Our Front Yard – Landscaping And Lasers

Landscaping our house has always been something on the cards for our family but it was placed on the back burner due to differing priorities. It wasn’t until our body corporate put this on the agenda did we get pretty serious about it.

Whilst technically I find I can learn grasp most things life, design is not something I have a flair for. We didn’t want a different look for different areas of the house. We engaged award winning Apex Landscapes to design landscaping for the entire house. Our brief was
– Integrate technology in to it, make it a tour de’force
– Little or very little maintenance (read no wood)
– Look high end and really stand out for the right reasons
– Something different to other houses in the estate

We had a front that looked like this

They envisaged it would look like this

From laser leveling to CAD designs, Apex Landscapes are the most professional company I have dealt with with spectacular attention to detail. This kind of meant their price with to date and their prices reflect it. After receiving our designs and their implementation quotes we needed to figure out a way to so most of this ourselves as we simply couldn’t afford the implementation price. We decided we would do everything but the hard landscaping of the front yard. We settled on ‘The Blake Escape’ to perform the hard landscaping of our front yard with myself tackling
– irrigation
– electrical (design, relays, programming, sensors)
– soil works
– planting
– steelwork (letterbox CNC)

Bill of Materials
I wont be costing this out (probably due to embarrassment) but suffice to say this project ran in to 5 figures many times over. It involved the following high level items
– 1 x Landscape Design (Surveying, CAD design)
– 1 x Excavation
– 1 x Exposed Aggregate Driveway
– 3 x Carpenters
– 3 x BrickLayers
– 5 x Landscapers
– 9 x CM3 Of Concrete
– 1 x Bobcat
– 4 x Pallets Of Honed Blue Stone Pavers
– 7 x M2 of Blue Stone Crazy Paving
– 4 x Pallets of Bessa Blocks
– 2 x Pallets of Ledgestone Hotham
– 13 x m3 of soil
– 50 x m2 of turf
– 23 x Lengths of Electrical Conduit (Combination of 25mm and 32mm)
– 50+ x Electrical Conduit Adapters (Bends, Elbows, Couplers)
– 150m x 13mm of Low Density Poly Pipe
– 50m x 13mm pressure compensating dripper
– 1 x Antelco EzyValve 4 Solenoid Valve Controller
– 1 x Brass Pressure Regulation/Filtration devices
– 500m of figure 8 electrical cable (lighting)
– 150m of 8 core electrical cable (relays)
– 100m of 6 core electrical cable (sensors)
– 100m of 4 core electrical cable (sensors)
– 5 x Omron 12V DC switching relays
– 8 x Optical Isolaters
– 2 x PNP Through Beam Laser Photo Switches
– 1 x PNP Photo Electric Switch
– 1 x Laser Cut 6mm Steel Plate Letterbox Cut Out
– 13 x Havit LED EyeLid Lights
– 6 x Havit LED Spot Lights

This project has taken approximately 9 months to complete and the following steps are compressed

Step 1: Do the Thinking Up Front
Every company I spoke to about the build told me this was such a technical design with more than a few shying away from the job. Being technical I knew that it would be much harder to retro fit my grand plans after build. I sat down and designed the irrigation, lighting and sensors.

Step 2: Run Cable Umbilical
Three is a lot going on in our yard with everything being driven from a PLC in the garage. It’s not really practical to drive 20+ lights, sensors and solenoids directly. The plan was to run multiple 8 core cables to my letterbox area for relay control and power distribution. There would be a rail o of 20AMP 12v DC that would be switched via relays which are controlled by the PLC.

Cables were ran through the garage roof and out via a junction box before disappearing in to conduit heading towards the future letterbox.

Oscar was a great help

Shane Baldacchino

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