I know what I want but, as usual, I don’t know quite how to get it – yet. I do have lots of ideas for our outdoor spaces which we have around the cave but sourcing materials, (without breaking the bank), finding good workmen with space in their diaries and working around the restrictions of the local council is enough to keep me awake most nights.
Saying that, I do enjoy the planning and designing although some of my ideas have received funny looks and worried expressions from my better half. As John and I have been married for over 22 years I am quite used to John’s reactions and I know he will enjoy the end results just as much as I will. I hope!
Our land around the cave is an odd shape but this is not at all bad. To help me plan how to use each area I have broken the land down into 8 sections. Each section will have a different use and unique look. Some will need money spending and others very little so as to allow nature to continue her work.
Area 1 is a strip of land full of grape vines that runs along the side of a small church called Ermita del Salto and stretches to a neighbours olive grove. I have absolutely no idea what to do with area 1. It’s a work in progress for my brain.
The same applies to area 2. It also has grape vines and scrub. The only immediate plan is to re open the driveway, (on the right hand side of area 2 just out of the picture), that runs from the church along the back of our property so that we can gain access to the rear for log delivery etc.
Area 3 has a definite plan and has already been named ‘the secret garden’. This space will be where we will chill, devour barbecues and enjoy company. The hillside to the left and top edge of the area will be enclosed by a white wall giving it a walled garden feel. I would like a large stone table under a covered construction to give shade during the heat of the summer, comfortable lounges and swing seats. Perhaps a couple of hammocks to laze away the afternoons. Well, we are in Spain and the afternoons are for siestas!
Area 4, which is thin and curved and stretches to the track, will be left for nature to continue to live and grow. It’s in a dip and not very user friendly so I am happy to let nature carry on her work and give the birds and local wildlife somewhere to rummage and shelter in. The right hand edge of this area (next to the cave) will have a roped fence to help mark the edge of the cliff face and give the edge a distinctive look.
Area 5 is immediate in front of the property from where we have wonderful views of the Bad Lands and river below. The amount of wildlife you can see whilst sitting here is just amazing and one that we are both going to enjoy looking at during a quiet afternoon or summers evening. A few minutes ago, I went to take the picture you can now see and two herons came swopping down towards the river. Fantastic. In this area I plan to have 3 raised sections. 2 lower levels for pots, a bench and perhaps the odd bit of art and the third raised area which will be a step higher, for comfortable seats where we can sit and enjoy the scenery and especially the sky at night. Because we have no artificial lights around our area the stars are simply amazing.
Area 6 and 7 are lower down towards the track and are separated by a second driveway, (shown in black). Again, these areas are work in progress for my brain.
Area 8, which begins at the church, continues over the cave to become our roof. There is not a lot we can do with this land as the natural grasses that grow here are protected plus we would not want to change it anyway. It looks natural and is in keeping with the cave. The only change that will appear here are two garages to the side of the cave (on the right hand side of area 8) which will have patio areas on the roof for our privacy and sun.
We do have two further parcels of land (shown in green) that we own but they are not exactly user friendly as they are both on the other side of the road/track. We may find a use one day but….
On top of all this we have to grade and make good 3 drives, make two Cave rooms, one for the car and one for John’s bike, build a shelter over the kitchen door area, fence the whole perimitor to keep Barney and Charlie safe, replace 4 front/back doors and 7 windows and ………I think that is enough for now. My plans change on a regular basis so I will keep you updated, I promise.