Scottish Rock Garden Club Forum

General Subjects => Blogs and Diaries => Topic started by: Anne Repnow on April 06, 2014, 08:23:32 PM

Title: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on April 06, 2014, 08:23:32 PM
I had a dream...

For various complicated reasons I need a place to put my gardening tools. In reverence to the age of our ancient village (first mentioned in documents round about the year 800) I had this dream to have a little "gardener's house" made of historic materials. (Mind you none of the neighbours bothers to make their houses blend in...)

Foto 1 (taken April 1): This is where the little house will be (the house in the background belongs to one of our neighbours)
Foto 2 (taken April 1): Site from another angle (there is a little shed which is to be taken away - as well as the huge chaenomeles)
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on April 06, 2014, 08:33:46 PM
Although I told the workmen well in advance that I would be away for a long weekend the foundation was dug while I was away...  And although I clearly marked the course of a couple of power lines one of them was damaged...

I almost feinted when I saw the trenches for the foundation - I hadn't planned to build The Shard in my garden...

Photo 1 and 2 (taken today): Trenches for the foundation
Photo 3: From another angle: The wooden shed is gone, the chaenomeles is still there - and a large heap of earth

Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on April 06, 2014, 08:36:29 PM
Photo 1: Damaged power lines (the white bits in the bottom of the trench are petals form the big cherry tree)
Photo 2:  >:(  I don't feel happy leaving that as it is - even though the inner cables aren't damaged...
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on April 06, 2014, 08:39:24 PM
Isn't it wonderful to have a husband who can mend just about anything? Just the sort of work for a glorious sunny Sunday afternoon...  :-\
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Maggi Young on April 06, 2014, 09:19:28 PM
Isn't it wonderful to have a husband who can mend just about anything? Just the sort of work for a glorious sunny Sunday afternoon...  :-\
Worth his weight in gold, Anne!
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on April 07, 2014, 09:33:12 PM
That trench - 60 cm wide and 100 cm deep - gave me nightmares. The detailed plan, which the "hard gardening" firm got, explicitly  showed a foundation 30 cm wide and about 80 cm deep...  I hoped that the workmen planned to build the foundation with hollow blocks filled with concrete. Surely they wouldn't just fill that massive trench with concrete... ... ... would they?

I got up very early and arrived at my garden (my 2nd garden - not where I live) at 7.15 a.m. Too late. There was a huge concrete truck and 3 men were just filling the whole trench with concrete. And then there were these massive hollow blocks lying around....  ???
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on April 07, 2014, 09:44:56 PM
Normally of mild disposition I'm afraid I had a little fit there and then.
All work (and further pouring of concrete) ceased while the boss of the hard gardening firm was called. I explained to him that - as it said in the plan - I wanted to have a foundation 30 cm wide.

While I simmered down the huge hollow blocks were bodily carried away and replaced by blocks of the correct format which were then - this time perfectly - placed on top of the concrete and filled with the same.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on April 07, 2014, 09:56:57 PM
At the end of the day the foundation doesn't look too bad - and the measurements are even correct. I am relieved (though I still grumble about all that surplus concrete).

Unfortunately the garden slopes more than I took into account. So some landscaping is necessary. But it is unlikely that I'll manage to get that done before the little house arrives (in parts) on Wednesday - all the way from the north of Germany. There a specialised firm built the framework using beams at least 200 years old. And subsequently everything was taken apart again for transport.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Maggi Young on April 07, 2014, 10:26:58 PM
Wow, there are sheds - and then there are SHEDS! This is going to be a thing of real beauty, Anne.
I hope your blood pressure does not get too upset in the rest of the build - the cement saga sounds quite stressful enough.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on April 07, 2014, 10:35:54 PM
I'm sure I'll be a nervous wreck by the time that wee house is finished. Telling you all about it is therapeutic, I hope you'll bear with me...
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Margaret on April 07, 2014, 11:04:44 PM

What a nightmare about the concrete, but the wood work looks fantastic.  Did you say the size of the shed and are you on the lookout for suitable vintage tools?
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on April 08, 2014, 08:29:34 AM
The outside measurements are 3.5 by 3.5 metres.
As to vintage tools... There is a derelict barn on the premises. Inside a lot of vintage gardening tools are gradually nibbled away by woodworm and the tooth of time.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on April 09, 2014, 08:26:41 PM
This afternoon the lorry (plus trailer) arrived carrying piles of building material. To my horror I was informed that because of weight restrictions they didn't manage to get everything loaded and had to send the bricks for filling the frame work by freight transport. All in all the material weights 12 tons!!!
The bricks will arrive on Friday - which means I have to organise a wheel-loader once again. Not an easy feat as everybody is extremely busy just now and I don't even know exactly when the second lorry will arrive! The coordination of this project is awful and I think I must have been mad to undertake this...

