Building in Khanom

Any story related to building in the LOS, whether everything turned out hunky dory or not!

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Re: Building in Khanom

Postby brianks » Fri Feb 07, 2014 7:56 pm

Wife has broken apart and spread those multi flowered ground cover plants below mahy larger flowered plants. Don't know how the Bouginvilla will do there as they like dry climates and this area will be a bit more wet than that. See multi colored plants against the front wall.
2-7-14 010.jpg


A good view of the ground cover and other flower plants.
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This plant has handled the replanting well and showing some beautiful flowers. Plants at the base have a white flower and are in many places in the yard. I love the yellow and red colored bottle brush type of plant up against the wall behind the big plant.
2-7-14 012.jpg


Hibiscus in many places and many blooms yet to come out.
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View from in front of the work room showing area between house and pool with many different flowering (or colored) plants. Those at the base of those "whatever" plants are varied green and white leaves.
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View of the yard, pool, house, work/pool room and laundry drying in the back of the house. The grass certainly looks far better now than it did a week ago and getting better every day.
2-7-14-B 001.jpg


When any of you chose to visit, I am sure there will be much more color showing at the plants take hold and grow. NOW the work really begins just maintaining this landscaping. Will certainly keep us busy or will be hiring help (I suspect).
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Re: Building in Khanom

Postby brianks » Sun Mar 02, 2014 12:40 pm

Managing the yard:
lawn care 010.jpg
View of front yard.

Everything has gone fine with the landscaping and pool considering we never gave much thought to the maintenance of the landscaping or pool previous to having it put in. All went well for several weeks with the grass growing well but in clumps. Mowed it a week and a half ago and some places got scalped but most were OK but at least everything was not beginning to even out. Next day I noticed that the weeds in the lawn grew much faster than the grass as they began to really assert themselves upward.
lawn care 007.jpg
weeds


Gradually the grass on the main front section of the lawn only began to turn brown and was not for lack of water. A few days later began to notice some small caterpillar like bugs all over the lawn. Lawn kept getting brown despite dumping water on it so bought some pesticide and sprayed it two days ago. Those buggers really went after the Bermuda grass eating all the leaves and leaving the spider web stems flat on the ground. Bugs did not get over to the other parts of the lawn but just the main lawn in front.
Grass 002.jpg
Stripped Bermuda Grass of leaves leaving the spine in tact.


Spray must have done a job as we can't find any bugs now around that are alive.
Grass 004.jpg
Dead bugs and brown grass


Don't know if this spraying will have to be continual or not. If so will have to get a big spray rig as the 7 liter smaller one takes about 8 refills and tons of pumping to get the main lawn.

Past two days have been going after the weed farm with wife and I working the lawn in morning and early evening before dark. Have hired the neighbors to help this massive task. This picture was taken this morning with our “hired” help weeding and in the magnetic pool were several of the relative’s kids plus a few neighbors. That pool is a kid magnet.
lawn care 003.jpg
Weeding and magnetic pool
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Re: Building in Khanom

Postby brianks » Sun Mar 02, 2014 12:47 pm

Just came in from the evening session. No need to mow the main lawn now but will mow the other parts as they are green and growing well.
The Malaysian broad leaf grass has not been affected at all by these bugs. Wish I had put it in everywhere instead of just some places that are very shady mostly in back. Will try to transplant some of that Malaysian grass in patches now as I don't want to continue fighting these bugs. Just need to take their fuel away now.
lawn care 011.jpg
Backyard
lawn care 012.jpg
Side yard


Oh, had to get the wife to dig trenches around the trees and plants in the middle of the grass as the grass was placed right up to them and very difficult to mow around. Again took some labor from the neighborhood labor crew to get that all done too.
See also above that the flowers are coming to the small iceplant like stuff.
lawn care 013.jpg
Trenches around plants in yard & flowering ground cover.


The flowers in the picture below only open in the morning and sure are beautiful to look at.
lawn care 014.jpg
Morning blooming flowers


With the Pool have been working hard to try to keep the correct chemical balance but has been difficult. Were now a salt pool so salt chlorinator generates all the chlorine we need now. Just trying to get it adjusted to the right level now.
One of the Pool lights has gone out about two weeks ago but don’t know if or when will ever be able to remove and replace. Chord was sealed in place in the tube to keep water from going up the tube to the connection at the surface of the decking. With that knowledge may never be able to remove or replace the light and for sure don’t want to try to remove it until we have reason to lower the water in the pool to below the light. The lights I purchased are extremely difficult to remove with several extremely small screws that have to be removed before you can get to the light. Those small screws could get easily dropped in the water and be extremely difficult to find at the bottom of the pool. Fortunately having lights in the pool is not terribly important. They do look nice when on every evening.
Such is life at the Kastle in Khanom where living in rural Thailand is pleasure. Just wish we would get some rain. Has not rained for almost two months now and all over south Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore there are extreme water shortages. Nobody around has seen it go dry for this long here. Fortunately we have our deep water well and no shortage of water for us.
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Re: Building in Khanom

