Our first step was to remove the alien vegetation on site, which would also open up the views from the house. This would also create more space for the main rock garden area.
|The almost blank canvas...|
To get a better feel for the size of the rocks, I drew the site on Sketchup, and moved the rocks around to find the best position, shape and size. I wanted to also plan the position of the rocks around the possibility of adding some decking into the design at a later stage.
|Sketchup drawing of the area showing the volume of the rocks|
|Shorty stands in front of Rock No.9|
Even with all the preparation there are always a few slight hiccups. Unfortunately this job was no exception. The crane company I had hired to move the rocks got cold feet the day before the rocks were due to arrive. They were nervous because there was no way that we could know (and plan for) the weight of the rocks until they had been weighed on the weigh-bridge and were on their way to site. I had been given figures of anything from 1-7 tonnes per rock. Fortunately, after several anxious hours of phone calls, I managed to get a rigging company - Lovemore Brothers, to step in at the last minute (for a considerably higher fee), to handle the process of moving the rocks from the truck into position.
True to their word, the 55 tonne crane arrived at 7h30 the next morning. After several days of rain I knew that we had a window period of a few hours of good weather, so I began to grow quite anxious when I was told that the rocks were delayed by a broken down truck.
Eventually, at 14h30 the first load arrived, just as the clouds began to roll in. We worked quickly knowing that a storm was approaching, and that we had only a few more hours of light to get the remaining 16 tonnes of stone onto site. We finished the first load as the lightning began to strike around us. (An especially worrying thing when you have a 30-40m lightning-conductor sticking out above everything around it.) The very cold rain began soon after, which was just the precursor to the large hailstones that followed. It seemed like everything that could make our work harder, was going to happen. Fortunately, as is the norm with storms like that in Durban, it didn't last long.
With the light fading, and the dangerous prospect of positioning 3 tonne rocks in place in the dark, looming quickly, we tried to work fast. But before we knew it, the light was gone, and we were literally positioning rocks by lamplight.
|That's the last rock being lit up with a light in the top left corner|