Preparing the Ground

Construction for our tiny house began in the spring of 2019. It was a hot year and our clay-filled garden was already baked into a solid concrete block.

Then there was the actual concrete; a grey slick that ran the length of the garden on one side, stepped to help you negotiate the two-metre elevation. There was also an apple tree that we wanted to save growing in exactly the spot that would eventually become the living room of our timber cabin.

Ever the fan of playing in the mud on the off-chance of discovering an interesting bug, I took on this task and spent tens of hours that spring dutifully excavating the root system of the seven year old apple tree. Next, I whiled away glorious hours smashing the concrete path up with a sledgehammer, heaving the massive chunks up the garden hill in a wheelbarrow to fill the skip in our driveway. We calculated that we must have moved something close to five metric tonnes. I calculated that I must have gained three kilos of lean muscle mass.

After having moved six tonnes up the hill, we proceeded to move six different tonnes back down the hill. This was hardcore, a biscuity mixture of sand and soft rocks that could be easily compacted by using a very fun very heavy vibrating plate. We would build the base on top of this.

We spent too many hours scouring Gumtree and Facebook market place looking for paving slabs. Eventually we found some. There was no photo but everybody knows what a paving slab is and the description stated there were 20 here for us., and he would even deliver them for an extra fiver. Excellent.

The delivery arrived at the appointed hour. Strangely, it seemed to be a truckload full of what closely resembled smashed up crazy-paving; dishearteningly similar to the stuff we had just gotten rid of. There was not one intact piece among them, some bits were no bigger than the size of your hand. These were not even distant cousins of the paving slab.

I did the only appropriate thing one can do in such a situation; paid the man, thanked him profusely, and apologized about living so ‘out of the way’. We live seven minutes outside of the city.

After securing some actual paving slabs, laying and tamping the hardcore, and supporting the perimeter of the 5×5 footprint with concrete, we were ready to begin constructing the base.



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