pleasure of building and do it by yourself is the little bit that make the great difference. In addition to the great satisfaction, you can adapt the house to your real needs and your taste and, possibly, build it with better quality of materials so it will be more strong than the wooden houses for tools generally offered by market.
Maybe (not allways) it could come to cost a little more, but definetly it will be another matter entirely!
TYPES OF HOUSES IN WOOD TOOL
We can divide into two categories the types of shed for garden tools
- individual houses (means, single selfstanding houses)
- houses leaning against a wall
About the typology mentioned sub 1) we talked about that on another post because, essentially, it is a normal cabin or house only with dimensions a little smaller.
As far as the houses huddled, first of all we assume to have a portion of wall without windows or a boundary wall that can be a support for our wooden structure (and thus serves as a fourth side).
Undoubtedly, in this case we will have the advantage of using a solid structure that will confer an anchor just as solid and safe also for our wood house.
HOW TO MAKE THE HOUSE FOR GARDEN TOOLS
Imagine you want to build a shed for tools of medium size (approx 12 ft x 15 ft)
- Materials and tools needed to build a small house for garden tools:
— 6 poles square section of 4 1/2 X 5 1/8 inches and 10 feet height (one pole for each corner and two poles for the jambs of the door)
— beaded of 5” of width, 10 feet Length and 1 1/2 inch thick.
–5 Joists 2”x3”, length 12 feet
–nails (various lenght 2” , 2 1/2” and 3”)
–nails by 1 1/2 inch wide headed for canadian tiles
Before you begin, you should at least give a good coat of primer to the entire material of wood, like beads, joists and posts.
Once all the wood is dried, in order to start the house’s construction we must take account of the kind of terrain the base is made.
It means that we have to consider if the house rests directly on the ground or if there is a concrete slab. In relation to what we use the proper metal fittings to attach the four poles to the ground.
These accessories in practice are metal brackets with a point-shaped metal stick to be inserted into the ground (if the base is ground) or provided with four holes to be screwed down to the concrete basement (if this is the case).
We have to fix the poles to one another with provisional joists so as to maintain the horizontal and vertical alignment while we start to nail the beads, starting from the side and from below, starting from the wall.
When we have nailed all the beads of the two sides, we will make the cut oblique sloping roof, using a simple circular saw (this work could also be done before installation, just make sure to take carefull good measures to give the right angle).
Now we can nailing the beads of the front of our house in wood tool, taking care to cut them in order to leave the opening of the door.
The roof will be made up of beads which rest on the 11” joists lined for lengthwise and duly screwed up on poles.
One last step will be the roof finishing: we must place the Canadian tiles.
The laying of the Canadian tiles, which indeed are very practical, inexpensive and long-lasting, is a job that needs to be done carefully to make the roof effective.
The laying of the Canadian starts from the right edge of the lower roof and then progressing horizontally strip by strip.
The first row must be laid on the contrary, with the flaps upwards, while the following files will be laid normally.
The door can be built with the same technique we saw before, by approaching 5 beads arranged vertically held together in the inner part of the door by a frame formed by four beads to form the cornice and placed diagonally to strengthen the door.
A lock and a handle will complete the work. Now we have our work done, a beautiful small house for gardening tools.
If desired, even at a later time, you can make a window, simply by cutting with circular saw the hole of the window and then reinforce with a frame. It is also possible to use the workbeads cut, reinforced with a cross oblique, as a small window sash .
Halloween comes soon, the festival of witches, orc, the fear’s feast is a north european tradition, a druid recurrence that now became mostly an occasion to be together in joy and celebrate the beginning of the autumn season.
It ‘s not so much for the party itself’, maybe it is just because the everyday grey life is a little bit boring, or maybe it’s for the everyday’s problems but this is an occasion to forget the boss or the collegues or the teacher and enjoy the horride nothing, the terrifying night of Halloween.
You can do so many things for Halloween, like preparing a party at home, like prepare the pumpkins carved and engraved to put in front of the house or on the windowsill with a candle or a light inside.
But in case you do not have enough space (nor the desire) to organise an Halloween party in your home, you can go out with friends to a Halloween party in someone else’s home or find a place to spend Halloween in houses haunted by ghosts or spooky and scary shows.
