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Back To Basics

Episode 10


BACK GARDEN

Lawn care        
If you need to change your lawn or you are considering a new lawn, it might be worth your while to get a turf care specialist around to give you a bit of insight.

Re-turfing can be costly so it's important you get it right the first time. You can usually get a consultation for around a hundred bucks.

The most important thing with new turf is after care, fertilising and spraying.  Regular mowing and watering are your key elements to maintaining a beautiful healthy lawn.

Maintenance
- Immediately after the tuft is laid, water to saturation point. Thereafter keep moist until established. This will take approx. 14-20 days.
- It is preferable to apply water either in the mornings or evenings, rather than during the day so not to scorch the grass.
- Mow frequently initially, at 50mm, during the established phase at the highest setting on your mower to avoid scalping. Thereafter mow every 5-6 days at no lower than 35mm. Once the turf is established normal mowing can continue at a height of 25mm. And always use a catcher so to avoid decomposing.
- Apply fertiliser every 10-12 weeks at 25grams/m2
- The lawn may require spraying for broadleaf weeds on a bi-annual basis.

Sewing lawn
If you would prefer to sew your own lawn the key points for sewing a good lawn are:
- A well cultivated and compacted topsoil with preferably two to three mils of light fluffy stuff on top so that you can move it around with a rake or a screed while you are putting the seed on.
- Make sure you go to your turf expert and get quality certified seed don't get bargain basement stuff because like most things in life you get what you pay for.
- For even coverage when sewing a lawn split your seed in two, sprinkle the first half in one direction and rake in, then sprinkle the remaining seed in the opposite direction.

Gardenia  - veitchii
If I had to choose one plant to grow for the rest of my life Gardenia would probably be the one I would choose.  It has incredible glossy green foliage followed by perfect rose like white scented blooms and the fragrance is stunning.  I am going to plant the Gardenia - veitchii, which in my opinion is the best hybrid to grow, it has a really compact form and it repeat flowers all through out the summer months unlike regular gardenias which you are lucky to get one flowering out of.  I'm planting them right beside the deck, that way visitors to my garden can enjoy the fragrance all summer long.

They like a rich well-drained soil slightly acidic.  They don't like to be in strong winds they like to be in a hot northward facing position.  The key thing is to keep them fed and don't let them dry out.  Gardenias will let you know when they are starting to dry out they will loose the colour in their leaves and loose their sheen.  The other thing is give them a trim every now and again, take about a third off of them once a year.  That way you will keep them looking perfect.

Magnolia grandiflora - little gem
I chose evergreen magnolias to screen out the garage.  They are a hybrid called little gem, it's a perfect spot for them.  I'm going to clip them and keep them well compacted so they block out the shed.  The plant size I am using will cost you anywhere between one to two hundred dollars but in my mind it is a lot cheaper option than replacing the garage.

MAIN BATHROOM

Building consent
Building consent is only required when you are moving the plumbing work or
white ware.

Demolition
It can be a DIY job but because of the inconvenience of not having a bathroom I would recommend getting in (if you have the budget) under normal circumstances chippies, plasters, tilers, plumbers and electricians.

Materials
You will require new materials in your bathroom. It's important to use the right materials and when choosing, don't base your decision on price but rather on longevity. This will have a huge impact on the resell value of your house and maintenance.

Materials required for the bathroom
- Tile and slate for the floor
- Villa board for the walls
- Aqualine because it is a wet area

Replacing floor
Remove all floor cover / timber and check for rot and replace if necessary. We are going to use 18mm tanalised ply, which is left over from the porch.

Rot
You will be able to tell if you have rot in your floorboards by looking under the house. There will be no structure, there may be a spring in your floorboards and the timber will crumble in your hand.

- If you discover rot, you will have to cut it out until you reach sound wood and then replace it.

Rotting vegetation - mould and similar natural oxidation processes may lead to an oxygen-deficient atmosphere inside the space you are working in. You must have adequate ventilation to this area, by opening a window or door.
When handling or removing, rot or black mould you should wear a mask and gloves.

