Welcome to the maison de cour project. This website documents the design and construction of a courtyard house located close to Yallingup in the Margaret River Region of Western Australia. To contact the designers or see other projects: kwokka.com.au.
A 22m x 6m x 3m high enclosure is created from welded wire mesh to provide both a kangaroo-proof area for trees and also a ‘jungle’ for the feline residents. Suspended walkways and perching points make up the first stage of installations, together with a range of shrubs to form an early under storey ready for the planting of trees in cooler months.
True to the design philosophy of the house, all furniture will be bespoke. The first prototype was developed to suit the scale of guest suite spaces and be multi-functional. The small tables are easily rotated for alternative uses (racks for wine, magazines and books, luggage rest, card/picnic table, footrest, etc), and in using traditional carpentry joints there is no ‘underside’ to be kept hidden.
A steel water tank with 110,000 litre capacity is installed to supplement the existing 135,000 litre concrete tank. Unlike the concrete tank, a liner is attached to the steel skin; the liner is a BPA-free multi-layered internal reinforced fabric weave material that maintains a chemical-free environment for water storage.
After a week of manual trimming and clearing dry vegetation, a bob cat made swift work of piling the material from around the property. The winter weather bringing regular showers has created ideal conditions for a controlled burn; the safest time to reduce the fuel load in the open landscape and bush areas. The heat in the burning piles is usually sufficient to continue through the night and accommodate more material added the following day.
Essential winter maintenance includes reducing the build up of dry plant material. A number of grass trees (Xanthorrhoea preissii – an iconic WA plant) on the property, both groups and single specimens, have substantial crowns and large natural skirts of dry foliage. Extremely slow growing, it is thought that a tree with a 1m trunk growing in poor bush soils could be 100 years old, although most growth rates quoted are between 1-5cm per year. While some recommend burning every 6-8 years, pruning is a safer and less stressful method for maintaining these valuable plants.