If you decide to go to the disco, you can indulge in makeup and dress up as a witch, vampire, devil, etc., but if you go to a party at a friend’s house, you have to study something really funny and unusual to amaze and entertain all your friends.
To have an idea of what you can do in order to be at the center of the scene, you can create something nice, not too laborious but highly effective: we are talking about a greit Charon’s boat!
Everybody knows who is Caron, he’s the devil that carries damned souls to the Hell! (Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri)
And therefore we can build a boat of cardboard, a seven feet long and 2 feet wide boat. It must be divided into two or (better) three segments, one for each friend (otherwise it is difficult to bring it by car).
To say this easy, it is like if we build a cardboard boat and then we cut it into three pieces. Each piece has a hole in the middle where can stand one of us, properly dressed and made up as walking dead.
Once we arrive at the friend’s house we will walk in single file to reforming the whole boat and proceed surrounded by their companions duly dressed as witches and devils in a sort of macabre and fun parade to make our triumphal entry into the house of friends with laughs and general entertainment.
How To Build a Caronte Boat
We start by preparing the shape of the boat with strong iron wire and we must make the shape of the boat in three pieces, as already said.
In practice, with the iron wire we must build the boat’s structure, then we take a tape off (to understand it is what is used to close the packages during the removals) and we fill the space between the contour lines of wire to create the walls and the bridge of the boat upon which you can roll out the paper mache.
The papier-mâché is substantially newspaper wet in water and glued with PVA glue (or in any case any glue based on vinyl acetate) which is left to soak for about half an hour and then lies on the plane formed by the adhesive tape.
This is the first layer, then allows to dry and after overlaps a second layer up to give some consistency.
We must of course remember that the boat is to be transported and therefore it is better do not make it too many layers to prevent it to be too heavy to wear and carry.
At the end we will end up with two kind of prisms, one for the front and the other for the stern of the boat and a sort of cube for the middle part.
Doing in that way the three pieces are hollow and not heavy and, if desired, to give greater consistency, they can be also filled with polystyrene balls. After that the boat must be painted and decorated as you like, but dark and horride.
When we will be at the Halloween party‘s place, we may put together the three parts of the boat with a tape. In the central segment we can put a pole polistyrene to better imitate a boat giving a touch of verisimilitude to the Caron’s Boat narrated by Dante.
The Fall season is approaching and with it Halloween holiday is coming and, as every year, the bigots and the conformists people criticize it for its supposed blasphemous nature, nevertheless everybody still maintain a deep curiosity and, ultimately, even a certain form of attraction toward this ancient Celtic festival.
Halloween is an occurrence that finds its roots deeply inside the American culture and that it has changed its nature which once was mostly religious, to adapt it to modern times.
Now Halloween Holidays is primarily an occasion to celebrate together and for the children to have fun. It must be said that actually also the adults enjoy Halloween and, as a consequence, the business world which is always attentive to earning’s opportunities, organizes parties, dinners and evening dancings all characterized by a recurring macabre, horrifying and scary leit motiv.
On the other hand, the continuing economic crisis, together with the daily concerns push people more and more to find every opportunity to get a little distraction.
Halloween comes, by the way, at the right moment, enough after the summer holidays and a couple of months before the winter holidays season. An ideal time for a bit of horrible and terrifying relax!
That said, altough we are now in advance, even if it is pretty early, we want to be ready and therefore for these reasons we are going to see what we have to do and how we can prepare properly the Halloween decorations for our home for the festival of Halloween.
In other posts we talk about how to make Halloween pumpkin and how to get ready and how to dress up for a Halloween party, talking about DIY Halloween costumes and original Halloween ideas to impress our friernds.
Instead now we want to see a little how to organize ourselves with terrifying ideas to decorate our house for Halloween party, a set of ways to surprise our guests and friends, perhaps with a garden with scary pumpkins, ugly birds, graves, ghosts and so on.
We want to be ready to welcome kids which, like ours do, will go around houses looking for ‘trick or treat’. Therefore we want to have our gardens duly terrifying, adorned with monsters, bats, pumpkins and witches.