Bathroom floor
When putting down your particleboard there is one side that is sealed and it's clearly marked 'this side to joist'. Make sure this side goes down because it protects it from the elements. Any off cuts you should mark which is the down side.
When fixing particleboard use screws or groove nails.
Space them at a minimum of 150mm around the edge.

Tile and slate
Tile and slate is a cement-based product. We have to put this down before we can tile the bathroom. Tile and slate has marks on it where you need to put nails, it is ultra rigid so won't twist or buckle your tiles.
Tile and slate goes down on top of your particleboard and is easy enough to cut using a tungsten blade or even a nail. All you need to do is score a line where you want the tile and slate to break and then snap it along the scribed line.

Primer
Primer consists of 50% membrane and 50% water; it is just like an undercoat you would use for your floor or walls.
Give it a good mix and then apply to your floor before waterproofing.

Flooring options - benefits of each
Ceramic or Porcelain tiles - Very clean look, very serviceable, but cold underfoot and not sympathetic to falling objects! Vast range of prices, colours, sizes and styles and can save you money by laying them yourself.

Vinyl or Linoleum - Vinyl is thought to be a cheaper option, but the best vinyl work's out quite expensive, especially when the labour cost is included, as it is hard to lay to a professional result. Again, there are many different colours and qualities available.

Timber - Lovely, natural look and feel, but not as serviceable in a wet area, although there are some well sealed options available. There is a large range of prices and finishes available.

Tiled shower base and wall:
- In the main bathroom we are having a tiled shower base and wall, you must use villa board on the walls and waterproof to a specific height.
- The shower floor needs to set on an angle to obtain water run off which is a very time consuming process. You will need to mark shower base out in position to be placed and obtain an equal fall to the waste trap, which in our case is the centre. Allow for the waste trap in the middle. Tile and slate area over and then waterproof it.
- The better the preparation work, the easier it is for the tiler to create desired look.

Waterproofing membrane
Because we are having a seamless entry level frameless glass tiled shower, it is crucial to have the essential waterproofing product to seal the structure from the water. It is a specialist trade, use an accredited applicator, your bathroom depends on the waterproofing being done right.
Waterproofing should be applied in accordance with relevant standards and written instructions supplied with your waterproofing product. Your waterproofing will need to be inspected by your Building Inspector, once dried, or a Producers report supplied.

Waterproofing wet area floors (bathroom or laundries etc.)
- You will need to apply 2x coats of Liquid Flash II to area
With a minimum thickness of 1.2mm
- Waterproofing applied below or above the screed
- Apply 100mm up the wall & hob
- Allow 3-4 hours between coats

Waterproofing showers
Waterproof 1.8m up the wall and 1.5m in a horizontal radius from the rose. (Waterproofing is ceased at shower, when screen is provided)

Plastering
Plastering is quite an art in order to get finished but if you have the time and you want to give it a go here are a few pointers.
When you join sheets of plasterboard it's important to ensure a flush finish so there will be no visible joins once plastering is complete.
Apply first coat of jointing compound to the join using a 150mm knife. Apply joint paper scarping the knife along the join to embed the paper into the plaster. Apply a skim coat of plaster over the tape trying to get it as smooth as you can and make sure it's completely covered. Allow to dry. Apply a second, wider coat to fill any recesses. Feather the edges and allow to dry. Apply a top coat to finish. Feather the edges at least 50mm wider than the previous coat and allow to dry. Lightly sand and brush off residue of dust with a soft, clean brush.

Follow the instructions on the back of pack.
Mix to a creamy consistency
Your plaster, once mixed, will be workable for about 90mins before it starts to dry out.
Spread plaster on slowly and then bring your trowel down nice and easy
Always use paper tape, as it will give you a nice finish.

To check your work has a good finish, shine a halogen lamp, or similar, along the plaster. This will show up any imperfections. Marl them with a light pencil and use your finish plaster to go over them. Allow to dry and sand lightly as before.

Check until you are 100% happy, then, when you paint it... oo lala! Stand back and admire a job well done!


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