Building a Hobbit Hole

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  • #81
    Originally posted by Valar View Post

    Ithildin that would be a great idea! I honestly hadn't even considered that option, are you thinking of going that route? It sure might save on a lot of trench shovelling!

    I suppose the challenge would be finding a spot to somehow hide the solar panels whilst still positioning them for optimal sun exposure. Maybe the panels would be over the other side of the garden? Also, is the low voltage lighting available in warm white, to suggest candlelight? I guess it's not essential, but it might add to the realism/illusion of candlelight

    Even though I'm going with the mains power, I've managed to find an energy efficient LED globe with a warm white glow, which hopefully will look ok

    One of the reasons I went with the mains power route is I'm actually running the cabling further out into the garden to install some more garden lighting at various locations (yes, more shovelling! )
    Hi, ya that is the route I'm leaning towards, an LED lighting system powered with a small solar panel placed in an unobtrusive place to charge the batteries. You can get LEDs in all sorts of kelvin temperatures, from a warm light of 2700K all the way up to a super cool white of 7000K.


    The LED lamps that Min posted are nice. They really do give you the feel of a flame.



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    • #82

      Minuialwen those lights look wonderful, definitely something I'll look into ordering, thank you!

      It's going to be fun trying different light globes etc to see the various effects it's possible to produce.

      It's a pleasure to share in this adventure with you all (or at least the few of you who know it exists! )




      Dreamspheres thank you yes it's been great fun, so far so good!



      Ithildin sounds like the way to go

      Cheers for the video, yes they look fantastic!

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      • #83
        Minuialwen I've also been trying to think ahead maybe a little towards the garden, and was wondering if yourself or anyone else might be able to help with a question regarding the 34 Lakeside hobbit hole garden from the movie set?

        I noticed some photos before and after of the garden, and found it interesting they had started off with it full of gravel!






        Any ideas regarding the reason for this? (Drainage perhaps?)
        Have other gardens had the same treatment? (Maybe this is standard procedure with all of them?)

        I'm guessing maybe they've covered the gravel afterwards with a layer of soil to plant the garden into, but I just found this process really interesting!

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        • #84
          Originally posted by Valar View Post
          Minuialwen I've also been trying to think ahead maybe a little towards the garden, and was wondering if yourself or anyone else might be able to help with a question regarding the 34 Lakeside hobbit hole garden from the movie set?

          I noticed some photos before and after of the garden, and found it interesting they had started off with it full of gravel!


          Any ideas regarding the reason for this? (Drainage perhaps?)
          Have other gardens had the same treatment? (Maybe this is standard procedure with all of them?)

          I'm guessing maybe they've covered the gravel afterwards with a layer of soil to plant the garden into, but I just found this process really interesting!

          You couldn't ask me which mailbox/bell/fence/gate/lantern something belonged to, it just had to be a 'grounds' construction question, didn't it.
          I am finally home and now have time to quietly contemplate, go through a whole 'wack' load of pictures, and think some more about your ponderings.

          Here is what I have come up with.
          It seems that when 3foot7 went about planting in front of smials they tended to place 'thicker' layers of dirt where flower beds and trees were to go. When it came to the grass area, like your pictures show it was a gravel base with just a thin layer of dirt on top, although I have no 'real' proof, from the time of 3foot7, that dirt was ever actually used.


          We will start with #34, since this is the example you lead with.

          Picture taken September 2010
          This is much the same picture as yours above, only one can see better the height of the rocks, as well as the grass between the stepping stones by the door and the grass in the corner by the door.

          Some close-ups of the same picture:

          This shows that, yes dirt was placed between the stepping stones, most likely to level off the area, as well as possibably having more 'lush' grass, as one can see, by the 'natural' grass growing in the very corner, that grass will grow, no soil needed.

          This picture shows that the soil where the 'flower' bed is, is below the level of the gravel, thus is deeper than the soil where there is grass only.


          Much has happened between 2010 and 2017 or so when the picture you used was taken. Here is a picture from 2013, in which the plants were very much the same.

          The grass needs a bit of a trim, as the stepping stones can't even be seen.


          #33 is another good example of this same method being used.

          In this case they used 'raised rock gardens' in order to allow for deeper amounts of dirt so that more than just grass will grow.

          There are not even stepping stones for this smial, allowing the dirt path to show and maybe 'proving' that dirt was used over the gravel.

          Both of these smials are in the same area of Hobbition, just up from the Lake, so was this method used in other places in Hobbiton as well?
          I have only one other example that shows this method was used and that is of #40, which is right beside Bag End.

          Again, the plants are in deeper soil and planted first, then the soil and grass is added.


          I have no proof at all that any of the smials were done any differently. This is not to say that they were not done with a nice thick layer of soil with no gravel involved at all.

          I am no landscaper! Why the gravel first with just a 'thin' layer of top soil where the grass is to go?
          In looking up on the Web, the only reason I can come up with is that less will grow in a thin layer of soil, does this mean less weeds? Weeds that are easier to get rid of when only a thin layer of soil is used? I don't think it is for drainage, as it states that this type of 'grass planting' needs huge amounts of water or the grass will dry up and die. Maybe someone that knows more about landscaping, especially in a 'Hobbiton climate' will be able to better answer those questions for you Valar.

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          • #85
            Min is back Valar and you have got her talking about Hobbiton, all things are back to normal again.