Halloween Home Decorations
The classic, but we would also say the most classic decorations is, as we all know, the Halloween pumpkin, which must be strictly hand-carved (please avoid the horrible cheap plastic pumpkins marketed in department stores), duly lighted with burning candle (for this we would consider acceptable the use of the electric light bulb for obvious safety reasons). In addition to this, a beautiful skeletyhon or ghost (how can be beautiful a ghost?), perhaps hanging from a tree in our garden, it certainly will make a good terrifying impression. What also about a nice row of eerie red candles marking the driveway up to the front door?!
Everything is right for us, the balloons fluttering in ghostly form are also effective and highly effective, same as the rubber black bats or a skeleton duly tied with a rope to the roof looking like an hanged add a frightening effect. A ghostly and eerie song among with bats’ screeching, wind’s whistle and a roar of a thunder will complete the horrid panorama. A real Halloween environment!
Moreover, if you are looking for something really terrifying and highly effective for your Halloween party, here’s an idea to make the garden pretty scary.
Get yourself a wooden box, one of those used for fruit. Properly cut it the sides in an half in a way to look like a coffin and then place it in the garden pretending to be a coffin partially buried from which a skeleton emerges
In doing so you should not spoil too much your grandmother’s roses otherwise it might be the last feast that you are allowed to organize in your home.
Halloween Party Ideas
An outline essential, in addition to the soft red lights, should be a background of terrifying music, accompanied by squeals and whistles of bats and, of course, the noise of some squeaky door shaken by the wind.
Maybe we fell a bit on the trivial, but in fact the Halloween party is trivial too, in any case everything must be terrible, frightening, but never dangerous because at the bottom it is, and must always be, only a feast.
September 22 2015 - DIY
, HOW TO
We have often seen outside department stores those sort of wodden crates that are usually trown away. Why not use them to make them live a new life again? We are talking about pallets
The Pallet As A Creative Material
Among the most frequently used materials by DIY lovers we can certainly count the pallets, the same things that are commonly used by shippers to handle efficiently and keep stored merchandises.
The principle of protecting the environment and therefore the recycling of materials is one of the prerogatives that usually inspire handymen, however, it is very important to know the characteristics of the materials that we are going to recycle in order to prevent to operate with contaminated materials that may then be potentially dangerous both in the processing steps as well as in the future for their potential gradual release.
In fact the pallets are by their nature ideal materials to be reused because of their easy availability and for their negligible cost. By their very nature that lends itself, once disassembled, to be reused to made furniture or household objects, for the garden, for the kids game, but it’s also true that very often they could be hazardous materials ’cause they can contain harmful substances that have been absorbed by the wood during treatment with hazardous materials or even to be in contact with toxic substances.
In fact, the primary use of pallets, as said, generally is referred to be a support in warehouses and stores for easy mobility of the goods or its storage.
Controls On Pallets
Given what has been said so far, it is now understandable how it is important to check in advance the quality of the pallet we are going to use. It is important to know in what conditions were used before.
In most instances we may find the pallets in a warehouse or had as a gift from some acquaintance which operates in a shipping company or from a friend that owns a warehouse or a store.
Another criterion to be taken in order to have pallets free from toxic substances, could be to exclude those coming from the USA (in fact as the American standards require the use of very powerful chemicals to eliminate parasites or other pathogens, which is fine for goods but not for our health!).
In any case abbreviations placed on pallets are universally recognized and it is good to know them:
-MB indicates for example that the pallet is treated with methyl bromide, while
-HT indicates that the pallet was treated with heat as a method of sterilization.
Another question we should be asking is: what was the purpose for which the pallet has been used before? and how it was used previously? In any case it would be better to avoid those pallets used for shipping products and materials toxic or otherwise polluting.
Even if you cannot consider this as a safe system, you can try washing the pallet with detergents and disinfectants, rinsing well with running water. Obviously given the wood porosity, there is not guarantee but, at least some toxic residue is taken away.
Ideas For Using Pallets
To use pallets in a creative way requires only a bit of imagination and fantasy and there is no limit to that.
You can range from the construction of the headboard of a bed for your family’s country cottage or for the children’s bedroom, achievable simply putting two pallets vertically to the head of the bed, the construction of a garden or vertical planter or even build a cabinet itself.
Other ideas can be the realization of a shelf for books or dishes, but also a sofa, armchairs, a coffee table, a towel rack for the bathroom, a magazine rack and much, much more. Everything we have here mentioned can be made with simple wood pallets, few nails, a little goodwill and a lot of fun!
