Our dream is to be totally 'off the grid'

Nadine MayStarred Page By Nadine May, 21st Jan 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1z3gega0/
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Urban Living

During the time, while waiting for the home plans for renovations to be passed, we did a lot of plot clearing in the back garden, including the preparations for a grey water system.

Designing a grey water system and a layout for collecting rain water

Water in summer time in Cape Town is a major problem if you want to have a nice garden. Our dream one day is to be totally off the grid, so we needed to make sure that our landscaping included the layout for collecting both rain water and a grey water system. That meant making sure we could store rainwater during the rainy season in wintertime, and collecting water from our bathroom, showers and our kitchen sink during the whole year.
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Building of the first pond

In order to collect as much rainwater as we could during the rainy season, we created many smallish collecting ponds that fitted into the garden landscape in our back garden.
We discovered many big rocks when clearing the sloping plot. We used them to guide the falling rain.

Before and After

Our first pond was built on the second level of the property. Two amazing workers, Cornelius and Savious followed my idea. The old crumbling walls had to be replaced with a new wall from the rocks found on the property.

The Second Pond

While we were landscaping the picnic area on the second level of the property, the pipes that would direct the rainwater from the second pond to the first pond had to be buried under that picnic spot.
The hole in the wall to the difficult neighbor's property had to be closed. It was going to be the backdrop to our second pond, so I wanted it to blend in with the new wall needed because we found that the existing wall was about to collapse after we had cleared the plot of all the ivy.

Before and After

The second pond was built on the third level of the property. The rock wall behind the second pond is fake. I had sculptured rock walls before in a garden that had no rocks at all, so that came in handy.

Building a stone pathway

The pathways on the property were landscaped with the rocks we found while clearing the plot, and we built the steps to look like river beds. When the rain runs over the steps, the vivid colors of the natural stones and pebbles make for a fairy tale landscape.
When the garden was taking shape it inspired me to build just that, a fairy garden with an open air castle, a Wendy house cottage and a sand pit for our grandchildren. At least that is what I told myself. The real reason was that by creating this fairy garden I reminded myself that what we can visualize and fantasize, we can make real.

Before and After

A new pathway next to the main home. The pathway is running from its own entrance at street side of our property all the way up past the first, second third and fourth pond up to Titanya's cottage.

The Third and Fourth Pond

Now the two ponds near the cottage had to be created to cater for the overflow from a rain water tank under the deck of the cottage.
The pathway past the new picnic area would lead to the entrance to Titanya's cottage, so we incorporated some wood next to the paving to make it wider.
We used broken second hand bricks for the paving. Some came from the walls we had removed inside the house.

Before and After

The third and fourth pond was also built on the third level of the property. The overflow from the rainwater tank under the cottage, would also flow eventually into all four ponds. Each pond has an electric submersible pump in order to create a waterfall feature in each and help with the flow of the water.

The Gazebo for the Picnic setting

Now that we had a seating spot something was missing. On one of our trips to town we drove past a thatched roof garden furniture company and knew immediately what was missing. We negotiated with the man who made them to come to our place to see if he could build a similar seating arrangement to the drawing I had already made. I learned by now that whatever I visualized in my mind I had to put onto paper for others to see.

Gazobo before and after

It has become a perfect spot to have breakfast or lunch in summer and winter. The cottage is an income producing aspect for us so the picnic spot is more used by families who hire the cottage. One can still see the sea from there since it has been raised up for that purpose. Children especially enjoy this area as it has a magical feel to it.

The water tanks we used to install the rain and grey water system

The underground tanks are buried on the first level of our property. One is for the collection of rain water from the roof and one is for the grey water from our bathrooms. Both have submersible pumps that automatically pump the water up to the very top of our property, 15 meters higher. One rainwater tank is for the cottage roof that still had to be build.
Looking back at the work that went into it to get it to how it is today is proof for us that lots can be done and it does not necessarily have to cost a fortune if you become your own landscaper and work closely with your renovation crew.
The house and cottage plans had now been passed so we would be in for more ‘mortar attacks; see my page on Home Renovations

Tags

Gardening, Greywater, Landscaping, Picknic, Plant Material, Plants, Rainwater, Rocks And Minerals, Water-Tenks

Meet the author

author avatar Nadine May
I'm a novelist but think in pictures. I Love innovative design, graphics, art & crafts
If you like to read paranormal- visionary fiction - Find me at: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003ZWLLOE

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Comments

author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
22nd Jan 2014 (#)

Nice post!

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author avatar Nadine May
22nd Jan 2014 (#)

Thank you Fran

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author avatar Connie McKinney
22nd Jan 2014 (#)

What a great job you did. It's great to see people being environmentally conscious as you are. And by the way, welcome to Wikinut. Hope you enjoy it here.

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author avatar Nadine May
22nd Jan 2014 (#)

Hi Connie thank you for your comment. I soon will try to add some more pages.

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author avatar Kingwell
30th Jan 2014 (#)

Good post and I like the pictures.

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author avatar Nadine May
30th Jan 2014 (#)

Glad you liked the photos. I think in pictures, so my articles must reflect the words in a visual manner.

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author avatar Nadine May
30th Jan 2014 (#)

Glad you liked the photos. I think in pictures, so my articles must reflect the words in a visual manner.

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