New floors inside and out.

bathroom floor

We have had a busy first few days of May, finishing off two projects. In the bathroom we finally got to the last stage of the renovations, laying the mosaic floor. We got all the tiles for the floor free from a skip outside our local tile shop. Because the walls are light and include some subtle colour we wanted the floor to be quite dark and neutral as a contrast. For the wall mosaics we used ready-mixed tile adhesive as it is easy to use for precise applications of small tiles but for the floor we opted for a heavy duty cement based floor adhesive that we mixed up ourselves. This is more economical and we believe stronger for walking on. It is important to only mix up what you can use in about 45 minutes as it starts to set after that.

bathroom floor grout

Spread it on a small area and put down your bigger pieces first and adding smaller pieces where they are needed as you go. Some tiles are thinner and need a bit of adhesive added to the back as well. Use your fingers and the palm of your hand to check that all the tiles are level and you end up with a smooth, kind to bare feet floor.

bathroom floor on tile

bathroom floor pieces

bathroom floor hand

Let the adhesive set for a few hours or overnight before grouting. It is important to add the grout and keep smoothing it down, pressing it into all the gaps and crevices. When you are happy with the results let it set for a couple of hours before carefully wiping it with a damp cloth. You want to remove the excess grout but be careful enough not to rub too hard and take away too much grout from the joints. If you have never grouted anything before it might be good to start in a not so visible place of the floor to get the hang of it. Let the floor grout go off and do another wipe or two to get rid of all the excess grout. After that all you need to do is polish it with a dry cloth until it shines and admire your handiwork. We are happy to have made a beautiful strong floor that should last our lifetime, for next to no money, mostly with materials aimed for landfill.

bathroom floor grouting

bathroom floor clean

 While working on the bathroom we also made good use of the few sunny spells to put down paving stones on our outdoor area in front of the house. When we moved in we planted a beautiful old hawthorn tree, which we rescued from behind our shed, in the middle of our front yard. It is an ancient custom in Sweden to plant a tree for prosperity and luck in front of your house and since half of us originate from Sweden we wanted to honour this tradition. Around the tree we wanted a circle of paving stones and we were lucky to get some cheap from a neighbour who had them left over from a project. We started off with a small recycled mosaic circle set in cement and grouted with hypertufa.

mosaic circle

After that we dug down to slightly deeper than the paving stones height and added some sand for a smooth bed.

adding sand


circle with sand

The paving stones went on and were tapped down with a sledgehammer but we were not too bothered to get them all even as it adds character when they are slightly uneven. We added a dry hypertufa mix of one part cement, one part compost and half a part of sand to all the cracks. It is good to tap the stones slightly so the mixtures settle in and more can be added. We then watered all of it with a fine spray to wet the mixture and wash it away from the surface of the paving stones. Later we will add a little more hypertufa mix as it has sunk down from being watered and add a mix of yoghurt, moss and sugar to get the moss growing rapidly in between all the paving stones for a natural look. The total cost for this project was about €25.

bathroom floor 035


bathroom floor 029

Going around in circles

bathroom 019

The last month has seen some changes to our main garden circle. We have finished the work on the stone mowing strip all around the edge. Last year the grass grew into the stone wall at the front of the raised beds and it is very nice to have gotten rid of that problem. We are now also able to go around the circle with our push mower and cut the grass all the way to the edge without a problem. After the cement under the stones had set we added hypertufa to the cracks and brushed it in to set and kept watering it for four days, three times a day. This prevents the hypertufa from drying out too quickly. Hypertufa is a very versatile material to use in the garden. We make ours out of one part sand, one part cement and one part compost and a generous helping of PVA. The compost makes the dried mixture slightly porous and provides a few nutrients for mosses to grow. It can be used to create sculptures and planting troughs that look very natural after a while due to the moss.


bathroom and rubarb 021

 North stone

We have also finished the second low fence to support the artichokes and cardoons. We made it out of willow and dogwood for all the woven pieces with Bamboo canes for the uprights. Hopefully it will be high enough to prevent the huge plants from blowing over. They grew to almost three meters last year.


All our plants have grown a lot this month but there is still mostly greenery to be seen and not that many flowers. April has brought a lot of sunny warm days but also some frost and even hailstones.Our weeping birch has beautiful small leaves and the onion sets we planted in March are all growing nicely.The tree peony is about to flower and a lot of annual poppies have germinated from self sown seed last year. It is great to have some self seeding plants such as poppies, forget me not and aquilegias in the flower borders as you are always in for a surprise. We are keeping our dandelions all around the garden and do not try to eradicate them from the lawn as they are very important to the bee population and also nice to eat in salads.


 Here you can see pictures of the circle towards the four points of the compass.









We are taking the same pictures once a month to keep a record of the changes throughout the seasons and the years. All the posts containing these photos are collected in the category Elemental circle. As we are nearing the end of the month we are looking forward to the colorful floral explosion that is bound to happen in May. All over the garden there are thousands of buds, just about ready to burst open. We can’t wait to share next months pictures of our circle with you.