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This is Part 2 of our Garden Revamp project, part 1 can be found here, which I’ve forgotten to include the original design done by Haze on Sketch Up, it is now included in this post.

Garden Revamp Plan
Garden Revamp Plan

We followed the design quite accurately, with the only difference being omission of the climber fence on the right bottom corner. We ended up planting kantan flower, lengkuas, and lemongrass on that particular plot, which does not warrant a climber fence.

building the water planter, aggregates, sand, cement
building the water planter, aggregates, sand, cement

By far, the most difficult part of the project involved building the water planter, which serves three purposes:

  • filtration system for the koi pond
  • planter for water plants such as lily, lotus, kangkung etc.
  • pond for edible fish (tilapia, soon hock)

We made some rough measurements on the red bricks, aggregate, cement, sand, wood, and BRC needed for the planter and went to the nearby hardware store to get the goods.

the second layer is a bit trickier
the second layer is a bit trickier

Concrete work started on the 8/5/2016 in the evening. It turned out to be quite an unfortunate timing as you must complete concrete pouring in one go, it started raining heavily half way through and gotten dark, we ended up working till past 10pm to get it done. Thankfully that was possible partly due to the lights we had bought for Mount Kinabalu hiking trip.

After the foundation is done, we built up the perimeter with red bricks and cement (1 part cement, 3 part sand mix). We’ve also added some pipings for water inlet (1.5″) & outlets (2 x 2″).

waterproofing turns out to be quite a challenge, we used Sika
waterproofing turns out to be quite a challenge, we used Sika

To make the upper level of the planter, I laid out bricks to support the wooden mould and did the same concrete pour. Then it was another round of red bricks and cement.

The inside of the pond was done plastered with cement and then painted over with Sika waterproofing agent. Waterproofing took quite a number of iteration as our plastering job was quite corse and uneven, thanks to the lack of experience. Oh well.

Building the water planter took a month, but water proofing was another couple months since we took some time off in between.

holes for posts in preperation for climber plots
holes for posts in preparation for climber plots

While building the water planter, we also built some fencing for climbers.

The poles were actually 1″ water pipes sourced from local hardware store. We dug 1 feet deep holes and cemented the poles in with concrete. They turned out to be quite sturdy.

we procured galvanized fencing and repainted them black
we procured galvanized fencing and repainted them black

We then affixed galvanized fencing (with anti climb fence fixtures) by drilling some holes on the poles. The lesson learned here was on drill bits, always buy quality bits, I ended up spending so much effort drilling a couple holes with cheap bits while the more expensive Bosch bits did the job with ease.

We then painted the whole thing black to suit our color theme.

At this point the garden is some 80% done, awaiting piping & planting. Will update part 3 with a rough total material cost soon.

After successfully experimented with planting our own herbs and vegetable at home, we decided to actually have a garden that looks worthy of a house an artist live in. So earlier this year, Haze spent some time in coming up with a proper garden design, and we started our (eventually) 4 month long project on April this year.

While I showcased the new garden a little bit on this post, I thought having a series to properly document our journey would be nice.

grass removed, and design chalked on the ground
grass removed, and design chalked on the ground

Haze wanted the garden to look beautiful, while I wanted a design that include a big water planter to replace the current plastic koi pond filtration system, plus something that isn’t overly too complex to DIY. That took quite a few weeks.

After finally landed on a design that satisfied both of our requirements, we started ground work in early April.

Rich was kind enough to lend us a rotavator that made removing the grass and turning the soil over a much easier job.

After clearing the land, we used some chalk to draw up the plan on site and went upstairs to take the first look on how it’ll look like.

using red bricks to confirm our design
using red bricks to confirm our design

Next, we bought some red bricks and lay them on the ground according to the design, then we started by preparing a couple planting beds ahead of time since we had some plants in pots that needs a permanent home while the garden revamp is in progress.

laying irrigation piping
laying irrigation piping

Next was a crucial part which many gardeners fail to do – having proper irrigation system.

We buried the PVC pipes underground and made sure each planting bed has an outlet. This proved to be a great time saver and especially important if you’re not someone who’s going to be able to water the garden manually every single day.

Our watering system utilizes a timer so everything is done automatically once installed. I’ll end up channeling the water from fish pond to irrigate the garden.

stone pathway and planting beds
stone pathway and planting beds

Next up was laying pathways on the plot. For this we actually put down some landscape fabric to prevent possible erosion of soil and to attempt to slow down potential growth of weed on the pathway. We used gravel on the semi-circle side and later topped up with smaller yellow pebbles for aesthetics.

old railway sleepers as pathway
old railway sleepers as pathway

For the pathway leading to the deck, we procured some abandoned railway sleepers and cut them to size. This was done using a circular saw and had to be cut from bottom and top. We actually used some mahjong paper to make samples shapes and make sure everything lined up too.

This step was quite a laborious task considering how heavy these woods were, but at the end we were very happy with the results.

Upcoming part two I’ll share the concrete work on water planter as well as the climber’s structure of our garden.

We officially moved into our KEN Rimba home a little over a year ago after going through the obligatory renovation period putting in our own touches to dress up the house the way we wanted it. We bought the house after learning about the project via an engagement with the developer for this write up on Sustainable Living at KEN Rimba a few years back.

our (almost) completed garden as of Q4 2016
our (almost) completed garden as of Q4 2016

One of the reasons we chose a corner unit is that we had wanted to make full use of the additional land on the side. The photo above is how our almost completed (pending lights) garden looks like as of current.

