Laura's Backyard Renovation: What It Really Cost: A Budget Breakdown

Laura's Backyard Renovation: What It Really Cost: A Budget Breakdown

Jun 25, 2014
(Image credit: Laura Watson)
(Image credit: number)

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

Yesterday we were witness to the dramatic transformation of Laura's backyard. Today we're taking a look behind the scenes at a part of the project many of you may be curious about: the budget. We'll be comparing the final budget to her original project budget, to see what cost less than she thought it would and what cost more.

From Laura:

We ended up $1782.67 over our initial budget, which we didn’t mind at all considering that our initial budget was only a very rough estimate. There were a lot of expenses which we didn’t budget for, including the irrigation system and the outdoor sink, but there were other areas where we saved some money, so in the end we didn’t blow out the budget too much.
Something that did surprise us was every time we took a trip to the local hardware store for something we could easily come out having spent $100 on bits and pieces, which all adds up over the couple of months we spent on this project.

Editor's note: All budget estimates are in Australian dollars. Right now, an Australian dollar equals about 94 cents, but this can vary.

Budget Specifics:


    Demolition and removal of waste: $1000
    Other labor: hopefully $0
    Total: $1000

    Demolition and removal of waste – two skip bins of DIY demolition: $460
    Additional excavation, leveling and removal of waste (Jim’s digging company – this amount also included delivery of leveling sand for paving): $1346
    Beer for our plumber friend who connected the water in the backyard: $60
    Total: $1866

    Difference: +$866


    Council approval: $200

    Council approval: $200

    Difference: $0


    Garage: $5000
    Concrete footings/foundation for garage: $1500
    Paving: $1000
    Turf: $500
    Plants: $500
    Retaining wall: $500
    Tools, equipment, etc: $300

    Total: $9300

    Garage: $5170
    Lights and electrical for garage: $163.30
    Concrete footings/foundation for garage: $1196 ($940 concrete and $256 for other items including Rio reinforcing mesh and damp course) Small garden shed: $free

    Paving $931.50
    Sweeping sand for paved area $18.95

    Turf $414
    Soil/Gypsum/Compost $223.70
    Soil fertiliser $22.95
    Pop up irrigation system $520

    Plants $211.90 (Citrus trees are not included as we have to wait for spring to plant these)

    Retaining wall $355.50
    Trailer hire for transport of retaining wall bricks: $50

    Tools and equipment $155.87

    New pot for existing lime tree $99
    New outdoor sink $200.85
    Supplies to replace section of the fence where the outdoor toilet was previously located $220
    Support posts in retaining wall for future espalier of citrus trees $50
    Miscellaneous items from the hardware store $213.15

    Total: $10,216.67

    Difference: +$916

Total Budget (Projected):


Total Budget (Actual):




Readers, Check out the full series to see the whole renovation process, step-by-step. And tune in tomorrow for Laura's final thoughts on what she learned during the renovation.

The Renovation Diaries are a new 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.

(Images and Diary Text: Laura Watson)

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