The lorry and trailer parked in the middle of the road (a major thoroughfare) and it took 2 hours and much bodily work to unload everything. As my garden is not accessible for a wheel-loader everything had to be carried through our neighbours driveway. Bottles of wine and boxes of chocolates were distributed beforehand...



Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on April 09, 2014, 08:45:02 PM
The man from the "historic building material firm" is - by the way - from Kazakhstan. A highly competent man as a driver as well as a builder - God bless him. In the late afternoon he was joined by a carpenter I had organised.

They searched out the beams with which to start. Each beam is marked with a roman number and a plan shows where each numbered beam is to go.

First of all blocks of wood were placed on the foundation on which the ring-base of wooden beams was placed. At a later stage the blocks of wood will be replaced by stonework that will fill the space between the concrete foundation and the wooden ring-beams. To me that seems to be an unusual order of doing things, but apparently it is proven and tested.

Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Graeme on April 09, 2014, 08:49:00 PM
looks great - cannot wait to see that wooden framed building - what size is the base 3.5m x 3.5m?
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on April 09, 2014, 08:50:29 PM
The exact measurements are 3.5 by 3.25 m! And frankly - I can't wait either!  ;)
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on April 09, 2014, 08:54:39 PM
The beams fit perfectly.

My friend from Kazakhstan and the carpenter have erected the first vertical beams. And have prepared the next beams to be put up tomorrow morning.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Graeme on April 09, 2014, 08:59:25 PM
it looks exceptionally well made - nice to see that there are still some craftsmen left
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on April 09, 2014, 09:58:42 PM
Indeed, Graeme!

Here is a photo of today's construction work.

While the Kazakhan builder is hopefully having a wonderful night's sleep in a local B&B I am worrying about the roof. The historic tiles are to be placed on the roof using an old technique. The tiles are bedded in specially bound bundles of straw on the wooden slats. (The straw bundles are in those large plastic bags.)

Unfortunately the specialised builder can only stay tomorrow and he thinks the time will not suffice to put the tiles on the roof. Needless to say I cannot find any roofer in our region familiar with this old technique. - - - I wonder whether this is the time to try bribing my Kazakhan friend...
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Brian Ellis on April 10, 2014, 09:24:36 AM
Anne, this is a wonderful project and lovely for us to share.  I do hope the bribing is successful and you get an authentic roof too.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on April 10, 2014, 12:45:48 PM
Thank you, Brian! Your words are soothing - particularly as hubby thinks I am mad...

This morning I actually found a little local roofing firm who came to the building site within 10 minutes (!!!!!) and told me that they would be able to resurrect some old knowledge put up the tiles properly.

I've also found a solution for the 4 palettes of bricks which will arrive by freight lorry at some unspecified time tomorrow. They will be unloaded at the hard gardening firm's yard. As they will brick in the framework they might as well unload and store the bricks. I'm rather proud of myself having thought of that...  ;)

Fitting the organisation of building the wee house round about daily doses of radiation therapy and dates with various doctors as well as too many clients' requirements is the real challenge. Mind you, I am not grumbling - compassion is probably keeping my husband from getting a divorce right away on the grounds of idiotic expenditure.  ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Brian Ellis on April 10, 2014, 12:54:07 PM
It looks as though it will be well worth the money, time and effort.  Excellent news that the local roofing firm will be able to complete the project :D
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on April 10, 2014, 05:01:49 PM
I think so, too, Brian. Considering what a car costs these days  - and that only lasts for a few years.

When I arrived at 8 a.m. this morning the two men had been at work for an hour already. And look what they achieved! The beams were heaved up and placed in the correct position manually. Only for the largest and heaviest beam the little crane on the lorry had to help.

The beams are fixed by wooden pegs which are hammered in with a wooden hammer. They are left to stick out a little because it looks nice and - should the wood shrink - they can be hammered in further.

Aren't the little decorative bits around the door charming?
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on April 10, 2014, 05:11:56 PM
By midday the roof beams had been put up and the two men were closing the gable on the neighbour's side.
The gaps between the boards are covered by narrow slats.

