Saturday, May 5, 2012

Back Yard (Garden) Clean-up

Folks, this is nothing short of a miracle.  Here's the garden as it currently looks.  It's finally decent!

I've had big plans for our back garden.  In my scenario the garage would go, so would the pavement.  Here's the backyard about a year ago.

My plan was to put in a long garage door (there's back lane access and off street parking, even if unused by us, would be a selling point in the future), lay a nice big paving stone patio and build a covered pergola. I spent the winter collecting ideas on pinterest

But, things changed and we needed to sell our home.  In speaking with estate agents and others, we wouldn't recoup money invested on my proposed back yard makeover (it would cost a few thousand at least), so we did a modified version.

It has been a process, beginning last year.  It started with removing the satellite dish and some wires running from the garage into the house.  And getting a lawn mower and some other gardening tools.  Can you see how crazy overgrown the apple tree is?

With all the house construction the backyard has been a dumping ground sometimes.

And the tree and surrounding area a nightmare.

The apple tree we haven't learned how to handle (yet), and with a bumper crop of apples there were loads left rotting on top of the garage roof through the winter.

For Christmas we got the tree pruned by a tree surgeon.  It was one of the best Christmas presents!  The garage isn't great (the roof is corrugated plastic) and with a very wet winter  and a few major cracks and holes everything inside was rusted and ruined.  So a few weeks ago we decided to put in some effort.  Can you see the garage full of, erm, stuff?

How about now?

We borrowed a power washer from a friend.  People, the secret to yard work in the UK is a power washer.  I could NOT believe what a change it made to the back pavement.  I was sure I would be using brick acid and scrubbing on my (very pregnant) hands and knees.  But Niall managed to work wonders.  Sorry for the glare, but here's Niall in action.

I wanted to show how much difference the power washer made, but this picture doesn't show it.

Maybe this one does?

After cleaning the pavement (it took about two days), some missionaries from church kindly volunteered to come over and help us.  For six long hours we cleaned out the garage (four trips to the dump with our little car loaded with dirty garage junk.)

I never got a very good picture, but in the back corner there was an open compost pile that has been an ongoing eyesore.  Here's a photo from before we replaced the back gate.

Then Niall and the missionaries worked on clearing the compost pile. I guess yard work is a lot of fun for a toddler.

I bought a composting bin from the Council (£5, thank you Cardiff Council) and we used some gravel to fill in the area (some we picked picked up for free, the rest we purchased.)

We had a handyman make some repairs to the garage (replace some rotten wood, repair some broken roof panels), did some painting and had a garage door repair team fix the garage door.  (Our garage door is an up and over.  A replacement door was in the region of £500, so we were very happy the repair guys could get it working again!)  A little girl was pretty excited about the change.

Niall painted the windows and was proud enough he took a photo in the process.

It's not perfect, but the back garden looks much nicer and is pretty safe for toddler play.  An almost empty garage has been a bonus and it turned the backyard/garden from a selling liability to a nice little asset.

The total cost for the garden makeover this Spring was about a week of work and came in under 500 pounds.  (Assuming the increased water bill from the power washer doesn't kill us.)

Compost Bin:  £5
Paint:  £5 (on clearance from Homebase, bought months ago!)
Tree Surgeon: £120
Handyman (including supplies):  £150
Garage Door Repair:  £85
New Garage Door Lock:  £17
Pizza for missionaries: £30
Gravel:  £11

Total:  £423

1 comment:

gpa said...

Looks great, and even better in person. You've done wonders with your place, and such love and detail!.