19 August 2007

Progress of our extension, French drains and ponds for rain water harvesting

French drainsThe French drains around the house are finished. The pipes are laid holes downwards then filled in with large river stones and covered with geo-textile to keep out the earth and make sure they don't get clogged up. Fabrice has dug ditches sloping towards a small pond which we've dug and we'll use that to store the rainwater from the roofs and provide a fun area for the geese to play and clean themselves and mate in. We'll use gravity to take the water overflow in pipes down towards the goat shed and the vegetable garden.

Well made drains will ensure the house stays dry and as it's been raining a lot it's been useful to watch where the water goes and make sure the run-off works as it should. In the this part of France we often get storms with very heavy rain and although guttering is useful to direct water where you want it, when the rain is really heavy the gutters can't contain the water and they overflow and sometimes bend with the weight. At this stage in the building process it's worthwhile taking the time to get it right.

Bitumen to keep the damp out

We've been waiting for materials, (August in France is almost in complete shut down) so Fabrice has started facing the walls with stone to match the existing building. This photograph gives a good idea of how it will look.

Facing the house walls with stone

The back of the extension where the bedrooms will be is getting higher and higher and it's great standing on the scaffolding looking out of the window spaces at the views into the garden and the woods behind the house. We've chosen the windows and got most of the doors, but we're still deciding about the big window facing West downstairs.
Looking down the back terrace from the second floor

Pond in front of the house

We've dug two ponds to capture the rain water, and the new one behind the house filled up during the very heavy rain so we know the drainage system around the house works well.

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