Natural Home Show House 2009 | Natural Home Show House Team Breaks Ground
By Karen Adams
The Adams’ have broken ground on their green house in Boerne, Texas, the site of Natural Home’s Show House 2009. Workers use heavy equipment to break up hard rock in the middle of their lot, which will eventually cradle their slab. Recycled orange construction fencing protects large oaks that provide a picturesque canopy during construction. The aggregate that was dug up on the site will be used to restore a nearby quarry site. Photo Courtesy Karen Adams.
Digging in the dirt is satisfying. Kids relish in dirt, and adults, whether it is gardening or project work that dictates digging is in order, love it. That is no exception when you start digging to create a new home. It is so fun to see an outline that has been on paper for months come to life. We began excavating our site this week for the Natural Home Show House outside of San Antonio, Texas, and it is beginning to take shape on the ground.
The surprise was that there was some wonderfully rich black soil that Katherine “Kat” Crawford, our landscape designer, went nuts over, so we have kept that on-site to use in our garden. Now it seems we’ve hit some rock and must get the big guns to dig away since we have a slight slope on our 1/2-acre lot in Boerne, Texas, a small town nestled in the hills outside of the Alamo City. Some amount of rock is not a bad thing when you are building a foundation because it is a very stable base on which to build. The pad site for the house is taking shape now along with the gentle curves laid out for the planted areas Kat has in mind.
Protecting existing trees is a very important part of the project excavation and throughout the project. A couple years ago my husband saw some used plastic construction safety fencing from a school remodeling project in Boerne that was piled up near a dumpster, doomed for the landfill. After asking the contractor if it was OK to use, he loaded a utility trailer down with hundreds of feet of the material knowing that it could be used again. The site has several beautiful old oaks that we want to protect during construction, so this kind of fencing affords protection from vehicles or heavy equipment and creates a “no fly zone” around each tree.
What to do with all that stuff you dig out of the ground? For our project, we wanted to do something helpful with all the material leaving the site. Site work contractor Mike Hagendorf made arrangements to haul it to a limestone quarry site about 4 miles north of Boerne. The hole left behind from harvesting limestone as a native building material can be repaired with thoughtful landowners and quarry operators who plan with “the end in mind.”
Last, what construction site is complete without a porta-potti and water service? Ours now has both with temporary electric service soon to follow. We also made a sitting area under the shade of the largest heritage oak, complete with picnic table, so that our construction workers will be as comfortable as we can make them as they help us build our dream home. We hope they enjoy the huge canopy of this grand-daddy tree as much as our family does.
Read more about the Natural Home Show House in Karen Adams' blog archive.