So I’ve been waiting on my trailer for a while now. I had figured that organising the trailer would be the first step in the project but I’m quickly learning that my idea of how this whole thing will progress is pretty superficial. For every step I recognise (buy trailer, pick it up, build house) there seem to be about fifty unanticipated steps in between. I know it’s naive and seems pretty obvious to some people, but as a total novice I suppose you have to start somewhere!
Anyway, while waiting for the trailer, I had to organise somewhere to put it. I thought I’d mostly taken care of that with clearing and levelling the site…until it rained. Then I found out just what my sister and bro in law had meant when they said there was bit of a ‘wet patch’ in my corner of the block. By wet patch, it turns out they meant that every block within a 5 km radius seems to be directing its drainage to my tiny house site. The bobcat came in a few weeks ago to clear it before we’d had any rain at all and the place was still a slushy muddy mess when he left. We decided the only way to go would be to dig a drain to redirect some of the water and to have some crushed rock delivered to the site.
To be quite honest I hadn’t really anticipated the cost of having to hire machinery to come in and set up the site and still have a few jobs that need a bobcat. I chose to try and dig the drain by hand to at least minimise the hours I’ll be paying for. I’ll do another post on costs so far, so you can see what I mean. Thankfully, Dad was feeling as optimistic (read deluded?) as I was and agreed to help me out with digging the drain trench. Nothing like a bit of brutal manual labour as a bonding experience, right?
All in all, it was an exhausting day and there’s no way I could’ve done it on my own. Would I say it was worth the money I saved? Hard to know.
IF the drain works as intended, then I’ll be totally satisfied and won’t regret the time we spent digging. If it doesn’t…well I’ll probably just cry. I’ll keep you posted on that.
So, for future reference here’s what I learnt about putting in drainage:
- Turns out there are different sizes of aggi pipe. To avoid looking like an idiot, it’s probably advisable to know that before you go to the garden supplies shop and tell them you’re putting a drain in. We went for ‘donkey dick’ (try ordering that in front of your dad and not feeling weird??) which is apparently what the black flexible slotted pipe is called. I can’t remember what diameter we went for in the end. Useful, huh? Advice since installing it is that 90mm slotted pipe is a better bet, it lasts longer and doesn’t get clogged up like the ag pipe can.
- Trench should be approx 500-700mm deep and needs to slope down so the water runs away from your site – obviously. Once the trench is dug you lay scoria or gravel down for the pipe to lay on, and backfill on top of the pipe. Another thing I had no idea about – how much rock to order. We went with 1 cubic metre of scoria rock (I want to say 50mm rock??) and that filled Dad’s entire ute tray! It’s a bit of a reality check to realise how little I know about general practical things like this. (Hard not to take it as a hit to the ego when people are talking over your head about things that are clearly common sense to them and that I’ve never had to consider before. I wonder if I’m more sensitive to that as a woman, working with men? Anyway that’s a whole different story.)
- Most of the instructions I’ve read on the internet recommend covering your pipe with some kind of sock or cloth to prevent the pipe clogging up with silt. We didn’t do this. I can’t remember why, but Dad didn’t seem too fussed by it. I kinda wish we had, for peace of mind. We did cover the end of the pipe to stop it filling with dirt/rock/other surprises.
- Again, this seems obvious, but having different sized shovels and a variety of tools is bit of a lifesaver. We had about five shovels between the two of us, a mattock and even got the crowbar out at one stage! Small heavy shovels are good for breaking up the earth, small light ones are better for heaving muck from the trench. Crowbars are flipping heavy.
- Turns out yabbies are weeeeiirrdd looking things. The ground was so wet I dug up about three over the course of the day. Teehee!