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            • #86
              Originally posted by Ithildin View Post
              Min is back Valar and you have got her talking about Hobbiton, all things are back to normal again.




              You should be thankful that I am not showing you my latest finds of Hobbiton.

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              • #87
                Originally posted by Minuialwen View Post

                You should be thankful that I am not showing you my latest finds of Hobbiton.
                Pfff! New Hobbiton facts, who cares?

                Click image for larger version

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                • #88
                  Sorry Min! Next time I'll make sure I ask what colour the doorknob was or something

                  Thank you so much for your lengthy and thoughtful reply Minuialwen, and the time you've spent on it. Some really interesting info you've brought up and lots more food for thought indeed.

                  I agree with everything you've said, all of those seem like good reasons and logically make sense. Maybe it's as simple as that?

                  Perhaps the poor water retention ability of the thin soil layer isn't much of an issue in Matamata with the amount of rainfall they experience? And this sure would make weeding easier.

                  If only 3foot7 were here on the forum! Then we might be able to confirm the answers once and for all.

                  (and don't worry, I'm sure the questions about which mailbox/bell/fence/gate/lantern something belonged to will be on their way to you sometime soon! )


                  Originally posted by Ithildin View Post
                  Min is back Valar and you have got her talking about Hobbiton, all things are back to normal again.
                  Looks like you're right Ithildin !



                  Vicksken awww looks like someone needs some walkies!

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                  • #89
                    Hey Valar, I was talking with someone that has done a tiny bit of landscaping, and knows that Hobbiton was a movie set first and foremost, and here I thought they made it just for me to obsess over . Thus they brought up a few other ideas about why the grass/sod was placed on a layer of gravel, these are again just speculation, I really wish I knew someone from 3foot6 or 3foot7. They felt that it is very unlikely it has anything to do with drainage, even in an environment like Matamata.

                    Thinking strictly movie set; with the number of film crew and their equipment walking around Hobbiton and setting up in various locations, this can put a lot of 'stress' on grass, both in compacting it and the dirt and in 'digging holes and the likes into it'. If the thin layer of grass and dirt was on gravel, it would not compact as much, filming equipment would be more stable, and again be less likely to make 'divots' into the grass. If the grass did compact, became worn, in an 'unnatural' way, cutting out a piece of sod and replacing it with another 'healthy' piece would be much easier if the sod was only a couple of inches deep, plus less worry about getting the required amount of dirt just right. The same can be said about the same 'activity' being done over and over in the exact same spot, eg Bilbo's run to catch up with the dwarfs. If I remember correctly PJ had Martin Freeman do this run a number of times. Over time this path could get worn down, replacing it with 'fresh' grass would take a lot less time if the sod dug up was the same depth as the sod ready to be laid down. (Lets face it, there are people out there, like me, that look to see how many times it took to get a 'car breaking scene just right', all you have to do is count the number of skid marks there are on the road to figure that one out. One of my favorite activities to do while watching The Fast and The Furious . I am thinking it is much harder to get skid marks off a road, then it is to resod some grass that was placed down keeping in mind, it may need to be replaced.) No I idea if any of this actually is the reason for why they did the grassing the way they did it.

                    So when are you going to ask me about door know colours?

                    P.S. Vicksken , that puppy looks very much like my family when I bring up Hobbiton.

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                    • #90
                      Those are very good suggestions too Min! And I’d say quite likely true I reckon. Thank you for those!

                      Well fortunately I won’t need to worry about film crew trampling on my front garden but if it becomes an issue I’ll just have to put up a “no admittance” sign!

                      Hmmmmmm. What an unusual gardening technique indeed.

                      At least the colour of the doorknob is something I can give you an actual answer for, at least the one going on my hobbit hole: it’s brass!

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                      • #91
                        Originally posted by Valar View Post
                        Those are very good suggestions too Min! And I’d say quite likely true I reckon. Thank you for those!

                        Well fortunately I won’t need to worry about film crew trampling on my front garden but if it becomes an issue I’ll just have to put up a “no admittance” sign!

                        Hmmmmmm. What an unusual gardening technique indeed.

                        At least the colour of the doorknob is something I can give you an actual answer for, at least the one going on my hobbit hole: it’s brass!
                        Excellent choice Valar. Many of the smial doors have brass doorknobs. Which of course vary from plan round brass knobs to ones that are more decorative, some even have a decorative 'plate' behind them. Will you be having a door bell of any sort on your hobbit hole?

                        Looking forward to your next update.

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                        • #92
                          Originally posted by Minuialwen View Post

                          Excellent choice Valar. Many of the smial doors have brass doorknobs. Which of course vary from plan round brass knobs to ones that are more decorative, some even have a decorative 'plate' behind them. Will you be having a door bell of any sort on your hobbit hole?

                          Looking forward to your next update.
                          Thanks Min, yes I think I'll keep it as simple as is possible just plain brass.

                          I imagine a not overly wealthy or well-to-do hobbit lives here, yet who is still very respectable, who certainly wouldn't be seen going on any sort adventures of any kind (while anyone was looking at least) and someone who is always back in time for dinner!

                          A door bell? You mean those things that interrupt one's dinner unexpectedly??

                          Yup! I've got one of those
                          Last edited by Valar; 3rd October 2018, 01:14.

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