August 6 2015 - HOUSE
, HOW TO
If you are not too familiar with the green art of growing plants but, notwithstanding that, you are an outdoor activity lover, you may consider interesting this post to learn how to start your green experience by growing plants in raised beds, which make it a little bit easier.
Have you tried many times to plant a seeding basil in a corner of your garden and see it grow for one or two weeks and then, suddenly, dry up and die?
Well this is definitely not nice to see and, above all, it is frustrating, really frustrating!
Many can be the reasons of the failure of your effort, among others:
- too much water
- too little water
- poor drainage
- various pests like slugs and snails
Many of these problems can be avoid by growing your little vegetable garden raised.
Moreover, you can build your own raised garden by yourselves and this is just the beginning of your having fun.
You can follow our directions to build a 4 by 8 foot raised garden bed.
Advantages of Raised Garden Bed
- Drainage- An appropriate drainage is an important aspect of growing and one of the reasons to use (or build) a raised garden bed to obtain a good performance in terms of drainage, avoiding one of the most common errors, i.e. the mold growth.
- Pest protection- Usually the raised garden bed stands about 7 to 10 inches from the ground level and this fact by itself is sufficient to ensure good maintenance of crops, an appreciable drainage and some protection from pests.
Directions for Building Raised Garden Beds
The dimensions of the raised garden bed depend on what you need, but let us say that for beginning gardeners (as we are) it is better do not exceed the size that we are proposing in this post.
Then later, once we have earned enough experience, we will certainly have the opportunity, if we decide to replicate this experiment, to improve the size to large and more elaborated raised garden beds to grow numbers of plants or flowers.
For DIY lovers it is possible to build their raised garden bed by using re-purposed or recycled materials, like pallets which are among the most popular materials recently preferred (look here for some ideas in this regard).
Raised garden beds, sometimes called also garden box, can be also used, as we said before, for growing vegetables or flower plantations. In addition, if you provide a kind of coverage, by using a light plastic roof, you will get the advantage of avoid the washing effect of the rain that makes the soil increasingly poor of nutrients substances.
Another advantage of using raised bed gardens is that you do not see anymore soil falling out apart and it is easier to work on this kind of gardens for people with back problems or older gardeners because it reduces back strain.
Before step up with the building instructions, it is to say that raised bed gardens are not to be confused with garden planters which are elevated containers, often with bottom plastic folded to avoid to waste water or sometimes with semi-permeable tissue (tissue non-tissue) to permit drainage.
Raised bed gardens have not bottoms as they are open on the ground. The result is that permits to the plant roots to grow deep into the ground looking for available nutrients.
How to Build a Raised Bed Garden
Once you have decided the size and the shape of your garden and also what kind of plants, vegetables or flowers you want to plant on it, you can begin drawing directly on the ground the perimeter of your garden.
You will place some wooden stakes (height about 20 inches) at the corners of the geometric design that represents your garden. Then you will need to connect a string between the stakes, stretched about 7-10 inches from the ground to have a guide to follow when you have to build the sides, in order to maintain the same height (alternatively you can use a mason’s level).
At this point we just have to nail down four aces to form the polygon (not always, in fact, it is a rectangle) that we had drawn earlier.
It is understandable that this work is easy and we do not need a master degree to proceed, but not always the easiest things are the first things you consider as the present times often push us toward the most complicate way of living.
April 28 2015 - DIY
, HOW TO
With the end of the cold season we start to think of any outdoor project. One of the jobs to be done outdoors, in the yard or in the garden, can be the improvement of the drainage of the garden.
We all love our garden, our own little green world in the backyard, with flowers and plants, a place where we enjoy spending some of our free-time in absolute relax, maybe reading our preferred book or listening some favorite good music.
The simple maintenance that this little treasure requires, includes the need to keep the ground dry, avoiding stagnation of rain water and the formation of excessive moisture. These factors that can make the garden less enjoyable, in a the long run may also compromise the healthiness of the basement or other premises and underground rooms, like cellars and taverns.
So let’s see how to improve the drainage system in the garden or how to drain the courtyard.
