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Backyard makeover

Ben
Established Contributor
Ben
Ben
Established Contributor

A dark, sloping backyard was transformed into a thriving garden and usable space for relaxing, entertaining and play.

 

 

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The project

 

We recently moved into a new home and were fortunate to have the entire block landscaped, except for the rear yard area. At around 25m wide and 12m deep, it was a large and under-utilised space – thick with mature trees and therefore dark and gloomy, with exposed sandy soil that had been seeded with lawn seed.

 

It also sloped from rear to front, and from left to right, so was an awkward level for play.

 

The main living area looked out onto it and so it really depressed the mood of the entire house.  Plus it was a massive space that the kids just didn't use. 

 

October 2017

 

All trees in place. Just dirt. Very dark and scruffy. With the excitement of a brand new home, this is the missing piece of the puzzle, and the one disappointment.  At this stage I'm considering a D.I.Y. job of laying turf over the top myself.

 

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November 2017

 

One tree taken out, grass is trying to grow but just not getting there.

 

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December 2017

 

Decided to bite the bullet and bring in a professional landscaper. Nine mature trees removed – if you ever do this make sure all tree removal permits are in order – had no idea of the process involved prior to going through it myself.  Light is flooding into the yard and the house now, and we're feeling hopeful it could take shape as a great space. The landscaper suggested bringing in additional soil to help level the area, hence the additional tier of retainer posts you can see.

 

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January 2018

 

Wow, we are rapt.  Lots of turf watering ahead of us, but the space looks amazing, and the kids can't wait to get onto it. The area has been levelled and turfed, and additional retainer completed. 

 

Also the view from within the house living area through to the yard is amazing – we no longer hide the backyard with curtains closed, but open them wide and the light and colour just bounces in now.  A few plants to add around the base of the remaining trees and the final finishing touches.

 

We opted for a type of Kikuyu grass. It gets a bad wrap for its aggressive runners and rhizomes, but it's relatively soft underfoot and hard wearing for kids and pets.

 

Before and after

 

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How to give your garden a makeover

 

Whether a simple refresh or a major rebuild, improving your garden means that you’ll be able to enjoy the results for years to come.

 

Horticulturist and Workshop member Adam Woodhams has written fantastic guides for giving your garden a makeover and planning what you want to do with the space long term. He has also shared a step-by-step guide to building a retaining wall so you can follow a similar backyard design to Ben's project.

 

Find more inspiration for your backyard project in our Top 10 most popular garden makeovers.

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