Decked Out

Decked Out 

Welcome back folks.  Today I wanted to share with you a garden project I’m currently working on that will provide many places to retreat and unwind. There’s a lot of land here at my disposal and once I’ve figured out a general plan and begun cutting and clearing pathways through the hugely overgrown landscape, I can then clear a few areas with great views that I’ll be able to put a gazebo on or a decked area of some sort. 

Clearing

I actually started the clearing and cutting process three or four years ago but had to leave it on standby for a couple of years as I relocated temporarily.  When I returned last month I was quite excited at the prospect that re-discovering the old trails I’d cut previously would simply be a case of hacking away at the new growth and uprooted unwanted vegetation from the already well-trodden pathways.  Much to my disappointment it became apparent very quickly that that I’d completely underestimated just how ferociously and relentlessly the vegetation grows here, especially throughout the wet season.  After hacking away at it for a couple of backbreaking hours in the hot sun, it was clear right away that the whole area had become, once again, impenetrable.   This stage of the project is going to take a team of at least seven or eight young, fit, fully fed and watered labourers with razor sharp machetes and a monetary incentive to steaming in and clear all the excess new growth back to uncover the original paths and trails.  I’m predicting ten days to two weeks to get it back to something that resembles how I’d got it before, which isn’t all that long of course. 

The Plan 

In the meantime I can start planning layouts, structures and sourcing materials.  Unfortunately, wood isn’t cheap here by any means and as I’m on a reasonably tight budget I’ll have to source the wood for the main supporting structures locally, whereas the surface material – the part where people will sit or stand (or where the cat will curl up and dominate the whole area) will need to be sourced online.  As it happens I’ve been digging around on the internet at classifieds sites and have found a great one selling http://www.for-sale.ie/garden-decking-boards h.  They’re exactly what I’m looking for.  They look great, can be coated with any kind of finish I choose, they’re durable and what’s more, they’re very well priced.  They can also be used to complete a couple of standard decking areas I also have planned which will extend the restaurant somewhat.  

Gazebo

As this is something I haven’t done before, I had to research a little to find a few design ideas for building the gazebo.  I didn’t realize just how diverse the design of a gazebo, could be.  From the examples I’ve seen I’m looking at something fairly simple.  It needs to be square in shape  that people can enjoy the 360 degree views as well as position themselves for sitting, dining as a lot of people who visit like to do, relaxing in a hammock with a book and a cold drink.  The square shape will accommodate this, and will facilitate the provision for four people.  It’ll need a grass roof, which is standard practice here, and what I’d really like is a good amount of decking around the perimeter of the gazebo, at least enough to fit a small table and two chairs for more private dining.  This can all be achieved with the online decking boards.  There is also the footings to consider, something that’s not necessarily costly, but way more labour intensive.  As the land further up is on quite a steep incline we may have to dig down two or three metres to ensure a solid base. 

Decking boards

Finishing 

Finishing the build is also important.  As for the wood itself, a number of varnishes and sealants are available locally, but what I’ve found to be successful in the past  here is plain old used motor oil.  I’m not pulling your leg! When the local mechanics here perform oil changes, they put the old oil to one side and put in a corner somewhere, I guess so that they can get rid of it periodically in bulk, as we generally do with our rubbish.  Actually offering to buy it off them would make their day of course but most are prepared to give it away.  The beauty of using old motor oil is that it instantly seals the wood, makes it weather resistance, and more importantly in these parts of the world, keeps out termites and other keen wood munchers. 

So that’s where I am with things here on the land.  I’ll be sure to keep you updated; I just need to wait a while until the lads have cleared the dense growth that’s accumulated over the last three years.  Thanks for reading folks, util next time..