Getting a Bore

Posted on 15th September 2011 in bore

Having moved into a place with no reticulation, we decided that this time around we would fork out the $$ for a bore, figuring we will be here a while so it will eventually pay for itself. I’m thinking that as water becomes more expensive it will also be a valuable capital investment.


After getting 3 quotes we have decided on the person we want to install the bore. The decision was based on quality of product, confidence in the person and price. We were impressed with another operator who had a great sales pitch, but it was going to cost $4400.00 instead of $3300.00 – quite a difference and we couldn’t see the need to spend that much extra.


If you want to know how your house is situated for a bore then go to the Perth Groundwater Atlas and zoom in on your home. You will be able to determine how deep you need to go to find water as well as some other data. This is the info drillers use to formulate quotes. A site visit is more to determine location of bore, control box etc.


These days bores are not huge ugly wells with large round covers, but are small and virtually unnoticeable. I’ll let you know how we go with the bore as it happens.

How Much For Reticulation?

Posted on 14th September 2011 in Installations, Installing

This is an interesting question.

We have always pitched ourselves at the mid-price range so that we can use quality parts, do an excellent job and give a proper warranty. You can always get cheaper – and sometimes you will get the same for cheaper – but generally speaking the old rule applies that ‘you get what you pay for’.

Installations are always on a case by case inspection, but the following ‘set up costs’ can be expected:

  • Retic cut in by licensed plumber $180.00 + GST
  • Hardwiring of controller $160.00 + GST
  • Electronic Controller $200.00-$400.00 + GST (depending on what is chosen)

To give you an idea of what to expect a VERY rough ball park figure for a 4 x 2 home on a 600m block with 5 or 6 stations is usually around $2600.00 + GST

A front install on this kind of home would be around $1500.00 + GST (because of all the set up costs) and a rear install usually around $1100.00 + GST

We always compete on price so feel free to let us know your best quote and we will try to beat it.

Snake Season in Perth

Posted on 12th September 2011 in General

Its that time of year when snakes come out, so as the move around the yard fixing the retic and attending to the garden be sure to keep an eye out and make sure it really is a stick!

While doing some work in my own backyard today I discovered two different snakes. The one below hung around long enough for me to take his picture.

So – you know the deal.

– Don’t approach them (especially in bare feet)

– Stand still and let them move on

– Make a bit of noise as you move around and they will pick up the vibes in the ground and get out of there.

Personally I’d prefer to chop them in half with a spade every time I see them, but I’m not convinced I’m quick enough!

In My Own Backyard – Sleeper Retaining Walls

Posted on 6th September 2011 in In My Own Backyard, What's Going on There?

When we bought the house we were aware that some of the retaining walls were around 20 years ago and had either completely fallen over or were in need of repair.

We were faced with the choice of doing it all again in limestone blocks or rebuilding the sleeper walls. In a perfect world with endless $$ we would have chosen limestone, simply because of its permanence. But limestone was going to cost around $20K installed and sleepers around $1500 (if I did the work). To DIY with limestone it was going to be around $4K but I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do it alone with the size blocks required. The rest of the house is also timber and we liked the look of the sleeper walls so we thought we’d give it a shot and assume we would get at least 10 years out of the sleepers if not 20-30.


So began the process of building..

I had never built a retaining wall before so it was a new learning curve and as usual google made it easier. I researched the how tos of sleeper walls and then set a line and started digging holes. It is’t rocket science – just a bit of hard work.

The key with the holes is to make sure the post is at least the same depth in the ground as the height of the wall. My wall was going to be 900ml at its highest point so I made sure my holes were 1m deep. I used a long handle spade to get the sand out and while it was a little tricky towards the bottom I managed to get all the holes quite deep by scraping the sand and then levering it up.

Digging was the easy bit. Then came moving the sleepers…

They are 50kgs so not that heavy, but when you need to get them in a specific place and you are working alone it is a little tricky. I slid them onto the top of my wheelbarrow and moved them as far as I could by that means before lifting them into place. Once in place I used one bag of rapid-set around the base and then once set packed the holes with bricks to add strength. I only used one bag of concrete in case the posts need to be removed in the future. It was hard to get some of the original posts out minus concrete so I figured using 4 bags / hole might mean they never move, but it would also require some serious machinery to get them out once they rot.

Some of my reading suggested leaning the posts in towards the wall 2-5 degrees and allowing the wall to adjust the posts as it settled. However I had seen a neighbour’s wall where this methodology had been applied and his hadn’t settled (after 20 years) so I figured I would gamble on a perfectly pependicular wall and resolve the lean problem at a later date if it happened.

I placed the posts in, did the checks with the spirit level and allowed the posts to set in place. I used a piece of 2.1m pipe as a guide to mark the centres of the posts as a set of sleepers would be resting on either side of the posts. I actually managed to drop one post in the wrong place and pour in the concrete before realising and then needed to get it out of the hole. Not recommended… It was a real struggle getting that sleeper back out.

