One of the last existing buildings that we took down here was the old wooden garage outside the cottage, and the time has come to replace it with another useful structure that will be used to store garden produce and tools. We want to build it on a tiny budget using reclaimed or local materials to create a natural looking structure that has minimal visual impact.

Because the cottage is sited at the high point of the land, there’s a drop in front of it here where we decided to dig the rainwater tanks in.

The idea is to use these tanks as the back wall of the building, and to level in front of them, and then lay a basic gravel foundation, with tyres on top, rammed with earth to form a low stem wall. First to dig it out –

and then put the gravel and tyres in. The tyres are rammed with a sledgehammer, and filling the 36 tyres was damn hard work, to put it mildly.

Once full though, they are hard as rocks and nigh on immovable, and we have a nice level wall to sit what will be a strawbale wall on top.

The idea being that the finished height will be just a little higher than ground level in front of the cottage, and once covered in grass, near invisible. We’ll be plastering the walls with local clay, and using the spare topsoil on the roof. We’ve just cut and are preparing some trees to use as rafters –

which will form a reciprocal roof. If you haven’t come across one, then this video with Tony Wrench explains how –