The woodwork on the front of the little house is almost finished.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on April 10, 2014, 05:27:44 PM
Yippee! 2 p.m. and the my Kazakh builder and the carpenter (who isn't really a carpenter but a cabinet maker - what a different type of work!) have finished their job. Now one can imagine how it will be actually using the house/shed - and enjoying a sit-down in front of it.

I must confess: I am really pleased!
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on April 10, 2014, 05:38:36 PM
A few details.
A weird contrast between the old worn beams and the modern house behind (first photo).
I wonder what those beams have seen, good times and bad times, how many generations lived with them in houses, barns, stables... And the carpenters who originally formed them and built with them would never in their wildest imagination have believed it possible that hundreds of years later these beams would be used to build a little gardeners house/shed hundreds of miles away from their original home.

I hope the roofer will tile the roof within the next few days. More photos then.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Brian Ellis on April 10, 2014, 06:37:38 PM
It's all in the detail Anne, I love the little windows.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on April 10, 2014, 08:02:15 PM
Right! I particularly like the little gable window (which will probably never be cleaned!).
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Margaret on April 10, 2014, 11:51:10 PM

It's looking wonderful. I think you are right to call it a little house.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Maggi Young on April 11, 2014, 11:20:29 AM
I wish when our neighbours build things they would be this attractive.  :(
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Matt T on April 11, 2014, 12:31:15 PM
Attractive a robust. That 'shed' will last hundreds of years. Such a worthwhile project, keeping traditional crafts alive and a very impressive garden feature.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: ashley on April 11, 2014, 02:05:08 PM
"Well wear" Anne.  I hope it gives you great pleasure (once the stress abates :P ;D)
Sharing it here has been a treat for the rest of us already.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on April 11, 2014, 02:12:02 PM
Thank you, Margaret.

In Aberdeen it would have to be granite, though, Maggi, wouldn't it?
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on April 14, 2014, 06:16:29 PM
The roofers have arrived and put up a little scaffold.

After measuring the tiles they have marked the beams to ensure the correct and even spacing of the slats.

The master roofer is trying to show his new apprentice how to hammer in one of those long nails in the correct place. The poor lad was yelled at a lot because he seems to be all thumbs (bad thing when handling a hammer...).

All the slats are in place.

The last slat is doubled up. That way the angle of the last row of tiles is less steep and the flow of rain water gushing down the roof is slowed.



Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on April 14, 2014, 06:40:50 PM
At regular intervals notches have to be cut into the lowest slats - for the fastenings of the rain gutter. I had to put my foot down in order to make sure it is a copper gutter and not one of those made of zink-coated tin. 

Unfortunately the poor lad is not only all thumbs but not a great mathematician either. He cut the notches in the wrong intervals, a lot of shouting ensued and a new slat had to be attached (on both sides of the roof). Meaning the master roofer had to drive off to organise new slats. Not a great deal you might think. BUT. As the little house originates from the North of Germany, the roof is constructed differently from what is the rule here. The beams are built further apart, the slats are therefore more massive. This size of slat is not "off the shelf" material for a roofer here.

A master carpenter is called to cut and put up the oak boards at the front and the back of the roof - they will keep the wind from getting under the tiles.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on April 14, 2014, 06:47:48 PM
Ah - and thank you Matt and Ashley for your kind comments!
I was so intent of posting todays progress that I didn't notice them until now.  :)

Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Margaret on April 14, 2014, 09:05:01 PM

Looking even better, Anne. It's going to be very beautiful.

I got a new shed on my allotment recently and although it's just a functional ordinary thing it has given me a much needed incentive to be more tidy as well as a lot of pleasure.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on April 27, 2014, 09:31:29 PM
Sorry, folks, I was extremely busy in the past couple of weeks. But things have developed...
Here is the gutter-story.

The braces for the rain-gutter are attached to the slats.
The rain-gutter has been cut to (the wrong) size, soldered and attached.
A strip of copper sheet is attached to make sure the water doesn't splash the wooden slats.

Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on April 27, 2014, 09:57:20 PM
One of the things I was very busy with these last days was worrying... and being exasperated...

The rain-gutter-man obviously never worked on an old roof with handmade tiles. The gables are formed by oak boards which are supposed to prevent the wind from getting under the tiles. And the rain-gutters are supposed to be short enough for the boards to cover them. It looks silly now - and the boards were divided on two sides. Two points of dispute with the roofer. Who of course told me it had to be this way. I gave in in the end... :-\

But I stood up to absolutely not accepting the fact that there isn't enough room between the tiles and the rain-gutter. I cannot get my hand in - let alone clean the gutter with a gutter-brush (which will be necessary because of the cherry tree). Amazing. Neither the rain-gutter-man nor the roofers noticed this problem though they worked on the roof together.



Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on April 27, 2014, 10:20:49 PM
The roofers... At first they weren't really too sure about how to roof with the help of straw bundles - as you can see.... These are supposed to prevent blowing snow from getting under the tiles. And experienced roofers of historic houses claim that placing the tiles in a bed of straw makes positioning them correctly easier.

Eventually "my" roofers got the hang of it. It looks rather pretty from below. In case you wondered: It stays that way. The straw will probably house all sorts of creepy-crawlys and eventually it may rot. But until then I'll enjoy it.

Eventually the tiles for the roof ridge are laid in a bed of mortar.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on April 27, 2014, 10:39:50 PM
Now to the problem that has really been giving me nightmares. I was so excited when the house arrived in bits and the framework was constructed that I didn't realise it was sitting too low. The ground slopes on two sides and although the foundations are visible at one corner the frame of the door sits over 20 cm below the ground.

Over the last couple of weeks it has dawned on me that half my garden would have to be dug up and removed if we ever want to be able to open the door of the wee house. (My husband tried to dig away at my worries... as you notice in front of the door-frame.) As it is supposed to house the lawn mower etc. steps are not a solution.

I was soooo angry with myself for not noticing this problem while a solution would have been simple...  :-X

Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: ChrisB on April 28, 2014, 06:16:28 AM
Such an interesting roof construction.  I couldn't quite picture how the tiles were going to sit on the straw but now I see.  I assume they also nail the tile down.  I saw these copper(?) gutters on buildings last year in the Czech Republic.  They look very sturdy compared to our plastic ones but they probably have to deal with more winter snow than we normally get too.  Sorry your doorway has caused such trouble!  Hope you get it sorted soon.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Brian Ellis on April 28, 2014, 09:18:23 AM
Nice workmanship with the straw, it looks very attractive from inside doesn't it.  Hope you can get the other problems easily rectified Anne.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: David Nicholson on April 28, 2014, 09:59:18 AM
That's my kind of planning Anne ;D
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on April 28, 2014, 10:25:55 AM
@ David:  ;D - I'm glad I'm not alone...

@ Brian: Thank you, a few hurdles to take as yet.

@ Chris: They actually do not nail the tiles down. The tiles have a little "nose" on one side which hooks on the wooden slats. That's all. The gap between some of the tiles seems to be awfully big (and facing westwards). I'll wait for the next storm and see what happens  ;). The chap from the roofing firm told me they would replace those tiles in case the rain got in. Fortunately I have a lot of tiles left...

As to the rain-gutters. Generally they are made of zink-galvanised tin over here - indeed, plastic ones wouldn't take the weight of the snow. However, many people prefer copper because it looks nicer (and lives longer).

Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Margaret on April 29, 2014, 11:26:16 PM

Would the door work if it opened inwards?
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on May 11, 2014, 07:19:58 PM
Sorry, Margaret - I was very busy and failed to reply to your excellent suggestion. The fittings to the door and the frame do not allow the door to be opended inwards.

However, good news! My excellent husband, the man for any technical problems, sat down and thought it all through. He then organised 5 hydraulic jacks and a pile of aluminium plates, each 2 cm thick, as well as various aluminium profiles. The jacks were places in the vicinity of the four corners and on one side of the door frame.

The man for all seasons then jacked one corner of the little house up by 2 cm (accompanied by some slight creaking) while I quickly inserted an aluminium plate. This way one corner after the other was lifted again and again, the objects placed beneath became thicker and in the end we actually managed to lift the house by 21 cm!

There was one shaky bit when the wee house moved sideways, but we managed to get it to move back again by putting a wedge under the jack and thus pushing the house back into position.

Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on May 11, 2014, 07:33:09 PM
In the end we stopped using a water-level - the beams are not straight enough to make this the ultimate basis of the decision what the correct position of the house should be. We decided that it doesn't really matter whether the beams are level - the only thing that is important is that the door (and the windows) open without problem.

So - with great difficulty because of its enormous weight - we manoeuvred the door to the door frame and eventually managed to set it onto its hinges. A few taps with a big wooden hammer to one corner of the house and the door sat perfectly within its frame. And it was possible to open it without it getting stuck in the mud!