However once the posts are set in place the rest is just grunt work and some levelling. I dropped the first horizontal into place, got it level  and then dropped another 3 on top. The wall stepped down towards the rear of the property so I made those adjustments as I went.

Once all the horizontals were in place I began to fill the area behind the wall with the bricks and rubble that had been left lying around the yard. I figured it would help drainage and also clean the place up – double win.

The finished product looks really good. Its got a great rustic feel and it ties in with the rest of the house. Even better it took me a whole 2 days of time working alone from go to whoa. I think limestone would have taken a lot longer.

We bought the sleepers from Mountain Movers in Burswood and got the 7ft ‘A Grade’ variety at $23.00/sleeper plus $80.00 delivery. As far as building materials go they aren’t cheap and it would have been almost as economical to build the wall out of concrete sleepers – except without the rustic look.

So we’re guessing they will be good for 20-30 years which is how long the originals lasted, but of course white ants could change that fairly quickly.

This weekend should see the completion of the retaining and then its on to getting the levels sorted, before reticulation goes in.






In My Own Backyard – Ok So It Isn’t Pretty

Posted on 5th September 2011 in In My Own Backyard, Local Knowledge

Because I spend my life fixing other people’s reticulation and laying turf its hard to come home and get motivated to put on the boots and start on my own home.

However recently we moved to a new place in ‘old Yanchep’ where there is no reticulation and plenty of work to be done to get the property landscaped. The rear area especially is a mess and in need of a lot of work while the front could do with some freshening up.

I thought it would be interesting to track my own progress with taking our backyard from ‘wasteland’ to ‘oasis’, so if you’re interested in watching a (slow) transformation take place then you might like to follow this series of posts.

It all started about a month ago when I wandered out in the yard to pull up some weeds. It was very overgrown and messy and with spring around the corner I could see the weeds a) seeding and giving us more trouble b) being a great hiding place for snakes.

Half of the backyard with the rubbish and rubble before we moved the chook pen and at the start of constructing the retaining wall

I wasn’t quite ready to ‘attack the whole backyard’  but once I got started on the weeds I realised I had started something that needed finishing. With winter being the quiet time for retic and turf I have been using my time to get some of the bigger projects done around home and this has been the progress so far

a) clear the weeds and make some work possible

b) build retaining walls

c) move the chook pen


The old chook pen and the mess that is currently the backyard

Still to come are:

d) more retaining to be erected / fixed

e) bobcat to clear, cut and fill

f) a bore sunk and reticulation installed

g) turf laid and gardens created


Chook pen moved


The lower wall and new chook pen

Starting on the upper wall

Great Gardening Info

Posted on 5th September 2011 in Garden beds, General

My friend James Middleton at Aussiegreenthumb is a legendary gardener and a fount of information when it comes to anything in our backyard.

This month he is running a series of blogs entitled 30 Days to a Better Garden. He’s only up to day 5 so its not too late to catch up and follow the whole series.

Reticulation South of the River

Posted on 2nd September 2011 in General

Its a long way to anywhere south of the river and I have been there just twice this year (once on holidays!)

But its nice to know people who live and work there so if you are looking for retic and turf south of the river then I can recommend Tao and the crew at Allwest retic.

These guys will do a great job so if you live in the ‘deep south’ then give them a call!

Of course if you are north of river be sure to call us :)




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Watering Days for Spring in Perth WA

Posted on 1st September 2011 in Controllers, Local Knowledge

Ok, so its September 1st and you can officially turn your sprinklers back on.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to water twice a week and if there are still rainy periods then every drop we save is valuable. If you are unsure of your watering days then you can find them below.

You set your days by using the final number of your street address eg 57 = 7 Your two watering days are listed as well as the extra day that bore users can have.
1 Wed & Sat  bore = Mon

2 Thur & Sun bore = Tue

3 Fri & Mon bore = Wed

4 Sat & Tue bore = thurs

5 Sun & Wed bore = Fri

6 Mon & Thur bore = Sat

7 Tue & Fri bore = Sun

8 Wed & Sat Bore = Mon

9 Thur   & Sun bore = Tue

0 Fri & Mon bore = Wed


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Sir Walter Gets Laid

Posted on 1st September 2011 in Installations, Turf

Sir Walter Buffalo turf always looks great when it goes down.

Here’s one we did today in Balcatta. The ‘slabs’ of turf are a bit more expensive but they lay easier and take to the soil more easily too.

If you can afford an extra couple of bucks/metre then its worth the investment

How Much Does it Cost to Set a Reticulation Controller

Posted on 1st September 2011 in Controllers


Before I got into retic I used to get my wife to do this… so if you find it difficult then know you’re not alone!

These days I can set most controllers quickly and easily so its a case of having a minimum charge. For local suburbs (anywhere north of Hester Ave) I charge $35.00, but for other areas it is a minimum fee of $65 + GST.