Postby Mike Judd » Sun Mar 02, 2014 1:49 pm

What is the best grass to put in, ? In Oz I've always gone for one of the strains of buffalo which tends to grow outwards with runners and is very hardy against all extremes of weather, you usually have to spread some more soil on it after a few years as it becomes very thick and spongy. Is there an equivalent in Thailand ? any of you gardening fanatics.
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Re: Building in Khanom

Postby brianks » Sun Mar 02, 2014 8:17 pm

Having had three properties in Thailand and observation and experience from another American here in Khanom (who has lived here for 15 years) the Malaysian broad leaf grass is the most hearty and resilient and works in both sun and shade environments. My American friend says that if he fertilizes his several rai of grassland that it will completely choke out the weeds. Wish I had better known of his experience before putting in our lawn. Just didn't think there would be such a problem with the lawn weeds after 4 years in Hua Hin on much smaller plots (that were much easier to take care of).

My objective now is to slowly (or if I get more funds completely remove and replace) convert the Bermuda grass to Malaysian grass. I don't want to continue to spend the hours weeding as we are now just to get rid of the unwanted weeds among the Bermuda Grass. Where we have the Malaysian grass it is thriving and looking great. Didn't get attacked by the bugs either.
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Re: Building in Khanom

Postby regknick » Fri Mar 07, 2014 6:50 pm

brianks wrote:Having had three properties in Thailand and observation and experience from another American here in Khanom (who has lived here for 15 years) the Malaysian broad leaf grass is the most hearty and resilient and works in both sun and shade environments. My American friend says that if he fertilizes his several rai of grassland that it will completely choke out the weeds. Wish I had better known of his experience before putting in our lawn. Just didn't think there would be such a problem with the lawn weeds after 4 years in Hua Hin on much smaller plots (that were much easier to take care of).

My objective now is to slowly (or if I get more funds completely remove and replace) convert the Bermuda grass to Malaysian grass. I don't want to continue to spend the hours weeding as we are now just to get rid of the unwanted weeds among the Bermuda Grass. Where we have the Malaysian grass it is thriving and looking great. Didn't get attacked by the bugs either.


Greetings Brianks.

I'm brand new on the CTH site and unable to send you a PM directly. My sincerest apology for what is probably going to come across as bad form no matter how I explain it but here goes. I'm just up from Khanom in Donsak and wondered if you might be up for a call. The Comedy Meter is high on this one, trust me. I've had the unfortunate dumb luck of breaking my foot a couple days ago on the site. After a quick trip to Surat for x-rays, a cast, and crutches... I returned to the site only to find my small but effect team of Burmese workers gone, gone, gone and the kicker is... there's still about 2-3 days of work to be done to complete this phase of the project. Can you say critical path and bad day to break your foot? Anyway, I'm reaching out for a call with you to talk about some possible resources you might know in the area that can pop up to Donsak for a few days to help me and my broken foot finish an important step.

Let me know and I'll gladly ring or give you my number if you're willing and able to make the call. Thanks for sharing your experience on your project.

Rob
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Re: Building in Khanom

Postby brianks » Sun Mar 09, 2014 3:29 pm

Just poked in to look. Try me at 0884550817.
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Re: Building in Khanom

Postby brianks » Fri Mar 28, 2014 1:23 pm

Finally tired of trying to see where the water level in the tank was in the clear plastic tube I had piped along side the tank. Tube got all algaed up and could hardly see anything through it and getting worse every day. Had the float and weight system in mind for the longest time and trying to figure out where to get the parts to make it work.
3-28-14 001.jpg
New water level gauge
3-28-14 002.jpg
Closer up view of system
Wanted a nylon caster but could not find one but did happen upon a rubber wheel caster that I filed a grove in all the way around. Was going to use a thin string but when I started to make it had some fishing line to put through the hole in the weight and decided to use it as it should not get any gunk on it and much easier to route through the hole in top of tank.
3-28-14 003.jpg
Close up and blury view of wheel and fishing line used.


Bought a drink bottle at Tesco that I selected because of the shape of the bottle (could attach string to it easily and ridges to not allow string to slip off) and filled the bottle with sand. Just capped off the bottle and tied the string to it--adjusted the weight in the bottle) and it sits about half submerged in the tank water. Fishing weight was the heaviest lead weight I could find at the hardware store and works perfectly. Currently only yellow duct tape around it but will paint sometime in future. Note the Lines on the outside of the tank for the upper and lower limits of the water inside of the tank.
3-28-14 004.jpg
Float bottle on water in tank
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Close up (upside down) of sand weighted "float"


Front Yard: Got tired of all the problems with the Bermuda Grass so have bit the bullet and it has been removed and Malasian grass will be in there later today. No more bugs chewing up the grass or weeds growing through it. The bugs don't like Malasian grass and weeds have much more trouble growing through the grass with the broad leaves.
3-28-14 006.jpg
Bermuda grass gone. Malaysian grass going in later today.
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Re: Building in Khanom

Postby schuimpge » Fri Mar 28, 2014 9:30 pm

Bello Brian,

Forget about the grass, I am just drooling about that sea-blue potential fish pond you got on the left.... :lol:
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Re: Building in Khanom

