Friday, April 5, 2013

One Box Down, and Another To Go

 So, we finally completed the box for our Living Fence or Espalier, and will be ready to plant this weekend if the weather holds up.  I believe this is Phase 5 of my 9-Phase plan, for anyone who has been listening to my ongoing promises about garden expansion.

The box was built in 2012, but my trip to India and the High Park Fires, and a pair of tragedies sidetracked us last year.  Deb has been wanting a Living Fence since we moved to this property in 2007, so for her, it's the realization of a long-held dream.

We plan to use a Fan Pattern for the tree, which will be a fruit.  I think at this point it's fair to say it will be a Cherry or Apple variety, but we've discussed so many species at this point, you never really know till you get to the nursery what we will do.
Our new Living Fence planter
The new 2-Level Triangle Planter in Sketch Form
 The space in front of this box is going to have another 2-level box that will incorporate a brand new design element - Triangles.  I've been wanting to add some other geometric shapes to the garden.  Technically, the Berry Garden is all about triangular shapes overall, because that is what this side of the house is - a big wedge.  Over on the other side, where the original OctoGarden is, the design concept was to create circular patterns with square materials - essentially what an Octagon is.

The challenge with true triangles is that when the fasteners are intended to be on the inside of the box, it's difficult to get the screw gun to fit between the boards.  So, the sketch to the left is my brainchild to make this easier - by cutting the vertical boards at an angle, the metal angles could be applied to the 4x4 wood, bent into place, and secure the corners quite well.

Well, sort of.

There turned out to be a slight problem in the concept.  When I instructed my partner in construction, Tim, to cut the angles on the boards, I said that they would be 30-degree cuts.  Technically, I was correct - 30 degrees would be the angle of the wood.  When he went to make the cuts and set the saw to 30-degrees, however, it turns out that it makes the remaining wood 60-degrees.  There isn't a 60-degree setting for any known circular saw.  Of course, we don't notice this until we start assembling, and notice that instead of a closed 60-degree angle (from two 30-degree cuts), we have actually made a 120-degree angle with two 60-degree cuts.

2-Level Triangle Planter 1.0: Fail

Oops.  Back to the drawing board, as they say.

Having already cut the boards to this angle, we looked for ways to resolve this, and arrived at the conclusion that the best way was to take the 4x4s to a local wood shop, and cut a 30-degree angle into them vertically, but leaving the top of the post squared so that the beveled edges would remain.  It has an appeal because it would create a clean look both from the side and the top.
The Fix: Cutting the Vertical 4x4s, and leaving Beveled Top
So, Tim came back on Thursday with the 4x4s cut, and we applied the angles to the 2x12s to start assembly.  When we put the boards together, however, we encountered another problem.  The wood from Home Depot, which had been purchased in 2011 had warped a little.  When put into the fence at the wood shop, the cut that started out by leaving a 1-3/4" face that would match the diameter of the 30-degree-cut 2x12 had shrunk in some cases to 1-1/2", leaving a quite-noticeable reveal on the outside of the box.  We thought of shimming the angle from the interior, but decided it would not be sturdy enough.  In the end, it was decided the best solution was to take the posts back to the wood shop to make sure that there was a minimum of 1-3/4"over the entire length.

In the end, we are certain that the 2-Level Triangle Planter will be another great-looking box that will help the East end of the Berry Garden look more complete from the backyard, completing Phase 6 of my 9-Phase plan!

The Triangle Planter will go here - irrigation is the post in the middle

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