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Backyard makeover with raised beds and seating

Cultivating a Following
Cultivating a Following
Retired Team Member

A comprehensive backyard renovation including raised garden beds, Merbau fence screening, outdoor seating and synthetic turf.





The project


We already had a good covered space for entertainment, so I wanted to make some uncovered outdoor seating. 




We had buffalo grass before and it was not growing as it should. The soil wasn't great underneath and big gum trees next to the boundary were not letting it grow. I spent almost a year trying to revive the grass and in the end decided to go with artificial turf. 


I completed this whole project by myself. 




Here's how I went about it: 


Step 1

Checked with council regarding screening height requirements. Made a Dial Before You Dig enquiry to ensure no utilities were present in the ground.


Step 2

Removed the old buffalo turf and later used it to fill the bottom half of the raised garden beds. Hired a Kanga mini loader to clean up the yard.




Step 3

Prepared the base for artificial turf: an 80mm layer using road base and then the top 20mm using crusher dust. The ground was graded properly so I followed it without digging much. I checked ground slope requirements throughout and used a plate compactor three times to ensure the base was properly compacted.


Step 4

Set up H4 treated Pine posts using post stirrups 200 mm from the existing fence (the distance between posts was 2.4 metres). I used a Ryobi 18V Brushless Planting and Digging Tool for the post holes.


Step 5

Connected posts using H3 fence rails.


Step 6

Stained posts and fence rails using Intergrain Merbau stain




Step 7

Fixed the Merbau timber screening panels using stainless-steel decking screws.    


Step 8

Prepared the screening panels for staining by using Intergrain UltraPrep Tannin and Oil Remover and Intergrain UltraPrep Timber Cleaner.   


Step 9

Applied three coats of Merbau stain.




Step 10

Built raised garden beds using 200 x 50mm H4 sleepers. Used three sleepers to get 600mm height. Covered internal sides of garden bed using heavy-duty builder's plastic. Cemented approximately 800mm sleeper pieces on the front side to support the front walls of the beds. Put internal cross-supports between the front and back walls of the beds to prevent bowing of the sleepers.


Step 11

Filled the bottom half of the garden beds using the old buffalo turf with roots upside-down to prevent any growth. I covered it with biodegradable weed mat. I filled the rest of the garden bed using garden soil, with a top layer of premium garden soil to give the plants the best possible start.




Step 12

Used blue board to cover the front of the garden bed. Used Dulux Texture Full Cover Exterior Paint to get a render finish.


Step 13

Set up irrigation with an Orbit B-Hyve wireless controller.




Step 14

Set up garden lighting using low-voltage outdoor lights.




Step 15

Installed artificial turf per the manufacturer's instructions.




Step 16

Made an outdoor dining table from leftover blue boards. I made the frame made using timber battens with blue boards on top and bottom.  I used expanding foam to fill empty spaces to prevent hollow noise. I covered the blue board using fine-coat render to achieve a polished-concrete finish. I also bought Mimosa Malibu bar stools


Plants used




Some of the plants in the raised garden beds include:


  • Robinia pseudoacacia "Lace Lady"
  • Plectranthus parviflorus "Blue Spires"
  • Star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)
  • Variegated star jasmine "Sunlover"
  • Ficus "Emerald" in standard topiary form 
  • Petunias
  • Daisies
  • Standard roses
  • Climbing roses
  • Cordylines
  • Campanula takesimana (Korean bellfower)
  • Lilies
  • Lavenders (including variegated varieties)
  • Limonium (sea lavender)
  • Dahlias
  • Cyclamen
  • Duranta "Geisha girl"
  • Cycas revoluta (sago palm)
  • Natives with purple flowers (I can't remember the name)
  • Magnolia figo
  • Magnolia grandiflora "Teddy Bear" 
  • Magnolia x loebneri "Leonard Messel"
  • Ornamental grape vine
  • Japanese maple
  • Mondo grass (black and variegated varieties) 
  • Climbing Mandevillas (red and white).

Before and after


















More project inspiration for your garden


Workshop member Jimi carried out a front-yard transformation involving a curving stone retaining wall and crazy paving complemented by thoughtful garden planting.




Workshop member EleventhCoastal created a low-maintenance garden that makes use of Oxy-Shield steel garden edging  and Lytworx garden lighting.




How to plan a garden makeover


Horticulturist and Bunnings Workshop member Adam_W has created these helpful guides: How to plan a garden makeover and How to give your garden a makeover. Fellow horticulturist Noelle also created the hellpful guide has the guide How to created How to choose plants for your garden, which includes tips on garden design.




There are plenty more great ideas in our Top 10 most popular landscaping projects and Top 10 most popular garden makeovers.

Our Top 10 most popular raised garden beds and Top 10 most popular planter box projects should also spark some ideas for your garden.


Let us know if you need a hand with your own project. Start a discussion and tell us what you need.


Kind of a Big Deal

@SmileDesigner OMG !!!!!!!!! That’s amazing, what a difference it makes. Makes you want to spend all of your time in the backyard, I love it , especially the fencing, heaps better than looking at Colorbond. Gee whizz, sensational !! 😃😃

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