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
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Although we are now into week 9 of what was expected to be an 8 week project, I am still really thrilled with the progress we are making on the garden. We are definitely on the home stretch, and this week we completed what I think is my favourite feature so far: the recycled red brick path. As I mentioned earlier, we salvaged as many of the original red bricks as we could from the paving which used to be at the back door. These old bricks have such a lovely, warm and rustic feel to them which I just love, and I think they’ll complement both the more modern additions and the original features of the house.
After considering many options, we decided to use a curving path, as we felt it would give some softness to the long, narrow shape of the yard. Once that was decided, Tommaso got right into it — by now he really has his paving skills near perfect! String up the levels, level the ground, lay down the levelling sand, and start laying! Tommaso did such a great job with cutting all the bricks to create the slow sweeping curve of the walkway, and I love the way the path spreads and grows to fill the space!
We decided to complete the walkway in two distinct sections — the path which connects the garage to the house follows a primary pattern, and then the small area where we will erect the garden shed and the secondary outdoor basin was completed by laying the bricks at a 90 degree angle to the bricks in the walkway. Thinking ahead, we remembered to connect a water hose from the outdoor tap and ran it under the path. The hose will be required next week for installation of the irrigation system.
Next week we are planning on laying the turf, so in preparation we had delivery of premium potting soil (for the garden beds and the retaining wall), sandy loam (for the lawn area), gypsum (required to help break up the heavy clay soil which we have), and organic compost (also to aid in enriching the existing soil). We used some of the premium potting mix to build up the native garden bed slightly before planting some endemic plants: Correra Dusky Bells, Grevillea Gingin Gem and a Golden Wattle. These three species of plants should grow quickly and provide depth and interest along with attracting native wildlife, and once established, they are quite hardy and drought tolerant.
We picked up some flower mesh from the hardware store and placed it over the soil to protect the young plants from Rika’s inquisitive paws. It would have been nicer if we put the mesh down before the final layer of soil so it wasn’t so visible, but we didn’t think of that until after! Luckily it’s not very noticeable, and we plan to remove it once the plants have had a season or two to establish, so we won’t have to look at it forever.
Estimated time for project: 8 weeks
Time remaining: week 9! one week over schedule!
(Images and diary text: Laura Watson)