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The house with habitation

After being occupied by our selves these past  11 weeks the house at Beachmere has been customized.

That it's sand all the way down is a real plus as no water stays about even after the most rigorous torrents. 

But topsoil and the like is a bit of a problem when you have only sand at your feet. Since the front had been covered with bought in soil so that  a lawn could be grown , we've covered it all with stones so that the lawn can't grow.

 Stone gardening is  a Beachmere standard -- you bring in what is foreign to the place and exploit the contradiction. And stones over sand make a superb mulch that won't need endless topping up.

The back is being colonized by horse manure, topsoil pinched from the front and copious amounts of grass clippings (see pile in pic top right) delivered by a local mowing contractor. So slowly, a vegetable supply line is consolidating. 

All in 11 weeks. 

The bountiful rain fall has helped verdancy.

No problems except that I put my foot through the ceiling while laying down insulation.... DIY insulating is a bugger of a job  and I don't recommend the activity. Give me shovelling dirt any day.

I'm good at that.

Stones? Why stones?

If you are going to put together a garden ruled by native flora the whole question of water use is a key consideration. But obtaining mulches and over laying them  once each layer has broken down  is going to be either expensive or a practical challenge -- especially if you want to deploy collected organic mulches elsewhere to better effect. On top of that, who wants to mow?  I soon learnt that a flywheel push mower isn't the easiest device to cut grasses among trees. And a petrol driven power mower...no thanks. I hate them for personal use. You become a serf to the lawn of the manor.

So getting rid of the grass and replacing it with something that would not easily break down began to make a lot of (ecological and energy use) sense. Stones need to be pre crushed of course and delivered (I bought the cheapest aggregate: $68 per cubic metre) but we are not talking about the carbon footprint cement requires. Stones are also porous so there is no run off, nor mud either.

[Consider the carbon footprint of cement with the carbon footprint of  petrol mowing  the grass year in year out weekly or fortnightly with the carbon footprint of a crusher making the stones with the challenge of growing or collecting and upkeeping enough organic mulch to cover the whole area...]

Stones have a higher thermal mass as well  as heat refraction than organic mulch but as the bushes and trees grow that stored heat and radiation will be reduced by shading.Of course these same factors make them great mulch for plants during the heat.

The underlying plastic -- weed mat -- is not much more than what  a few visits to the supermarket would cause (and collecting enough cardboard or newspaper was beyond me for the surface area while I was doing just that for outback).

So 'stoning' the area began to make a lot of sense.

I'm going to have a 'hotter' summer out front because of the stored and reflected heat generated by the stones, but as the flora grows that will change and the stones will start storing other temperatures. I also hope that the stones will provide fewer niches for sandflies (or mosquitoes) which can be the bain of any wetland locality such as ours.


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