Like a lot of people, we had a bland backyard. After some tinkering – painting the inside of the treated Pine fence, and building a small deck and garden beds – my wife pushed me to jump into this renovation.
We started with the earthworks to get the levels for the boardwalk and decks – approximately $800 for one day of a tradesperson with a mini-excavator and bobcat. And, yes, that's red clay you can see. It was dry most of the time we were working (April-Aug in Brisbane), but added 2cm to the boots when wet.
Side of house
Along back of house between back fence
The concrete slab for the garden shed was outsourced – approximately $1,100. Recruited my (adult) children to spread mulch, erect the garden shed, and help build the boardwalk. I don't have exact figures but $350 for 5m3 Cypress mulch, $700 for the boardwalk timber (150 x 800mm x 25mm plank tops) and $1,100 for semi-advanced plants.
Garden in corner between 2 decks: palms, waterhouseas, red cordylines, elephant ears, giant bird of paradise, frangapani
Palms, agave, variegated cordylines
We built a 4.5m x 2.1m back deck for around $700.
I used 100 x 75 H4 Pine fence posts on their sides for bearers then innovated by using 100 x 50 fence rails for the joists to keep the cost down. I ended up using three lengths for each section to reduce bounce, rather than the two that I had planned on. I also needed to keep the overall height in mind. I lay the bearers onto the ground, made each section no more than 1800mm, and overlapped the joists on a common bearer so they were all interconnected and there would be less chance of movement.
I fixed the joists to the bearers with angle brackets. Again, I could have gone for something stronger but I figured it would only have one or two people at a time on each section so it didn't need to be built like a dance floor. The planking on top was 200 x 25mm Pine cut to 800mm to get an integral number of them from a 4.8m length. The planking was fixed with 3 x 3 rows of decking screws to reduce cupping.
About a month later, we started on the side deck. I was finding the construction techniques a bit overwhelming as there's a 400mm fall between the house and the fence, so there was a bit of procrastination but we got there. It was around $1,500 for the timber, hardware, and nail gun hire.
Starting out on the side deck
We've more than doubled the alfresco area, so it's gone from being a holding space for the barbecue and table to a relaxing space.