All the tile on the three front columns and on the two flying buttress columns at the carport are done! It took a lot of time and energy away from working on the habitability of the house, but we love the look and think it was worth the sidetrack. One of my goals in this project has been to not move into our new house when the nonessential exterior details are still an unfinished mess. Now one big item can get checked off the list. It has raised our spirits and the place is feeling a lot more like a home.
Here are a few photos of the carport columns. The first one shows the simple scaffolding I assembled so I could walk all around the column to install the tile and apply the grout. Also note in these photos that the bamboo shoots are planted in the now completely assembled pots that we built:
I like the view in the next photo; its finished elements are a teaser of what is to come for the rest of the house:
We plan to build a low planter between the columns in the next photo. It will be a great place to plant some mani (yellow flowering ornamental peanut). Mani is a low ground cover that requires very little care, is hardy, and will spill over the wall and add a nice splash of yellow when the plants are in bloom:
While I’ve been working on the tile, I’ve had Armando building a small stone wall around the garden. This will provide definition, keep the grass from invading the garden, and keep rain runoff water from eroding the garden:
Armando dug a small ditch about a foot wide, laid down a couple of inches of mortar, then placed rocks in the mortar. He lapped more mortar up and over the rocks then cleaned the rock faces with a wet sponge.
We also got a couple yards of black dirt and about ten big sacks of rice hulls. We mixed the rice hulls and the dirt together. This added a three inch layer of real dirt to our clay/sand topsoil. The plants are happier already:
One area between container 1 and the garden was particularly low, and the water would wash over the garden taking all our new topsoil down the mountain to the Pacific Ocean. A four-inch tube running under the garden and out a drainage hole in the fence took care of the problem:
Bonus photo: With the sun still shining, a thunder storm rises up the mountainside and over our ridge; the storm was upon us a few minutes later:
That’s all for now.