What a relief! All this took place a week ago and I slept a lot better these past days...
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on May 11, 2014, 07:45:23 PM
A few details of the door made of solid oak. It fits perfectly into its frame.

Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on May 11, 2014, 07:53:19 PM
My present worry is to find a mason or brick-layer who is able and willing to build the sandstone basis of the wee house. And fill in the framework with old bricks. The stones as well as the bricks - also recycled from old buildings - were delivered together with the rest of the material of the house. (The stones you see wrapped on pallets in the last photo of the previous post.)

Here a photo of the bricks.

So far I have not found anybody to take on this task in spite of asking around a great deal...
Needless to say the roofers haven't been in touch in order to solve the problem with the rain-gutter. I haven't got a bill either, though...
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Maggi Young on May 11, 2014, 07:56:17 PM
My goodness- this looks not only very difficult but also dangerous!

I can see it will be tricky to fill in the new gap below the walls, too.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Brian Ellis on May 12, 2014, 08:20:52 AM
There was one shaky bit when the wee house moved sideways, but we managed to get it to move back again by putting a wedge under the jack and thus pushing the house back into position.

Blimey Anne, I bet your hearts were in your mouths then.  Well done to your husband for coming up with a solution - and to you both for carrying it out 8)
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on May 12, 2014, 08:39:34 AM
 :-\ You are right, Brian! It was scary when the whole structure, weighing - we guess - about 4 - 5 tons, moved. Frankly I am worried at the moment because we are experiencing a strong gusting wind. And those tiles are not designed to be exposed to the wind from the underside. Already the straw looks a bit tatty. I'm afraid a gale would blow the whole house down, but my husband thinks it is safe... let's hope he is right...

I wonder whether having that huge cherry tree to the west of the wee house is a blessing or a hazard.

Yes, Maggi, I think it is a tricky business building the sandstone base (which was always part of the plan but it is higher now, of course). But the company which sold the house says they always do it that way. All it needs is a creative mason and they will instruct him by phone. Their word in God's ear - as we say over here  ;).
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on May 12, 2014, 08:46:05 AM
As I cannot at the moment solve the mason-problem I decided to get at least some of the landscaping done.

Once again it turned out to be a problem that I am - because of radiotherapy every morning - unable to be on site at 7 a.m. When I arrived on Friday morning the big pile of earth had been spread out towards the front of the garden. Not my plan at all! Needless to say I had told the boss of the hard gardening firm exactly what I wanted - but somehow the information was lost in transit.

Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on May 12, 2014, 09:02:46 AM
In the end the two chaps doing the work turned out to be very capable and willing. And though there is now more mud around than I wanted and though it isn't perfect considering there has to be some paving done in front of the shed, for the time being I am happy the way it is. they even managed to sow grass and roll it down before the big rain came.

The big chaenomeles, which covered about 4 square yards, has been removed, too. In the process we found piles of sandstone, part of a wire-mesh fence, several maimed garden gnomes - and the gravestone (including base) of a previous owner, deceased 1950.

In Germany you usually buy a grave for 20 years. And if you are not willing to pay for an extension of that period you are asked to remove the gravestone so the grave can be used by the next client. Obviously the previous owners felt that it would be a shame to throw away such an excellent stone - and right they were. It will be used somehow in the "final design"...

 


Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on November 04, 2014, 04:48:26 PM
I have sadly neglected my blogging duties - I was just so very busy over the summer (mostly with unpleasant things, alas...) Even resizing some photos was too much...

For those of you, who would like to get the rest of the story, I'll start where I left off. This is what the wee house looked like when we had finished hitching it up and when the piles of earth had been spread.

Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on November 04, 2014, 05:07:22 PM
Eventually I decided to give the hard-gardening-company - which was involved from the start - the building job. Amongst their employees they have a motley crew, mostly from Serbia, who are good masons and bricklayers.

The company I bought the house from had delivered a lot of yellow sandstones for the base of the house. However, as red sandstone is typical of our region, I asked the builders to add some red stones.

First of all they built the sides below the framework ring of beams and - when the cement had set - they knocked away the supports in the corners. It worked surprisingly well and the roof stayed up.  ;) Between the top layer of stones and the beams they inserted tar paper (do you call it that???), in order to prevent moisture from the ground creeping up into the wood.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on November 04, 2014, 05:20:15 PM
On the southern side of the house, the sandstone wall is higher. Stupid me had thought of having a raised bed here. Quite out of the question as the roof would projects so far that any raised bed would not have had any rain. I decided to eventually place an old bench here.