In fact it is not unusual to ear people complaining about problems related to the existence of moisture and condensation in the basement or even more for the presence of water on the floor or walls that are wet to the touch and show the bloom of mold in the corners, all of these problems drive from one side to the unavailability and little access to the rooms, and on the other may even create irreversible damage to the entire structure of the building.
If the composition of the soil is predominantly clay and therefore with poor permeability, there is the strong possibility that any waters present in the subsoil tent to flow laterally toward the lower slope and, if the water goes towards the wall of the house, then we are really going to heading a big problem. A problem that can be solved with the drainage of the garden or the courtyard.
Drainage Of The Garden
In this case, you can still achieve a good result with a relative small effort if you proceed with the construction of a kind of drainage channel along the entire perimeter of the house to force the water in a desired direction avoiding its dispersion. Once properly channeled the water can be driven far away from the building and even brought out of your property’.
This technique is known as ‘French drainage’ or French drain.
Let’s see what it is.
As we said, this drainage system consists in building a kind of underground gutter that goes around the perimeter of the entire building.
The channel should have a width of about 4 to 5 inches and it should be placed at a depth approximately 12 to 20 inches.
Once the canal is built, we will cover it with special perforated tiles or with a galvanized net over which we will pour a quantity of clean gravel to a depth of 2-3 inches and finally covered everything with other soil up to the surface.
The water flows out of the ground and is filtered through the perforated tiles (or through the net) and ends up in the gutter where it is forced to follow the slight slope that we have given, to the destination that we have predetermined.
In essence we can say that this drainage system works as with a normal surface drainage system, it means a plastic duct with a cover grid. The difference only consists in placing it a foot underground. Alternatively you can use a PVC pipe with the top perforated with lots of holes in order to collect the water and channel it.
After having discussed about garden drainage, we feel we should recommend another useful advice, infact it should be better always check first that the rainwater from the roof, usually piped down, it is not dispersed close to the foundations of the perimeter wall of the house, creating additional sources of moisture and condensation. If is the case, you may follow the same system above mentioned to drive also this water far away from the house and from the garden.
Make a sidewalks around the house, build a walkway or set up a garden path, if well done is a work that is forever and year after year will be intact and contributes to enhance the property’ value, giving a touch of personalization that makes it unique and special and lovable to you.
Traditional materials such as bricks and stones, normally used to build walkways and driveways, are always appreciated both for their appearance and for the duration, however the majority of these products are generally quite expensive and sometimes they require some practice for the installation.
A simple alternative, easy and downright cheap, is given by the possibility of building it with concrete or mortar that can be poured into molds and that forms a paved stonlike or imitates bricks of various shapes.
The result will be a nice complement of your garden, beautiful and personalized, blending the aesthetic fashion of old bricks or the beauty of natural stones with a long duration and, not last, at the only cost of the sole concrete poured into the molds.
TOOLS TO MAKE A DIY WALKWAY
- Tools For the excavation and site preparation,
- concrete stamp or mold,
- finishing trowel
MATERIAL TO BUILD YOUR ROCK TRAIL
- Mortar or crack-resistant concrete,
- liquid color for cement,
- plastic sheets,
- polymer-modified joint sand,
- paintbrush for finishing.
Building a paved walkway in your garden is a good do-it-yourself work that requires some effort, but once finished, it will give you a great satisfaction.
First, if the work overlaps a pre-existing trail, it is necessary to trace with accuracy the outline of the new walkway (we usually name this as the project starting-up phase) then, after we have established the location and width of the garden trail and having maybe drawn a sketch on a piece of paper, we set the mold or stamp that we have previously built by ourselves or purchased.
Then we have to make a quite liquid quantity of mortar and pour it into the mold.
After that, while the mortar is still workable (means, not completely dry) we must finish the surface edges with a wet little spatula or a small trowel to make it more smooth as possible. Then, when the mortar will be just a little dried, but not completely dry (this is to prevent cracks), we remove the mold carefully and complete the finishing work by using a wet paintbrush to smooth the edges.
At this point you can place the mold to the next segment of your garden walkway and so on until completion of the route.
Probably the easiest is using molds of a size of about 2 feet but, here the discussion could be extended because if you are going to buy the mold, then there a verry wide choice available in the best shops and stores, DIY). However, with a little effort and a very little cost, we can make one by ourselves, a mold personalized and unique .
