A concrete wall that wasn’t built in a day: Part 1

Seeing as I’ve been promising progress on our side garden for a while now, I thought I’d start with Part 1, just in case Part 2 doesn’t happen for a while longer…

This is a concrete wall that wasn’t built in a day. A bit like Rome, but on a whole different scale (oh really?).

Above is how things looked when we came to the open home. I’m pretty sure that garden bench and pot plant were just placed there for the duration of the “for sale” – what do you think?

Because (we think) houses look much better grounded by a garden at their feet, we decided to make a raised garden bed around the front and side of the house (we have yet to decide if we’ll do the same on the left hand side…we’ve done away with the sleepers there and it’s just sitting forlornly right now).

I don’t have any pictures of the noisy and messy process that was cutting away a strip of concrete at the front (that was prior to the start of this blog and I didn’t document every… single… thing… that… goes on here like I do now), but here you can see where we started to lay some blocks along the front and concrete them together with what was left over from the big pour.

Then with those blocks forming the foundation, Andre constructed this formwork:

And around the corner:

This is all back in April last year believe it or not. Then came the mixing of cement, builders mix and water:

And more mixing:

Until we had ourselves (a part of) a wall with a nasty piece of reinforcing steel sticking out. This photo was taken when I added the “lawn dirt” from under the clothesline – more on that here. You can also see how we sealed the inside of the wall with some paint-on bitumen (the black stuff – don’t ask me where to get it… I think you need to work for a construction company).

To round off (oh – a pun! So not intentional…) the end by the steps (more on the steps here) we built a little half wall. We tried a square version, but both liked the rounder version – it just looks a touch quirkier and much friendlier yes?

The concrete had to be coaxed in so we weren’t left with a whole lot of air bubbles and a crumbling wall. It did pour out the bottom of the formwork a bit, but not to worry – such messes will be covered with rich brown soil and lush green plants one day real soon.

Next up we sealed the wall with some kind of grout (this is a whole year ago remember so excuse the lack of detail):

Here’s where we came a little unstuck and find ourselves still going with this project a year on. We bought a pile more of these special narrow blocks, ready to stack ’em up down the side, but it got a bit tricky the further along we got, what with the slope of the drive and at the bottom end we were working with some interesting angles and existing patches of concrete that just made laying blocks a bit too much like “how the heck do we go about this?”


Cue Plan B around 10 months later – more formwork:

With a whole lot of reinforcing steel (we got a bit more pro this time with capping off the nasty exposed ends):

Getting there… nearly ready to get that concrete in (was I standing by saying “just hurry up and finish this!”? No, of course not…)

Looks quite serious doesn’t it? Apparently these big bolt things are the real deal, you might even see them next time you drive past the new bridge going up over Newmarket.

Yes! Concrete… it’s so good to see you, it’s been far too long!

Rather than have wifey on the job this time Andre opted for something a bit more grunty. (I’m ok with that actually.)

Halfway through there was a trip out to stock up on builders mix:

But all in all, before lunch last Saturday we had ourselves another piece of wall:

This Saturday we’ll be taking down that formwork to get a good look at it. But hopefully not for too long, because there’s one last piece to be getting on with:

The middle section. Andre assures me it’ll be the easiest (fastest?) because the corners are done, and he can just build the formwork off the walls already done. So here’s hoping Part 2 of this story is not another whole year away. Hope with me!

9 thoughts on “A concrete wall that wasn’t built in a day: Part 1

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