To make the wall less boring I asked the builders to allow two stones to project, so I could put something on them. I also asked them not to make the wall too regular - I wanted an "old" look.  (The lady in the green trousers is - by the way 65 years old and has worked for the company for 30 years.)

Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on November 04, 2014, 05:33:54 PM
The sandstone base of the house was finished. As you will guess from the buckets, I had a problem with the rain water. Until I found a solution for this problem I attached temporary downpipes.

Although I realise the house will - without any particular care - I decided to give the wooden parts a dose of linseed oil. It costs an arm and a leg, but I am convinced there is nothing better to keep wood happy. It needs 20 C in order to dry satisfactorily, however.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on November 04, 2014, 05:37:08 PM
Here is the temporary drainpipe...
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on November 04, 2014, 05:47:53 PM
Still rather an airy affair - the brickwork is still missing. And look at the floor inside! Fortunately we remembered to have an empty pipe built in at the base of the wall (guess who thought of it - yes, my husband...) in order to be able to get electricity into the wee house.

The inside of the sandstone walls looks pretty rough. Eventually they did something about that - but the outside is definitely better looking.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: brianw on November 04, 2014, 05:59:34 PM
Buildings with a large overhang may sometimes use vertical chains instead of down pipes. The RHS Rosemoor restuarant does if I remember correctly. A bit splashy in heavy rain but fine otherwise.
Great building.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Maggi Young on November 04, 2014, 06:51:59 PM
I love your garden house, Anne - it should have beautiful fairies living in it!

Vojtech Holubec's Czech house  has chains as Brian describes - will try to find a photo. 
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on November 04, 2014, 08:07:45 PM
Thank you, Maggi, I,d like a few fairies!  :) Maybe they could help with the weeds...
Rainchain: great minds think alike. That is the solution I eventually thought of, too. Particularly since the gutter-problem still hasn't been solved. The roofer didn't send a bill yet, either....  8)

Before the wonderful brick-layer, Ayan, could start on filling in the framework, we had to nail triangular wooden cleats (do you call them that???) to the beams. We were told to do that so the brickwork can't fall out if the framework moves with the weather and humidity. It was my job to measure and cut the wood, my husband nailed it to the beams.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on November 04, 2014, 08:26:50 PM
Our wonderful bricklayer, Ayan, has filled the first frame. The brickwork protrudes about 0,5 cm from the framework so - theoretically - the rain drips off and doesn't puddle on the beams.
Because he had to cut many bricks and was a bit of an artist, Ayan only managed 1,5 frames per day. But eventually - with a little help from his friends - the brickwork was finished. (Ayan alone would have mixed the colours of the bricks better - but I don't want to be finicky...)
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Brian Ellis on November 05, 2014, 09:04:04 AM
Wow, how wonderful does that look?  We will all want one now ;D  A marvellous job has been done by everyone and I am sure you are inordinately happy with the result, it looks smashing.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Julia on November 05, 2014, 10:42:47 AM
We have a building with a chain as the down pipe and it works very well.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Jan Tholhuijsen on November 05, 2014, 12:02:47 PM
Read the whole topic, thanks for sharing with us, it was very instructive, and beautiful,
I look forward to the next posts.
Best regards Jan
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Maggi Young on November 05, 2014, 12:51:26 PM
Well done Julia - I'd forgotten about the chains on the Douglas Pavilion in the Explorers' Garden.

I can't find a good photo of the Holubec house    :-[ :-\

Anne, I think this is the nicest garden building I have seen - I know it has been  lot of work, but I really think it was worth it.   8)
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Julia on November 05, 2014, 02:41:51 PM
And the chain works with snow and ice  :)
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: johnw on November 05, 2014, 03:05:18 PM
Even works in this climate.

johnw
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on November 05, 2014, 06:37:58 PM
Thank you so much, Brian! It has been a great project and has given me (together with the garden) great joy and happiness in difficult times. (Mind you - I think I wouldn't have started it had I realised how much work was involved.

Julia: A lovely building! I have just spent a pleasant half hour on the website of the Explorers' Garden. What a beautiful place! It has been too long since I was in Scotland...

Lovely garden, John! Your and Julia's rainchain photos make me think I made the right decision.

Well - here is the (preliminary) end of the story:
The floor of the house was a real mess, but after a ton of brocken rock had been tipped in and flattened by one of those vibrating machines it looked better. I decided to have the old bricks layed out in a herringbone pattern. Again, many of the bricks had to be cut to fit.