There are several kind of molds or patterns, can be made of
and, especially on the latter type, you can make one by using strips of wood to get geometric pattern, preferably with straight sections. Instead, if you want to get rounded shapes (to mimic the stones’ shape) you can use plastic strips or even better you can find the metal strips used in gardening to demarcate the land of the flower beds.
In this post we want to describe the basic steps to help you to create your garden walkway as well giving some tricks in order to easily make the curved parts of your garden trail.
Please also note that if you light to give a special look to the entire work to personalize your own walkway, you can change the type of finishing at your own or use special dyes to color the concrete according to your own personal taste.
Here’s how to proceed step by step.
HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN GARDEN WALKWAY
- The first work to be done is the preparation of the fund. So we have to level appropriately the ground preparing the base on which we will draw our trail relying on the little project that we mentioned before. We will therefore eliminate the plates and, if necessary, we remove a certain amount of soil to get room enough for the concrete base.Better would be to dig all the way, to a depth of about 5 to 10 inches and then fill it with gravel well compacted. We must press very well, compacting the layer of gravel so that it will be flatten and smooth.
- Prepare a quantity of cement or mortar, by mixing a bag of dry cement with gravel following the manufacturer’s instructions. At this stage, if you want, you may add the pigmentation.
- Place the mold at the beginning of the walkway.
- Pour the liquid cement into the mold mortar carefully filling well every corner
- Wait about half an hour and then with a little trowel round toe, moistened with water, try to smooth the edges of each shape and flatten the surface. Allow to dry a bit (about 2-3 hours, depending on moisture of the air)
- When the concrete is a little solidified, but not completely dry, remove the mold and gently wipe the finish with the aid of a moistened spatula or wet brush. If you want to get a non-slippery surface, you can gently brush the surface creating a ‘sandpaper’ (using a dry brush).
- Place the mold in order to proceed to the next section, repeat steps 2 to 6 and continue so until completion of the work.
If you want to give an additional effect you can turn the mold 90 degrees to each section to avoid the repetition of identical boring design.
After finish, keep the entire walkway covered with a plastic sheet for about 2-3 days to prevent the rain wash away your work and direct sun dry it too quickly, creating cracks on the surface.
HOW TO CREATE A CURVE TO YOUR WALKWAY
If your design of the track provides one or more curves, you can proceed as follows.
After removed the mold of the straight section of the driveway, risposizionate the mold in the direction of the curve that you want to make and press down the mold to cut away the inside corner (in this case to be able to cut more easily it’s better to intervene before the concrete is too hardened).
Finish the edge of the cut shapes (as said before), then repeat the process as above and continue so. (In theory you might also make a circle with a bend of 360 ° to surround, for example, a fountain or an ornamental well or even just a flowerbed .
Once finished the work and after the concrete forms are duly dried, you have to pour over the entire surface a compound of sand and cement powder and stucco or, better yet a filler for joints exterior synthetic resin, doing so with the trowel to fill the joints still leaving a ¼ inch for water drainage and for aesthetics aspect.
HOW TO COLOR CONCRETE FOR YOUR ROCK GARDEN TRAIL
A further effect pleasant and personalized it’s certainly given by color. Indeed coloring helps to give more natural aspect to stones of concrete or fake bricks or effect ‘cooked’, adding charm to your work.
Although you can always paint later with a brush the shapes, stones or bricks, the best result is obtained by coloring the concrete itself.
We will not dwell too much on this point cause in the products readily available on the market the manufacturers provide adequate instructions on the procedure to be followed.
In any case, as an approximation, we say that for every 50 lb bag of concrete mix should about 8-10 oz of liquid dye previously dissolved in 5 qt of water. Once the dye added to the dough you must mix well until mixture is smooth, then add clean water to achieve desired consistency.
After filling the joints with filler material, as described above, pour in the joints some sand and mortar mixed with polymers to mimic the appearance of the stones or bricks handmade. Then wash with water without insisting too much on the joints to allow time to polymers to act.
Another effect that gives a rustic look you may obtain by pressing on the surface of the templates (when the mortar is still fresh), small pebbles, pebbles gravel or other (such as the so-called ‘Sandwash’ widely used around swimming pools).