Majestic 40 at Gardener's Ridge

building a Wisdom Majestic in North Kellyville


Landscaping … The End is Nigh

The end of May saw our landscapers return after a slight hiatus whilst they created a show home garden at Oran Park. The irrigation people also turned up and installed a Hunter X-Core computerised system so it was all systems go.

GR May 2016 036

Meanwhile we bought a Dulux paint sprayer ready to use on the timber side fences when they are done. First up we practiced on the existing back fence where raw timber was exposed after it had settled. Next was the rendered letterbox and retaining wall which still needs a final coat of Dulux Weathershield in Hogs Bristle once all the landscaping is finished.

rendering collage

Rain Garden  

It is hard to believe that the huge pit is now a shallow depression thanks to the retaining wall and more layers of sand, gravel plus a top dressing of loam. I’ve put a lot of effort into making sure we abided by the guidelines but yet managed to have something both functional and interesting. Time will tell how successful I was.


  • Required dimensions from our Instrument 88B:
    • Area = 13.29m2
    • Volume = 1.89 m3
  • Batters: Height= 150mm, Width= 450mm
  • Separate new Outlet Pit as rain garden is now higher than the Inter-Allotment drainage pit
  • Surge pit 150mm lower than the new Outlet Pit
  • Total Depth minimum 800mm comprising of three layers:
    • Bottom layer of gravel minimum 150mm
    • Transition (middle) layer of fine sand minimum 100mm
    • Top layer of loamy sand mix minimum 400mm
  • Planting with at least 50% Carex, Sedge or Melaleuca
  • Mulch of river stone, basalt or sandstone

The layers of the rain garden make it resemble a layered cake:

three layered cake

[image from: zig-zags-over-the-rainbow-cake from]

With the extra layers to raise the height our rain garden now appears more like:

Betty Crocker six layer cake

[image from Betty Crocker:Betty Crocker Rainbow cake]

The garden has been scraped down 100mm, stones, bricks and builders rubbish removed and decent soil spread ready for the lawn of Sir Walter Buffalo turf. The Irrigation system is in with drip feed to the flower beds and pop up sprinkler heads for the lawns. The control box is installed in the garage and weather sensor will be installed once the fence is.

Enough talking here’s some progress photos:

The rain garden taking shape:

Rain Garden planting Collage

I enjoyed choosing the native plants at Plantmark and enjoyed it even more when the landscapers planted them for me 🙂

Rain Garden Planting:

Raingarden Planting Collage

[Plus Anigozanthos Bush Revolution, Ficinia nodosa and Xanthorrhoea glauca]

The 1.5m rear easement has been planted up with a mix of banksia, grevillea and callistemon (bottlebrush) which will eventually form a privacy hedge in case our neighbour’s bamboo hedge disappears. Hopefully these plants will also encourage the birds to visit from nearby Cattai Creek too.

Rear Easement Planting:

Rear Easement Planting Collage

Shaded side path planting of Philodendron:

Side Planting Collage

[standard and Philodendron ‘Gold Bullion’]


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[Xanthorrhoea johnsonii & Kangaroo Paw]

I’m pleased with how the rain garden and ‘river’ of lucky stones turned out:


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[Plenty of opportunities for shots of it in the rain at the moment…]

The last plant was in and I was off back to the UK an hour later, talk about cutting it fine. Fast forward a month and the fencers visited in my absence.

X marks the spot … or not.

Despite both a flag and the landscaper highlighting the irrigation pipe the fencers managed to put a post smack bang through the pipes. That turf is now well and truly watered in…

Fence looks good though and so far has stood up to some high winds.

Now I’m back and the landscapers have returned to edge the rain garden and roll the lawn. The gates are being made as I write and will be installed next week and then that is phase 2 of the landscaping complete.

Front, back and sides:

Not the first cut of the lawn but the finished photos  🙂


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GR Landscaping 05-07-16 004


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and sides:

GR Landscaping 05-07-16 007

[Austral Heron block retaining wall in ‘Limestone’]

GR Landscaping 08-07-16 005

GR Landscaping 08-07-16 007

[Now I have my Hills Hoist in the rain seems never ending…]

Phase 3 will be transforming this 6 metres wide lawn at the side into a lap pool and spa. No time frame on that yet, its not going to be in by the Summer of 2016 but hopefully by the following Summer.

Meanwhile back at the ranch …

Seven months on and PCI, Handover and Maintenance issues are still dragging on but whilst I was away the fire place was fixed and then Hubby painted it. He was tempted to follow our neighbour’s recommendation and paint it burgundy but used the Dulux ‘Gaiety Tan’ we’d previously agreed on.

GR Landscaping 09-07-16 005






Pre-Lining Inspection

I’m pleased to say our build is moving forward again.

Lower roof on

Lower roof complete except for the eaves

There has been lots of action on site:

Friday: Electrical rough in & cavity door frames put in

Saturday: Lower downpipes fitted

Monday: Gas fireplace fitted

gas fireplace

Jetmaster XLR Plus housing & horizontal side venting

Lined up for this week are the lower eaves being fitted, insulation fitted and the gyprock booked in from Friday.

On Monday our Site Supervisor invited us for a pre-lining inspection walk through with him. The purpose being to check all the electrical fittings were where we wanted them and to sort any issues before the gyprock was put up. We also took the opportunity to check all the air con vent placements, specify blocking and raise any other issues we had. We went armed with:

  • House Plans
  • Electrical plans
  • Air Con Plans
  • Kitchen Plans
  • Blocking plans
  • Room by room checklist

It was a very productive session as we came away feeling very positive about the build. There were a few little things inside to tweak but nothing major. Outside we still have to get Wisdom to rectify the rain garden. We gave the SS a very brief run down of why it is not compliant and I did volunteer to meet the plumber on site to discuss exactly how to rectify it  🙂  We are paying sweetly for it so we want it done properly.