As the door opens to the outside my helpful builders suggested laying down a large sandstone slab. Excellent idea.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on November 05, 2014, 06:49:33 PM
The inside wall looks a bit better after the men chipped away at it a bit. And the floor is finished.
But the rainchain is still missing....
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on November 05, 2014, 07:06:33 PM
A few years ago I was charmed by the rainchains I saw in Zen Temples in Kyoto. I looked for simple forms of this but didn't find any I liked in Europe. But I found just what I was looking for in the USA, thanks to the internet! It took a few months and I had some hassle with customs but eventually got my rainchains. (I know - totally mad and crazy...) - The only thing I was disappointed about was the fact that the box said "made in India". And I had thought to support American industry...

Maybe a bit too exotic - but I like it.

My great-grandfather's green bench has found a place between the jutting stones and various gardening paraphernalia are finding their way...
The vine is conquering the back of the house and I am thinking of doubling it up next year. It is an east wall so not perfect for grapes but we'll see. Drosophila suzukii will probably destroy the harvest anyway  :-\
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on November 05, 2014, 07:20:53 PM
On that last photo you can see that I have not yet managed to put linseed oil on all the beams and on the boards of the gable... Work for next year.

Now I nagged my poor husband about the electricity. He led an underground cable into the house, attached many yards of empty tubes to the beams and eventually wired the whole place with lights, sockets and switches galore, bless him. Goodness knows what we need a three phase current socket for... Physicists...

Not beautiful but very functional.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on November 05, 2014, 07:30:09 PM
I wanted some lighting on the outside of the wee house, too. I spent a lot of time searching for the right lamps. I felt lanterns would be a bit too quaint, so eventually I decided on traditional farmyard lamps. The copper will quickly acquire a dull patina, I hope.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Yann on November 05, 2014, 07:33:13 PM
topnoch building, lot's of technical skills for building it.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on November 05, 2014, 07:45:05 PM
That's it, folks.
I end with some photos of rooms to let. I hope to share the wee house with a lot of winged creatures next year.

(The last photo shows an old milk churn filled with cardboard tubes for wild bees - Osmia bicornis. As a child I used to be sent to the next farmer with this churn to get fresh milk. Unpasteurised - good stuff...)
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: brianw on November 05, 2014, 10:16:53 PM
Not being that familiar with copper gutters, check how it might react with an iron chain, as regards corrosion. I would hate to see the gutter corroding away first rather than the chain. The rain water is soft and probably acid so corrosion may be a problem. Probably the wrong thing to say here but plastic chains look quite real and weigh considerably less as regards being supported.
Going back a bit in the construction. When we reroofed our old house in ~1970 we took off tiles that were fixed with oak pegs and laid on straw, by then well rotted. You should have seen the mess on the ceiling below as we removed them. Traditionally (more recent times) Scottish roofs had boards under the tiles and English tarred paper/felt, now replaced by vapour permeable fabric membrane. How things change?
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on November 06, 2014, 08:04:40 AM
I think you are right about iron and copper - they do react. However, the rainchain as well as the gutter are made of copper, so it should be ok.

Interesting about the straw... I guess it will rot and make a mess eventually. And the roof will become more "airy". I'll think about that problem when it comes.
Roof construction has come a long way. Over here they they propagate new ways of doing it "properly" regularly... Keeps the roofers in business.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: mark smyth on November 06, 2014, 11:30:11 AM
What a fantastic thread - I only just read it today

Rain Chain on ebay.co.uk http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Single-Metal-Rain-Chain-Bucket-Design-Copper-Plated-1-8m-or-Buy-2-for-a-Discount-/251689055131?pt=UK_HomeGarden_Garden_PondsWaterFeatures_UK&var=&hash=item3a99d6339b (http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Single-Metal-Rain-Chain-Bucket-Design-Copper-Plated-1-8m-or-Buy-2-for-a-Discount-/251689055131?pt=UK_HomeGarden_Garden_PondsWaterFeatures_UK&var=&hash=item3a99d6339b)

Mason bees are great to have. I can't wait for mine to hatch in April
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: chasw on November 06, 2014, 01:05:12 PM
Absolutely amazing would love one like that
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: brianw on November 06, 2014, 09:44:40 PM
Looks fine. The copper plating will go to green, but presumably the iron underneath will then start to rust as usual. Wonder how long it lasts, the colour you want is presumably green.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: vivienne Condon on November 06, 2014, 10:17:41 PM
How fantastic I think I will grow wings and then I might be allowed to visit. Just loved this whole construction felt your frustration with builders it must be world wide. Thank you for sharing your journey Viv
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on November 07, 2014, 08:22:24 AM
Yep, the copper will go green, Brian, but there won't be rust as all the copper used is pure copper, not copper-plating. Which worries me a little as (so far) I do not live on site. There is a lot of copper-theft around.