If you remember my Grow Your Own Herbs and Vegetable post from earlier of the year, you’d have noticed that our garden looks quite a bit different since then.

we actually DIY the whole garden, designed by Haze
we actually DIY the whole garden, designed by Haze

The first version of the garden was a temporary solution. After a pretty long process of coming up with a design we both like, revamping was in progress by April.

We removed the grass, and started with putting in some railway sleepers as a curvy walking path to the pool area.

Then it was installation of power cables for lights later, and water piping for automatic irrigation system. Red bricks were used to mark the borders of walkways next.

building the water feature was the most labour intensive part
building the water feature was the most labour intensive part

Then we installed some posts and started building the water feature with red bricks and concrete. This is the part that took the longest and also most labour intensive.

Waterproofing it alone took weeks of trials and re-applying even more water proofing agent. Luckily we got it all sorted out, the installation serves as a water planter as well as the filter for our koi pond.

We then procured some galvanised fencing and installed them to let creepers a wall to climb. We then installed the piping for the water planter and it was complete!

The whole project took slightly over four months as we worked mostly only during weekends afternoon. Everything was done by myself and Haze with zero hired help.

making full use of the extra land we have of the corner unit
making full use of the extra land we have of the corner unit

We’re really happy on how it turns out, I think it’ll look much better at night when the lights are installed.

That’s how we utilised the 20 feet of land on the side. A pond, a pool, and now a proper garden.

corner unit with pool still available, always love the ambiance
corner unit with pool still available, always love the ambiance (Legian)

If you have your own 20 feet of land, what would you do with it?

The good news is, there are still corner units available at KEN Rimba, some of which comes with swimming pools as well.

Having a pool really gives the house that villa ambience, and it is also a pool that you don’t need to share with strangers.

master bedroom, guest room (ground), first room, 2nd room
master bedroom, guest room (ground), first room, 2nd room  (show unit)

The corner units also come with extra two feet’s width in built up compared to intermediate units. There are three rooms upstairs and one on the ground floor. Enough for a family of 7 comfortably if you really want to maximise bed space, or use one as a study, a guestroom, or like us, a game/AV room.

living & dining room from the staircase column
living & dining room from the staircase column (show unit)

Every unit also comes with green features such as rain water harvesting tank. For corner units, that comes in really handy in watering your garden. We used ours to keep the koi pond filled up with rain water instead of tap water. I’ve yet to get a water bill at KEN Rimba.

Landscaping around the neighbourhood is well kept and it’ll get even better when the trees grow taller/bigger.

pretty mature but quiet neighbourhood at Legian
pretty mature but quiet neighbourhood at Legian

around the KEN Rimba neighbourhood
around the KEN Rimba neighbourhood

green is in
green is in

The corner units are priced from less than a million ringgit, if you’re in the market for a new home, this is a place to check out.

Website: http://www.kenholdings.com.my
Facebookhttps://facebook.com/KEN.Greenbook
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SamCS10
Email: contact@kenholdings.com.my
Sales enquiries: 1300-22-9933

One of the perks of moving to our new places in Shah Alam is that being a corner unit,we have a bit of land for gardening, and since some of you have commented in my previous cooking posts wanting to take a peek at the garden, here it is!

our current garden, with only a strip of planting bed
our current garden, with only a strip of planting bed

The area that we currently set up for planting is basically a strip of land about 30 feet or so along the fence. We’ve set up a makeshift PVC roof of sort with certain part covered in clear plastic sheet for weather protection. The roof is also reinforced with wire mesh, which conveniently served as trellis for our long bean plant.

At the car porch, we also have an outdoor IKEA glass house that serves as a nursery for seedlings to protect them from the elements.

tiny capsicum, fig tree, white pepper, parsley & thyme
tiny capsicum, fig tree, white pepper, parsley & oregano

In these photos you may have noticed that there are some black pipes around the plants, this is the soaker pipes we set up for irrigation. Our irrigation timer (bought from mudah for RM 100) is set up to water the plants automagically twice everyday, which makes life easier when we aren’t home to keep the plants hydrated. Skipping watering a couple days can easily kill some of them.

long beans, way too much fruit from one plant
long bean, way too much fruit from one plant

For the planting plot, we actually had it dug out about a foot deep and amended it by adding a couple layers of organic chicken shit and compost. This was to make the plot more fertile and to looser, our original soil was hard and with too many stones in them.

rosemary, galangal, mint, basil
rosemary, galangal, mint, thyme, basil, oregano, lime

When planting, you do need to know the requirements for each of them, as they can be quite different. Some plants want to be in the shades, others like full sun light, and some wants to be soaked in water, but there are also those that likes the soil well drained.

kale, bayam, lettuce
kale, bayam, lettuce

For herbs we have the following:

  • oregano
  • thyme
  • mint
  • rosemary
  • basil
  • galanga
  • lemongrass

Vegetables/fruits:

  • bayam
  • lettuce
  • long bean
  • kale
  • radish (harvested)
  • capsicum
  • chili (upcoming)
  • lime
  • pegaga
  • fig
  • lychee (doubt this will actually fruit)

pegaga, basil, lemongrass, chili & flower plant seedlings
pegaga, basil, lemongrass, chili & flower plant seedlings

This garden should look very different in a few month’s time, as we are about ready to delete everything and redo the whole area with proper trellis, irrigation, a hydroponic element, and design that is more pleasing to the eyes. It’s gonna be quite a lot of work but it’s a project we’re looking forward to!

Get planting!