Laura's Backyard Renovation: The Home Stretch

Renovation Diary

The finished reclaimed brick walkway looking back towards the house.
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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.

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.

Planning out the shape of the walkway.
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Levelling sand is put down to ensure a flat walkway.
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Laying pavers again - we're getting good at this!
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A wet brick saw would have been a good idea...
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Oompa loompa!
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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!

The second section of red brick pavers will be used to house the small garden shed and the secondary outside basin.
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Finished! These red bricks are my favourite part of the new garden.
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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.

Delivery of soil for the lawn work next week - very exciting!
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We bought the organic compost, soil and gypsum from a local company.
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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.

The flower mesh and some of our new plantings.
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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!

Check out the full series (so far) and be sure to check back next week for installment #13 of Laura's Backyard Renovation.

(Images and diary text: Laura Watson)

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