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Much as we English abuse the French language the french use supposedly English terms that mean nothing to us! So with spring around the corner and wine tastings scheduled in I had a panic about the front of the house and the ugliness of it all! Last year before my wine tour group came I set to work white washing the walls and tidying and generally beautifying the front. It was a short-term fix as we had neither the funds or the time to do anything major, and it looked good for a while. However when the big storms came it damaged all the white wash and broke the hazel wood fencing so it was looking very shabby indeed.

So what to do? In an ideal world we would knock down the ugly concrete wall and build a beautiful stone wall, pick off the render and expose the stonework on the front of the house and change the level of the terrace to stop it getting flooded. However all of that involves more time and money than we have! So after some persuasion I managed to convince Chris of the need to do something before the season started, and although he wasn’t convinced at the beginning he, as am I, are delighted with the results.

So what did we do? Well we took down all the hazel wood fencing, removed all the old metal work and removed part of the concrete wall that leads to the driveway to give us an internal access to the drive. we then built up the concrete wall with blocks, the top layer being u-shaped, rendered it with a lovely sand and lime render and filled the top layer of blocks with plants. Thanks to our lovely neighbour Monique I managed to plant the entire wall with cuttings and plants that we, or she, had! She also helped me move the rose which was in the way of the new opening to the driveway. It is a very old rose and very beautiful so we are really hoping that it will survive, fingers and toes crossed. Eventually we will replace the ugly metal gate with a wooden one, to match the front door, and put a gate on the driveway for privacy and safety.

We worked like trojans to get it done in a relatively short time, I can’t tell you how exhausted we were last Sunday night! But it looks great and what is more, even though we will eventually change the front of the house, there is no longer any urgency as it blends in well with the new wall. Unfortunately I was so busy building and rendering that I forgot to take photos of the different processes!

How the front looked in 2010








Taking down the wall to access the driveway internallyIMG_4476 IMG_4478 IMG_4481 IMG_4482 IMG_4484 IMG_4489 IMG_4490 IMG_4491 IMG_4492 IMG_4493 IMG_4494 IMG_4495

Et voila, rendered and planted!IMG_4497 IMG_4498 IMG_4499

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