Postby brianks » Mon Mar 31, 2014 6:58 pm

Yes, a great fish pond it is. I transform into a fish every morning and take a "bath" swim in the 32+ degree water now. Like jumping into an oven and baking during the swim.
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Re: Building in Khanom

Postby brianks » Sat Apr 12, 2014 5:18 pm

Replaced Bermuda Grass with Malaysian broad leaf grass. Caterpillar bugs don't like this stuff and it also has such a broad leaf that it tends to restrict the growth of weeds. Have been told that can choke out weeds altogether if we fertilize the grass continually. One day after putting sod down about 80% of the lawn looked water starved with the leaves losing their color. I was horrified by what I saw. Only a good watering both morning and night saved the day here and now 2 weeks later is looking like it will recover to 100%. What patches that die will be grown over by chutes from the other good grass. After only a week and a half, I took the risk of mowing the lawn (not suppose to do it for at least 3 weeks to allow roots to take hold) as I wanted it to look good for guests we were having for the next few weeks. A few places that were dead ripped up but it smoothed out the rest of the lawn and got rid of the uneven and dead grass spots.
4-11-14 001.jpg
Overall view of front lawn


More new trees where smaller ones were not looking very good.
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New Trees
4-11-14 005.jpg
More new trees


Biggest disaster area left with lots of brown dead spots there. Have today transplanted patches of good grass to several places where the dead sod got ripped up when lawn mowed. If it takes hold the existing good grass and chutes should eventually fill in over the dead grass.
4-11-14 002.jpg
Lawn area not recovered yet


Better view of the dead grass area. Concentrating now on again giving this area a double watering every day in hopes I can revive and promote growth of what is there now.
4-11-14 003.jpg
Close up of bad area


Have installed three rain-birds so I don't have to use portable sprinklers. There are three in this line connected by common water pipe. In middle is connector from water hose to the sprinkler water line. I connected the line from watering hose as I just did not want to dig in the pipe and connect to main water line against the wall. Some day but not right now. Hope to be able to set up rain-birds all around the yard as they make watering so much quicker and easier.
4-11-14 006.jpg
Beginning of sprinkler system am slowly working on using rainbirds.


The Malaysian grass is much more drought tolerant. Am gradually cutting back on daily watering and hope to be able to support the lawn on 3 good soakings per week which will reduce the number of my morning 2 hour + watering sessions and allow some time for yard maintenance or just taking the morning swim quite a bit earlier after the sweaty run. The yard with the landscaping and pool definitely require time to maintain properly. So far both Aranya and I enjoy the fruits of the labors in the yard so not a burden. Only two times to do yard work outside, early in morning until 8am or after 5pm in the evening.
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Re: Building in Khanom

Postby MGV12 » Sat Apr 12, 2014 6:42 pm

Brian ... 'Broad leaf' will tolerate most things ... sun or half-shade ... monsoon or [reasonable] drought. All it requires is patience when brown patches appear.

Difficult when guests are coming I understand ...

It's very easy to look after ... in fact it looks after itself if you just get it good and wet twice a week during the dry seasons. Too much watering and you will be forever cutting it ... unless you like a really deep-pile carpet! It will never make a bowling or putting green but is the nearest thing to AstroTurf you can find here.

“Some days I am an optimistic pessimist ... other days I am a pessimistic optimist”
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Re: Building in Khanom

Postby brianks » Mon Apr 14, 2014 1:07 pm

Thanks for the advise on the maintaining of the Malayan Grass. Am going to slowly cut back on the watering days per week when I feel the grass has developed good roots. Some brown and green spots will get some additional water until they fill out with green. I was thinking of three days a week for watering but as you said will work with only two would certainly give me back some time in the morning to work on edging and controlling the weeds among the rim plants. Don't like to be out on the lawn much after 8am as the sun starts burning through. It's then time for the swim in the sauna pool.

With the way I am watering almost every day now, it only takes a week and much of the grass looks like it needs another mow job.
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Re: Building in Khanom

Postby MGV12 » Mon Apr 14, 2014 1:23 pm

brianks wrote:It's then time for the swim in the sauna pool.



You have a plan [dream] for some shade over that at some point?

“Some days I am an optimistic pessimist ... other days I am a pessimistic optimist”
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Re: Building in Khanom

Postby brianks » Tue Apr 15, 2014 10:59 am

Never thought about shading the pool. Would shading lower the temperature much? Bottom of pool is white so reflects heat there. Temperature a constant 32-33 degrees now (28 when filled in January) which is 90 degrees in my old world. That is suppose to be boiling point of chlorine so I watch the chlorine but salt chlorinator seems to be keep up with it all around 1.5. Have not added salt to pool for almost two months now and TDS reads 5300 now (which is above the 4,000 minimum recommended). Have lots of Chlorine bricks and Liquid around left by pool equipment installers for first 30 days of operation without salt while the Pebble Tec cured.

Mystery though as to Ph of pool. Can add acid and get it down below 7 but within 24 hours it is back up to 7.8 or higher (awfully dark pink color on test). Does not seem to be able to stabilize lower without having to constantly add acid which I won't do. Just living with it now. Maybe someone has the magic answer I am looking for there.
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