Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The site

I've spent the last week or so preparing the site for construction. I met with the property owner and we decided on a spot in his back yard and then I got to work clearing away some overgrowth. This is what the yard looked like before I started.
My house is going to be in the back left corner. Under the plants on either side of the yard there is a chain link fence. The plan is to replace that with a privacy fence during my construction. My house is going to take the place of the fence in the far corner.

The first step in getting the site ready was to cut down the growth on the fence. There were trees hanging over the fence and ivy, both poison and regular, growing through it. I cut all that away and dug up the roots. and here is what it looks like cleared out. You may also notice a sidewalk runing through the middle of the back yard. That is situated exactly where I would like to put one of my walls so I went to work busting up the walk way. Breaking concrete is surprisingly easy, assuming of course that you use the right tool, which by the way, is a sledge hammer. I started off with a pick axe and it did little more then shoot sparks and tiny rocks at my face.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

possible progress

Things are looking up; I have a meeting Thursday morning to go over the foundation and framing with someone who understands them, and I am hoping that this means that I will be able to start construction this weekend. That only puts me a little behind the plan; I want to have a finished house before school starts again in august.

I am renting land for this project from a friend of mine, so I will be meeting with him before the end of the week to go over the details of the lease. The plan that was discussed so far is that I will have use of the land and building for 6 months to a year and at the end of the term, the building will become his new shed. The land I am using is in the backyard of his house.

Monday, June 15, 2009


I was hoping to begin physical construction this week, but I am still stuck on some important details of the process. The foundation is a big issue right now. I have read about a variety of foundation styles and methods, but I do not feel confident about the foundation, support, and roof relationship.

I want to have a living roof. This means that there will be dirt and plants on the roof of my house, and it also means that the roof will be very very heavy. I fear that if the foundation and support for the roof are not done correctly, the roof will collapse.

I had assumed that I would just be able to read about how to build this house and then just build it and deal with the problems as they arise, but I am realizing that there are some aspects of this project that are going to require the input of an experienced builder. Trial and error does not seem like a safe way to build a roof.

At the moment, I have contacted a member of my school faculty with house building experience, and I am awaiting his response. I am hoping that he will look kindly on this project and help. If not, I will need to seek out other experts and find reliable consultation.