Landscaping Our Garden: Before – Day 0

Next week sees a pretty exciting time in the DADventurer household as we call in the professionals to renovate our garden. I’m not going to lie, it’s been a long time coming and we’re stretching ourselves a bit financially, but the end result is going to be awesome for us as a family. The icing on the cake would be an appearance by the braless garden beauty known as Charlie Dimmock, but it might be a little cold for her at the moment.

If you can’t be bothered to read the rest of this, here’s a lil video which gives you a flavour for what we’re doing:

Let me take you back to October 2010 when the missus and I bought our very first house. It had been rented for a number of years, so it wasn’t in the greatest of shape – there was nothing too bad, it just needed a lot of TLC (that’s tender loving care, not the R&B girl group). Over the years, we’ve gone about decorating the entire house ourselves and have upgraded various bits, like boarding the attic, getting a new boiler, paving the driveway and installing bi-fold doors – the latter being the first step on our garden transformation journey.

Renovating Our Garden Bi Fold Doors Inside

When we moved in, the back of our living room had the crappiest doors / windows known to man. Made from rotting wood, barely secure and not very energy efficient, we knew that we were going to have to replace this as soon as possible. What we decided to do was modernise our home by installing black, aluminium bi-fold doors rather than a patio or French doors.

Renovating Our Garden Bi Fold Doors Outside 2

Made from three separate panels which fold in on themselves as they slide open, we are literally able to open up the back of our house. This has obviously had benefits when it comes to security and energy efficiency, but it also means that we’ve added a a pretty cool design feature to our house which allows us to bring the outside in, thus transforming our living space. Or at least that’s the plan when the garden is done.

Renovating Our Garden Bi Fold Doors Outside

After installing the bi-fold doors, the plan was always to get our garden landscaped. However, because life is life, there’s always been another task more pressing – getting married, doing the bathroom, having a baby, buying FIFA on the PS3 each year etc. This has meant that we’ve just had to make do with our current garden layout.

When we bought the house, the garden was a proper mess. Being a rented property, it hadn’t been cared for, which meant that everything was so overgrown that you could barely get onto the grass. I’m no Alan Titchmarsh, so I knew I was never going to be able to transform the garden myself, but I could get out the shears, saws and spades to at least make the garden usable.

Renovating Our Garden Chopping Bushes

So that’s what I did. I lost many, many, many hours hacking my way out of the jungle known as our garden, but it was definitely worth it. This included chopping down a tree, cutting down bushes that blocked the bi-fold doors and removing a mass of tangled greenery which had taken over the back wall. Since then, our garden has basically been an empty shell as we’ve waited to get the professionals in (landscape gardeners, not the CI5 agents).

It’s kind of difficult to tell from photos, so let me briefly describe our garden. When you come out of the bi-fold doors, you’re met with a slight step down to a raised concrete area. From here, you walk down a number of concrete steps to reach the garden. Either side of you are raised flower beds built from brick, to the far right is a paved area and in front of you is another flower bed.

It doesn’t sound too bad – and it’s not – but it’s hardly ideal. As we get so much sun at the back of our house, most of the brickwork is crumbling, the raised concrete area is subsiding and the concrete / sharp edges can hardly be described as toddler-friendly. We’ve managed to make use of the garden – BBQ’s, paddling pools, letting the sprog explore etc – but it’s got so much more potential despite being quite small in size.

Renovating Our Garden Chilling On Grass

So what do we plan on doing to transform the garden? Firstly, we’re going to remove all concrete, brickwork and grass to take it back to basics. From there, we’re going to create a raised decked area from the bi-fold doors which will be bigger than the current concrete area. Steps – in a similar position to present – will then lead down to a lower decked area which we’ll use for dining. This will include integrated benches against the fence and take up a big proportion of the current grassed area.

In front of the raised decked area, we’ll have a custom build shed which will be the same height and have a sedum green roof – i.e. a roof with living plants – then the remaining strip of garden will have new turf. Railings, painted fences, power sockets, integrated lighting and plants will complete the transformation. Maybe this drawing will help bring it to life…

Landscape Garden Plans

And that’s that. Work should start early next week and I plan on updating you with the progress in subsequent posts. Fair to say, we’re pretty excited about getting this done after first discussing it with the landscape gardeners this time last year. We expect a bit of noise, disruption and lighter wallets, but we can’t wait to transform the garden so we actually have an awesome family-friendly outside space.

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