One of the things that has really bugged us has been the entrance to the property from the road (Dirt Track). We have had a few attempts at trying to get this right, but until now whatever we have done has just not quite worked fully.
At the start of the construction of the house we just had a very simple post attached to the lamp post at the entrance just to fix the electricity meters to.
When the entrance was constructed properly, the builders only used standard tile type blocks, these proved later not to be strong enough to hold the weight of the fixings for the gates or to defend against the winds that we get at certain times.
Everything did look smart once the rendering had been done and it was painted white.
The entrance was reasonably easy with a car as the drive was just about level with the road outside and there were no gates.
However, because of the slope (left to right) it meant there was a large gap under the right-hand side, plus a slightly less, but too high gap where the gates met. This resulted in a high stop in the middle of the gates, this proved to be a problem, as we often caught it with the underside of any car we drove in or out and we regularly had to have the stop re fixed.
We also had a problem with the granite cube drive, the slope here was too much and the it had to be lowered to allow for the gates to open. The company doing the gates, adjusted the granite cubes where the gates were to allow them to open, but it left the drive very uneven.
In order to overcome this and to smooth out the drive we had the granite blocks on the drive re-laid to firstly smooth the level out and secondly to raise the drive under the gates to be more even, left to right, and to reduce the gap underneath so we could fit a lower stop in the middle of the gates.
This overcame this issue, except that to achieve this affect it meant there was a steep ramp on the right-hand side from the road. This also proved to be a problem with getting low cars through the entrance, they would ground as you went in and out. It also resulted in the shorter stop in the middle being regularly broken as well.
During this time, if you have read our blogs you would have seen that due to the winds we get on occasions and the poor strength of posts we had to regularly call the builder and locksmith back to re-fit the electric gate openers as the fixing would pull out of the posts.
We finally took the decision this winter to redesign the entrance to overcome all these problems. The idea was to move the gates back from the road, so giving us a larger turning circle to get on the drive from the road. Also meant we could drop the level of the drive back down to road level, removing the steep slope. We also had the posts to hold the gates made from reinforced concrete, so fixings should be stronger.
The gates will also be re-fitted with just a small, even gap underneath, so the shorter stop can be used in the middle, but as there is a gentle slope the bottom of any car should clear it easily.
We could also build a wall down the side of the entrance which should give some extra protection from the winds for the gates. We have also had a bolt fitted to the bottom of the gates, so when it gets windy we can drop the bolt as well if we need some extra strength.
It also gives us an area for parking off the road, whist we are waiting for the gates to open.
All this is currently being done, here are a few photos taken during April, showing what’s happening, hopefully you will be able to see what we are trying to achieve. At the time of writing, the new posts are in place and the granite cubes have been re-laid yet again.
There is still work to be done, the gates to be re-installed, the electrics for the openers and the doorbell to be installed plus the rendering on the walls to be finished and painted.
I will post another blog as soon as everything is complete so you can see the finished product. Hopefully this time we will have got it right. I’ll let you know!