Spiral herb garden progress

Well I’m finally back to ferrocement, in Gisborne now based at Dreamspace gallery and workshops, 61 Carnarvon St. Main focus in the ferro: ‘dreamhavens – cabins you only dreamed of’… see www.dreamhaven.nz  . (formerly hobbithaven – this was lost in cyberspace when my old email peter at eutopia disappeared with eutopia.co.nz – sigh!)

dreamhaven card 26 06 17

The Tairawhiti Environment Centre here asked me to make a herb spiral for them, and a garden path edging. Here are some photos. The spiral was a challenge as it is a complex shape to bend steel to – a spiral of steel rebar becomes a giant spring which needs strong framework to hold it. I put it over a ‘christmas tree’ frame specially made for forming circles and sprirals. But next time I will try welded joins – tied ones slip and the spiral twists… So, welding learning curve next… Also note the colour – hybrid of some ‘marigold’ oxide in the final coat and a wash of iron sulphate (used in lawn care for moss control) within a day of last coat and carving of it. Also note the black non-woven weedmatting for protection while the plaster cures – we got a 4 metre-wide roll of the thick felty stuff from Permathene which works well as it is wettable, doesn’t flap about, and won’t tear or fray like woven does. Raewyn will help fill the spiral and plant it. We are donating it to the cause – good advert I hope!

The garden edging took a lot of bending over and joining up 6 metre lengths, but it is very strong. They plan to fill it with smooth pebbles.

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Stairway to Haven

I’ve just been in Gisborne adding a grand stairway to daughter Anna’s ferrocement raised bed garden… carved with a few scenes from Tolkien and three owls (Anna wanted that because three moreporks visited the garden the night they put up the owl-carved finial on the house overlooking the garden).

Photos to come – meanwhile here’s the handrail of the steps to the housetruck at our haven on the Kaipara. They were added recently, took a couple of days all up. Painted gold with green rubbing to make like bronze.  Also see the steps cut into the turf bank by my new cabin…

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To build a sculptural wall and make a splash

This has been my latest foray… The Ark has always needed a good boundary wall and I’ve always wanted a boat hull around it…. this is a photo record, hopefully self-explanatory. Short video walk-around of wall: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MA8sZXzcYCc

Ive used about 40  40kg bags of cement and 4 cubic metres of sand. wall is about 50 metres long. Yet to do the inside second coat, so that will take another maybe 6-10 bags of cement.

I tried a different reinforcing structure as it was mostly flat wall. Waratah steel fence posts (straight in the ground), with some L rebar wired on to give a footing at right angles to the wall (concreted in). and a coil of the famous ‘number 8’ fencing wire as the main horizontal reinforcing and support for the two layers of chickenwire. Quite minimalist! D10 rebar along the top. in curved higher front section I used 668 square mesh rebar sheets. Next time I’ll try a twin layer of 668 with chickenwire sandwiched between. More straight and flat, and way less work if I only have to tie the two sheets together at intervals instead of lacing the chickenwire onto each side. I think the plaster will go over the square mesh ok, as long as I use a thinnish first coat so it doesn’t sag. For this wall I did three coats, scratching with the plaster rake in between coats for good adhesion. third coat I sponge finished with sponge from an old seat!

More on this project later…

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Coming soon – all about ferrocement.

This is a news and how-to site begun by Peter Harris, builder of Cafe Eutopia, for all things ferrocement from around the world, focusing perhaps mostly on the artistic and the visionary.

As soon as I can I will populate this space! Meanwhile, leave comments and links to other relevant sites. And see  Cafe Eutopia and Dreamspace: http://www.eutopia.co.nz for what we are building in Kaiwaka.

Seagull Cafe

Seagull Cafe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At Cafe Eutopia we sell the print version of the how-to and inspirational book ‘Fantastic Ferrocement’ by Peter Harris, ‘Wizard of Eutopia’. You can also buy this book, updated with new photos and techniques, as an ebook at:

As well as other books, epic fantasy and more.