Plus it was my first time upstairs – Yay! I was brave and climbed the ladder and enjoyed checking it all out. I was so busy concentrating on the stud walls and electrical items I forgot to check out the view from the front bedrooms. Fail!

Roll on September the 7th when the staircase gets fitted.

We took pictures of the stud walls to help with the fixing into the walls of pelmets, curtains, TV’s and pictures. The good news is that we don’t need to add additional blocking as the frames are more or less in the right place. Blocking or noggins being where the carpenters put extra pieces of timber in so you have something solid to screw into. The electricians had already added blocking for the TV in the Media room so we’re good to go. I shall contact the Admin department tomorrow to modify the amount they provisionally charged us for the blocking so they don’t forget 🙂

Next up will be our independent building inspector, Houspect, to carry out their pre-lining inspection for us.

plus New addition to the family

OK now that my father has fainted from shock I’d like to say I’m not pregnant. No new house, new baby here!

The coffee maker is the one with a new addition 🙂

Enter the Breville knock box in all its glory

Breville knock box






Apparently the chipped pyrex dish I gave to Mr Barista didn’t cut it and this is what was needed to complete his new family in the new kitchen. What is it for? You whack the ‘portafilter’ to empty the ‘puck’ out. Can you tell I’m learning the lingo?? I’ve been driven to learning the coffee vocabulary as eldest son insists on calling them coffee poops. I shall be saving all the ‘pucks’ as I understand that coffee grounds are good for the soil and ours is looking rather sad with all the building rubbish in it.  Coffee shops are normally happy to give them to gardeners for free but with the amount we get through I think I’ll have plenty for our neighbours too 🙂










Mythical Beast

Are you sitting comfortably as this is going to be a lengthy epistle….


[Griffin from]

No, I’ve not sighted a griffin but that other mythical beast, our final paperwork, arrived on Thursday 26th February.

The final bundle covered:

  • End Panel
  • Post Contract Variation
  • Construction Plans
  • Amended Progress Payments
  • Progress Claim Certificate

That’s a lot of pages to check, sign and scan.

Builders and Banks can have differing progress payment schedules but this is what Wisdom require:

5%   deposit on signing contract

25% due on completion of concrete slab

20% due on erection of frame and roof trusses

20% due on completion of brickwork

20% due on commencement of internal linings

10% due on practical completion


We had paid our 5% deposit way back last year but now we need to pay the difference between our contract price and the contract plus post contract variations price. There is a bit to pay as we have had a few post contract variations what with the split level and all….

Once all the final paperwork is signed and returned complete with remaining deposit then we are handed over to the Production Estimating Team. They are responsible for ordering everything required for the build from bricks and frames down to taps and door handles. They also order the famous portaloo and site fencing, site scrape etc. This takes 10 – 20 working days which will probably mean start of April for us.

Only one problem with the final paperwork and that was again our gas fire. The saga continues and it stretches back all the way to April 2014…

After our Tender presentation in April we asked Wisdom to quote us for a Jetmaster XLR plus gas fire which was to vent out the side of the wall rather than through the Colorbond roof.

Jetmaster XLR plus tonic front in stainless steel with pebbles

A variation was raised with a hefty Provisional Allowance (PA) as the price would be determined after our plans were drawn up. In September Wisdom came back with the price for it which came as a nice surprise as it was substantially less than the PA. The wording had been changed but we assumed that it still reflected what we had requested to be supplied so we signed off on it. First mistake – never assume.

Long story short – final Construction plans different to signed off plans – show wrong fireplace layout affecting house foot print – plans corrected – end panel received – query fireplace wording – realise incorrect flue used – Wisdom say cost more – need to go back to Estimating.

At which point my heart sank, there went signing off our final paperwork in February. So I contacted Jetmaster in Castle Hill to ask what the cost implication would be. Fantastic service from them, they contacted Wisdom as they supply to them and sorted it all out in a day with no price change. Result!

Final paperwork amended quickly and ready to sign off. Printer dies – cheers! Quick trip to Office Works, sign and scan,  send back to Wisdom and to the Bank. Start to chill bubbles to celebrate – job done – signed off. Hold that thought don’t pop the cork just yet….

Wisdom contact us to say the Estimating manager noticed an error with the split level roof, the plans were drawn incorrectly plus there was an extra pit in the rain garden we didn’t need. Better to discover it at this stage than on site. However they had included the corrected plans – turnaround one day. I wish the rest of the paperwork had been so quick 🙂

Finally, finally, finally we signed it all off at the beginning of March.

Wait patiently for Bank to process final paperwork. Well hubby waited patiently I was champing at the bit and three weeks later the Bank says yes :).


Happy dance in honour of my Irish roots and St Patrick’s Day last week:

Irish jig


Send Bank paperwork to Wisdom to prove we have the funds to commence. Wisdom say it is not the Letter of Authority to Commence Construction (LACC) they require.

Ask Wisdom to talk directly to the Bank, leave the middlemen – us – out of it we only pay for it … After a few days the Bank gives them acceptable paperwork including evidence of funds.

Wisdom now produce a Funding Gap Calculation which is the Cost of the build minus the Construction Loan amount which is a heck of a bit more than 5%. Funds get transferred and finally, finally, finally we are out of Admin. 🙂

Battered and bruised but we got there! I only hope that the Construction phase goes better than the admin phase.

I think I’d rather go through childbirth again than Admin. We signed up with Wisdom in December 2013, land registration was October 2014 and Admin finished March 2015. That’s 15 months to complete – the same as the gestation period of a giraffe. Could be worse – the gestation period of an elephant is 22 months.