It’s been a long time coming, but our garden renovation is finally (okay, 95%) complete! There has been a lot of blood, sweat and tears… and money poured into this massive overhaul but it’s been so, so worth it on every level. We spend pretty much every afternoon outside now, we have loved having our friends and family over on sunny days and watering the garden in the evening has become like a mini therapy session for me.
Before we embarked on this reno, our garden was a disaster. Besides fixing up the pool we really hadn’t put any effort into it. It was bare, boring and quite honestly, a bit embarrassing. I shared this reel over here chatting about the advice we were given by Wayne from Eckards right in the beginning and looking back now that everything is done, I can’t believe we actually did it, it felt so daunting.
Wayne gave us really good advice according to what we needed: a lovely garden that was kid and dog friendly, easy to maintain and would add good value to our home. Once we had our checklist, we prioritized our projects (and budget) and decided when we would do what and how we would do it.
The first thing we tackled was sorting out the grass (or lack thereof) and all the tree felling that needed to get done. We made peace with the fact that grass was never going to grow in our garden – the ground was basically rock and if it hadn’t happened in the 5 years we’ve been living here, it just wasn’t meant to be. We finally bit the bullet and decided to lay artificial grass and oh my word, this is one of the best decisions we have ever made! It is definitely not a cheap option but it was money so worth spending. We chose to go with Easigrass and we were so impressed by their service. They had a range of different grasses to choose from; we went with one that would withstand our dogs running around on it and also had a few different colours to it, but not very long. The whole installation took under a day and they left the site spotless after they were done plus checked in a few days later to see if we were happy with everything. It’s been such a pleasure to have a beautiful green lawn that needs next to no maintenance, plus it’s such a waterwise option!
Next up was the tree felling, there was some serious work to be done. We wanted to keep as many of the trees as we could be there were a few that needed to go or were a bit of a safety hazard. We had a massive connifer that needed to get taken out completely, some big shrubs that weren’t doing us any favours as well as some random stumps that needed to get removed completely. We also needed some very big and heavy branches removed off some of the trees as they were not only pushing against our boundary wall, but also starting to hang over the electric cables on the street. If you’re in the Bedfordview area, I can highly recommend Disco and his team, they were so affordable and have insurance which is really important when tree felling. He and his team did such an amazing job and cleaned up like champs at the end of the day. You can reach him on 0727747371.
With those two big projects done, it was time for the third and final one; our built in bench that we did in collaboration with Builders. Our aim for our garden has always been for it to be low maintenance but ideal for entertaining so when we were left with this massive open garden bed right next to the pool, we decided to make the space funtional as opposed to decorative (although I think the bench is very aesthetically pleasing, don’t you?). Dan built the whole bench by himself over a few days and weekends when he had the time and he really did an incredible job! I love that there is storage space at the back for the pool nets and big floaties but still enough space in the front of the bench to sit down or even lie down in the sunshine if we want to. In fact we’ve tested the space very well and know that we can fit 4 friends, a ice bucket with wine and snacks on it quite comfortably! You can watch a little reel I made on it over here and see some more pics with info over here.
We’ve planted some jasmine next to the bench and I can’t wait for the day that it starts to trail over the top, but for now I’m on the lookout for some solar powered edison bulbs to hang, I think it would just look so pretty! On the other side of the bench I’ve planted some daisy bushes, they seem to be struggling a bit but I’m hopeful that they will soon start to flourish and fill out the space nicely. A few of you wanted to know if the wood would withstand the rain that we have over summer, and yes, it’s been sealed and treated so it’s good to go. We might need to re-treat it again in a few years but that’s no problem.
Right, three big projects; check. Next up; the paving.
We love the girls mud kitchen but the area just looked a bit messy. Wayne suggested that we put big square pavers down underneath and then pop some mondi grass in between them. We ended up doing exactly that for three quarters of the way and then planting some lovely greenery next to the tree. It makes such a massive difference and levels out the mud kitchen perfectly.
The second bit of paving we needed to do was on this very arb square in our garden that orginally had three stumps in it. The tree fellars removed the stumps for us which basically left a blank canvas. Instead of turning it into more garden bed, we paved it up the same way we did under the mud kitchen which made it the perfect spot to put my beloved Lifestyle Home & Garden bistro table set on. This has become a favourite spot of mine to sit and watch the girls play in the afternoons and also doubles up as more seating that we can move around when we have guests.
Once all that was done, it was time for the finishing touches, also known as: Sarah goes wild in Eckards!
Initially my mom in law helped me move some plants that we already had around and we planted them in a way that made more sense for our new layout. I also swiped a few bits and pieces from my mom’s garden… oops! Once that was done we could see where the gaps were that needed to be filled and which areas needed more height or colour.
I added the jasmine with trellises and daisy bushes, some more lavendar and bougainvillea and some lovely fuschias. I’ve started a little hydrangea corner and am really crossing all my fingers and toes that they don’t die. We also filled up the front bed with some beautiful Cape mallow, white gaura, petunias and iceberg roses. I also have two rectangular planters that I filled with begonias and lets not forget my two beautiful Baskiti hanging planters above our bench that I also filled up. Ideally I’d still love to pop some carpet roses down in some of the beds and I have two pots that are begging for some dahlias… watch this space!
In terms of what still needs to be done, there are a few things that we will get to. Like I mentioned, I still want to get some solar powered lights for above the bench, we need to build our pool pump cover with the left over wood, I’d love a 6 seater table that I can fold away behind the bench when we aren’t using it (I’ve spotted this one from Takealot) and we have some areas of brick paving that need to get repaired. But I suppose that’s the thing with having a home, the list is never ending is it?
Our garden is by no means a designer one but I am thrilled with how it’s turned out, it has honestly changed our family’s life. If you’re considering updating your garden, this is your sign to DO IT! It is costly, yes, but do it in stages and before you know it, you’ll have an amazing space to spend time in both alone, and as a family.