Monday, June 9, 2014

Open Enclosure

I finally got around to finishing the two big projects for this spring - the back gate and garden sign. 

As noted in earlier postings, I completed the construction of the main sign for the garden entrance. The only step left was to stain the cedar posts and roof. I used the same green as the rest of the garden fence. 

The finished product looks nice. I was amazed at how well the color scheme worked out - the sign itself matches the doors remarkably well. The craftsmen in Taibei, Taiwan got it just right.

I still need to move the sign to a final location after I move the Hosta, but I will probably wait until later in the summer, after the Hosta has flowered.

I also completed the construction and staining of the large back gate doors. I added a cable system to the inside of each gate door after realizing how heavy each was.

Unfortunately, the cables run diagonally opposite of the support boards, but they work very well. I anticipate that some sagging will occur, but these cables will help to slow the process. In the fall I will check to see if I need to make changes. One possible solution is to cover the door frames with the same split bamboo that is used elsewhere along the fence. It won't be as esthetically pleasing, but it will be substantially lighter and may make the frame last longer. However, I am hopeful that the doors will hold up as is.

After the cables, I added critter-stoppers at the bottom and handles on the outside of the door. The doors open inward and I intentionally left no means by which to open the gate from the outside. 

Rather than buying hardware for the handles, I used some scrap cedar to fashion a circle, cut it in half, and fastened it to each door. It is more Chinese than Japanese in its design, but I also kept it simple.

Overall, I am happy with how the doors came out. They will add some occasional privacy to the back of the garden. However, I also added some small latches to the interior so that the gates can be kept open. There will be times that I want the garden accessible to visitors. In the future, I hope to rework the old camper driveway area with new plantings, possibly extending the garden outward. An open gate in such an area would prove more inviting. 

Finally, the last addition to the back gate was the small sign that my daughter originally purchased for me last summer in Taiwan. It too contains the name of the garden: Songni Yuan (Pine Mud's Garden). 

At first I thought the size too small, but it looks very appropriate attached to the post on the left side of the gate. 

The garden is now enclosed on three sides. The entrance from the back yard remains only "fenced in" by the the Clumping Bamboo and other plantings. Perhaps some day I might build a small Shikirigaki (仕切り垣 “partition fence”) or Yotsumegaki (四つ見垣 “four eyes fence”) to designate the boundary between the Zen garden and the backyard.

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