Vivienne:  :) you can come visit even without wings. Gardeners are always welcome.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on January 03, 2016, 06:48:21 PM
Just in case you are wondering what became of my wee house... (photo 1)

After the last winter it turned out that the front of the house (incl. the door) was splattered with mud from the winter storms. Because of this and as I enjoyed sitting in front of the house I decided a little terrace would be nice. The chaps from the hard gardening firm were asked to remove earth (about 40 cm deep) where the terrace was to go (photo 2).

Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on January 03, 2016, 06:50:24 PM
Then they put in a row of porphyry cobble stones to mark the edge of the terrace and to line the pit where the water from the roof is to trickle away. They founded this row of cobble-stones in concrete. The area of the terrace was then filled with rough gravel which was stamped down with a machine. Then a layer of fine gravel was put on top. The gravel looks dark around the edges of the terrace because I cleaned the cement off the cobble-stones with water.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on January 03, 2016, 07:03:28 PM
As I didn't want to buy more paving material than absolutely necessary, I used stuff that was lying around or which I could have for nothing from friends. The only paving material I bought was the sandstone. Material: Porphyry cobble stones, porphyry slabs, sandstone slabs, old sandstone cobblee stones, old paving bricks, new paving bricks.

My friend Iris Ney (known to some of you from Galanthours she organises from Germany) is an excellent garden designer and very good at paving! The two of us paved the terrace in about 3 days - Iris doing the important work (photo 1) and myself doing the less creative jobs as carrying sand and stones. We both had aching bones after the job was completed (photo 2).

Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on January 03, 2016, 07:07:18 PM
Once the dust is washed off the colours of the different materials emerge (photo 1)

The curve around the drainage pit was Iris' excellent idea - we had managed to get hold of some porphyry slabs with rounded edges (photo 2)
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: ashley on January 03, 2016, 09:09:31 PM
A lovely design and beautiful work.  Enjoy it Anne.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on January 03, 2016, 09:25:08 PM
Thank you, Ashley, I do!
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Brian Ellis on January 03, 2016, 10:19:34 PM
It really is lovely Anne, and well done to Iris too, no doubt there will be some lovely snowdrops added :D
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on January 04, 2016, 08:51:41 AM
 :) How did you know, Brian?
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Brian Ellis on January 04, 2016, 09:12:46 AM
Of course that makes it more than perfect ;D ;D
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Tim Ingram on January 04, 2016, 10:08:55 AM
Beautiful work by Iris - we had a really delightful time showing a group of gardeners in a trip she had organised around our garden. We have plans for a new 'potting' shed but I doubt it will be as marvellous as this! (Graham Gough at Marchants does have what he and Lucy call a 'potting palace' so some good ideas to draw from  :))
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Matt T on January 04, 2016, 10:22:27 AM
Fantastic work, Anne! The terrace sets off the shed nicely and will be a lovely place to sit out.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on January 04, 2016, 12:11:35 PM
Thank you, Matt and Tim - and yes, Iris is quite an artist. I'll be on "Galanthour" with her again in February. Maybe I'll see some of you at Shaftesbury.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Maggi Young on June 28, 2016, 09:39:52 PM
An up to date photo of Anne's ( Bolinopsis')  "shed"

[attachimg=1]
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Anne Repnow on June 29, 2016, 09:16:20 AM
I am particularly happy that birds and bees have accepted the shed: a couple of great tits nests in the box under the gable and there is a nest of black redstarts under the roof. And wild bees are populating the nesting places I hid in various places.
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Maggi Young on October 30, 2017, 03:38:02 PM
I thought readers might be interested in this view of Anne's  "shed" in its setting  now .....

[attachimg=1]
 - lovely, isn't it?
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Matt T on October 30, 2017, 03:59:21 PM
Wow! Looks like it has always been there!
Title: Re: Construction of a historic gardening shed
Post by: Maggi Young on July 03, 2019, 01:38:01 PM
This year's recent photo of the  garden by  Anne's  shed .... lovely  display, isn't it?

[attachimg=1]

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