Renovation Diary: The Inspiration for Laura's Backyard Reno

The look we're going for - relaxed, informal, functional and fun. Image from Creo Landscape Architecture + Urban Design.
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Name: Laura Watson
Type of Project: Outdoor renovation
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Type of building: Semi-detached shop front/cottage with 1200 sq. ft. backyard

The Renovation Diaries are a collaboration with our community in which we feature your step by step renovation progress and provide monetary support towards getting it done in style. See all of our Reno Diaries here.

We've already introduced you to Laura's backyard renovation project, and today we're taking a look at her inspiration for the finished space.

From Laura:

Probably the best word to describe the style we are hoping to achieve in our garden would be 'functional' — we want a space that encourages multiple uses.

This image incorporates many of the things I’m hoping to, like a decent lawn area, and a nice space for entertaining. I quite like this basic layout and the use of different materials and textures. The entertaining area is defined with planters, and they’ve built retaining walls along the lawn from natural wood, which gives it an earthier feel. Image from The Garden Builders.
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We are doing all the design ourselves. I did the design of our kitchen and that was a process I really enjoyed. After living in a space, I think it’s easier to get a feel for what works. While playing around with designs and layouts for the garden, I toyed with the idea of creating a very geometric, modern space, but I didn’t feel it would fit with the more traditional style of our 1910 home. I decided that I would rather incorporate some curved lines, to create a softer feel, and to help break up the long, narrow space.

An example (from Floral & Hardy) of the curved lines which I'm hoping to use to give a soft feel to the space.
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While searching for inspiration, I found that I was drawn to images which seemed to create very distinct areas, often utilizing different types of boundaries. I’m hoping to create something that has this feel — a space that invites you to explore. However, on the other hand, I’m aware that by trying to incorporate too much, or dividing the space too much, I could end up making the space feel too cluttered.

This is a nice example of espalier citrus. Spotted on Merrywood Plants.
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We are planning to incorporate the following components: an enclosed garage, a grassed area, an entertaining area, a small retaining wall where I’m hoping to establish some espalier fruit trees, and a small garden bed where Rika can have some fun! Although we love the look of wood decking, the cost and ongoing maintenance influenced our decision, so we’ve decided to do a paved area for entertaining, and we will order fresh turf for the lawn — to give it the best chance!

An espalier pear tree (from Magic Herb Garden) although I’m planning on including evergreen varieties, maybe a few citrus. I love the idea of growing fruit at home, and I was inspired by the winner of the Gardenista best edible garden competition. I’ve never grown an espalier before, and my history of keeping plants thriving leads me to thinking I’d better do some research!
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We're going with concrete pavers for the entertaining area, probably in a charcoal. We are going to recycle the red clay pavers from the pergola area and also any that we can salvage from the demolition of the outdoor toilet to use for the new walkway. Our garage will come from Olympic Industries.

I love the look of these planter boxes (from Box Design), and am considering incorporating something along these lines to help create the defined areas I’m looking to re-create in the garden.
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Check out the intro post to read more about Laura's project and see diagrams of the proposed changes, and be sure to join us tomorrow as Laura discusses her budget.

(Image credits: Creol Landscape Architecture and Urban Design; number; The Garden Builders; Floral and Hardy; Merrywood Plants; Magic Herb Garden; Box Design)

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