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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Backyard Makeover With Some Patio Pimping

It has been a couple of months since we did any gardening or tidying up in our backyard and with us hosting Christmas Day that was enough motivation to get stuck in and make it look as good as we could. So over the last few weekends we've done a bit here and there - ripped down the old patio fence, put up new shade cloth, set up a swimming pool, laid pavers to it, synthetic turf, lights and some decor.
The patio brushwood fence we pulled down before it fell down a few months ago but I didn't like how open it made the backyard and wanted some privacy around the patio again. We had some leftover cream coloured shade cloth and our lovely neighbor saw us working and offered some mesh panels he had and they fit the length of the patio perfectly. So we pushed in some steel pickets and attached the mesh to the steel pickets and patio beams, then attached the shade cloth to the mesh with some wire. It took us just a few hours and we had our new shade cloth fence up and privacy was restored!
The lawn we laid out the backyard died last summer and Lexi our backyard destroyer has since turned the backyard into a big black sand pit. So we decided this was the perfect spot to set up our $150 swimming pool under the shade of the gum tree to cool off in on Christmas Day and through the Summer. Mr P prepared the ground shovelling sand out the way and checking it was flat with a level, the preparation is always the most important step if you do that right you shouldn't have any dramas with the pool leaking. I won't mention that this dusty sand shovelling happened AFTER we had swept and cleaned the patio and wiped all the chairs and tables clean and they all got covered in dust and I had to do it all over again the next day! No I won't mention that little hiccup :P
The pool took us about 45 minutes to set up and 6 hours to fill with water so it wasn't until the next day that we could lay the pavers. We raked and flattened the ground from the patio to the pool and laid some pavers that were given to us for free by a friend a few weeks ago. By now it was Christmas Eve the sun was setting so we popped a nice chilled bottle of sparkling and had a drink while we lugged 80 odd pavers from the garage out the back down the steps to the pool. They did the job they will make it easier to get to the pool and hopefully stop too much sand and dirt getting into the water.
The small garden bed along the back of house is also now a sand pit after the few plants we had there got crushed or we transplanted them when we installed the french doors. There will eventually be a deck built out here so we aren't too fussed on putting a garden bed in but still want it to look nice and dirty sand just ain't doing it! So we headed to Bunnings just before closing time for some artificial turf and got the last few metres off a roll so they gave us an extra 1.5 metres for free which we cut off the excess and laid near the pool.
Oh and how about my pair of flamingos! Aren't they awesome? Because they're metal I think they'll last well in the weather unlike the plastic type ones I've seen in stores. And best of all Lexi won't chew them either. I've already had heaps of comments about them I think they add a bit of fun and colour to the garden and they were such a good price too. My favourite part of the makeover for sure!

Our patio is pretty big it's a great size and has a really high ceiling but it is old and rusty and I'm sure it's just one more Winter away from falling down on one side where the metal has totally rusted away. Until we need to pull it down and build another one we are making the most of what we have but it was in dire need of some pimping! We hung Christmas jingle bells and disco balls from fishing line and the disco balls reflect the sunlight and pretty light patterns play up all around the patio and they even reach inside the kitchen through the french doors.
The paper flowers came flat packed and I spent about an hour fanning out the papers to make them look like flowers but I think they look really good for just a few dollars they've made a big impact hung together in a cluster. I got them for Christmas but I really like them so they'll be staying up there now until the weather gets to them!
The fairy lights are the longest I could find at 40 metres and we threaded them all along the centre beams of the patio roof and they get plugged into the granny flat power. I don't know why I waited so long to get some fairy lights, it's amazing what lighting can do to a space they really create a nice atmosphere and are much better party lighting than the flood lights being on!
The bridge from the back door out to the granny flat and backyard needed some cheering up and these blue solar lanterns did just the trick, they look pretty in the day time and at night light up really well it's hard to believe they are solar powered by the sun they are pretty bright. The plants and hanging baskets I thought were a pretty good deal as they included the funky orange pot and so long as the plants survive my black thumb and I remember to water them they'll do just fine!
I'm pretty happy with what we did to the backyard and I guess I'm starting to look at it like the inside of the house, add a bit of colour, decor and creativity and it turns a boring backyard into a space ready for the festive season and Summer entertaining.
Backyard makeover budget:
3.5 mtrs artificial turf, Bunnings  $75
Pavers, free from friend  $0
Shade cloth, steel pickets, wire - already had  $0
Mesh panels for patio, free from neighbor  $0
Blue solar lights, Target $20
40 mtrs fairy lights, The Reject Shop $25
Hanging pots and plants, Bunnings $18
Disco balls 6 pack, Thingz Living $5
Jingle bells 6 pack, Red Dot $1
Paper flowers 3 packs, The Reject Shop $9
Flamingos, Kmart $24
Do you have any tips for turning a boring backyard into a pretty festive entertaining space?
[All images my own]
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  1. Looks great, and lots of hard work too....we'll be building a new house in 2014, think I may have to call you around to help with all the work of landscaping the new garden, seeing you are already in training, hahaha!

    1. Its always worth the work when you have improved the place that you live. How exciting for you! I am happy to offer any advice I can and Pinterest is the muse to most of my house and garden inspiration :)

  2. You put in a lot of hard work and wow even a pool!! I love all the lights and the paper flowers, so pretty. I am sure your party was a roaring success! Are you going to keep the pool up so you can co to us to enjoy it?

    1. Thanks Carrie it was a big hit, have just put a new post about our Christmas Day party up on the blog today :) Yes the pool will stay up through Summer hopefully another 2 months if we are still using it. Its been great even to just dip my feet in at the end of a long day in heels!

  3. Happy New Year Michelle! It looks like you have made a lot of progress in the yard already. My favorite low cost project was the lattice privacy fence that I did next to the patio. I hang the flower baskets from the four by four posts and string lights for the holidays and in the summer across the length of the fence. The bonus is that my clematis loves to climb the lattice to the top and makes a beautiful visual barrier.

    1. Happy New Year to you too Candy! Thank you, yes every little project adds up and we are turning it into a nice space to hang out in. I love your idea of using the lattice I bet it looks spectacular when its all green with plants.

  4. Hey Michelle, I'm think of getting myself an inflatable pool. What did you think it? Worth getting? cheers Lisa

    1. Definately! We kept ours up for about 3 months and it was nice to just have somewhere to dip your feet and cool off after a hot day! I'd recommend getting one with a frame around it as it holds its shape better. A cover is a must to keep floaters out otherwise you'll be cleaning it all the time. We also got one of those floating chemical dispensers which worked well :)


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