I have lived in this house going on 14 years now and the backyard was the last big area to tackle. 45 years on and it needed a lot of work! A few years ago I replaced our 1970’s kitchen. Last year hubby did an amazing job renovating the bathroom. We also had our rusty, leaking verandah replaced with an insulated patio. Now onto the backyard!
Let me say at 38 weeks pregnant this backyard makeover happened just in time to enjoy the garden with our new little girl on the way! Since it is such a huge transformation I thought i would post photos on here of the landscaping before and after if you are looking for your own ideas.
Our Garden Before
We have a wide, shallow backyard that slopes towards the house. Our soil is basically sand. The space we were working with measured about 14 metres wide and 8 metres long.
We have been able to enjoy the space more in winter with a portable fire pit and lovely winter sun that warms half the patio. Summer is a different story!
The hot afternoon sun hits the patio and the house. Along the back fence there are some beautiful big trees; a paperbark and bottle brush which provide shade. Plus, shade from neighbour’s trees. The sloping garden made it difficult to sit back there.
Oh, and also there were some very big and deep holes from giving the kids permission to dig to their heart’s content. Plus, drainage issues with water going into the shed because of the level of sand.
The Backyard Renovation Plan
On my list:
- Getting rid of the slope.
- New paving area at the back of the garden where all the lovely shade is in summer.
- Including space for both raised garden beds.
- Level ground to the floor height of the shed.
- Lawn (Well that was hubby and kids’ request!)
I did spend a lot of time browsing Pinterest, watching backyard makeover videos etc looking for ideas. None of it was very useful! I just didn’t find many gardens (like any) that had the issues that we were facing. Instead I got the most help from talking with the landscapers who came out to quote the job.
Like telling me that if I levelled the backyard to the fence then the fence would fall over. Also pointing out that the house behind us sits higher. Oh yeah! If we put lawn in, we need to also put reticulation in for it. In the end, it wasn’t so much about what plants to put in but what we wanted the bones of the space to look like.
Backyard Makeover: Before
Ok, first I have to share with you our backyard before. This was at the end of our wettest winter in 20 years so yes the weeds and grass were doing well. It did get mowed after these photos!
Can you spot the 2nd raised garden bed on the right that is taken over by couch grass and weeds? Oh, and trying out paint colours on the shed!
Yep, that’s a great Australian clothesline which had rusted through. We already had an alternative clothesline under the patio which we use.
Rock/sand pile dug up from the side of the shed by myself and one of the kids. Trying to solve the problem of water draining into the shed.
A bright spark in the garden… winter silverbeet!
So in the end the landscaping design was fairly simple. Put in a retaining wall along the back of the garden and level the backyard to the wall. Then have 3 sections; an area for lawn, paving, and wood chips for the vegie beds.
We got a local landscaper to do most of the work. Yes, it increased the budget a lot more than what us DIYers are use to. But I am so glad we made that decision.
And here are a few photos of the process.
Two days of moving a whole a lot of sand, grass and rock. Bye, bye sloping garden! They had to get a small digger in for this part.
Ground is level and retaining wall starts to go in. Wall built from large limestone blocks.
(We chose to go for a circular wall rather than a straight wall.)
Paving almost finished. We chose these limestone coloured pavers. Prep work done for the grass area and setting out where to put the raised vegetable beds.
Checking out the progress. Is the garden makeover cat approved?
Backyard Makeover: After
And here’s what it looks like now…
Space, we have so much space we can use now!!
We have retic and grass!! Kids and hubby are happy. Grass is Palmetto, a soft leaf buffalo.
Can you believe how different the shed looks painted? I painted it in Dulux Weathershield Paperbark (38 weeks pregnant too!) which is the same colour as the trim and gutters on our house. The trim is colorbond Surfmist which matches the patio.
(There is still more of the shed to paint but that will have to wait to post baby!)
And herbs are happy to be back in the garden! Have thyme, oregano, basil and Italian parsley growing.
And again our backyard makeover before and after…