18 July 2013

My Home: The backyard transformation

 Our backyard. Our sanctuary. Our place to relax. Our haven. Our home!

In this post you will find our progress so far of our backyard transformation ...
When we purchased the home I said that I wanted to make the backyard more private and a place to unwind. These photos are what we have achieved on weekends over the last 9 months. Of course with any renovation there is still more to do, however I was just so excited with what we have accomplished so far and wanted to share it with you all!

Here are some before pictures so you know what we were working with...

BEFORE - this is a photo we took during a real estate inspection, A chicken resided in the backyard, along with kids toys and lots of other things
BEFORE - this is a photo we took during a real estate inspection

The first thing we did was remove the clothesline that took up half of the backyard as you can see in the photos! We then installed a foldaway one off the rear fence, which is much more space efficient.

As it was nearing Christmas my husband had asked me what I wanted as a gift, I said all I wanted was to sit outside on a deck and enjoy Summer. So it's what I got. I went away for a weekend and he thought it would be a good idea to surprise me by building a new deck. As he had never built a deck before, or worked with timber for that matter, I think it took a little longer than he envisioned. When I returned  home, the existing narrow patio roof, was removed to make way for a new roof over the deck we were to build. The existing patio roof was small, meaning that we couldn't fit a decent outdoor table under it to enjoy the outdoor space. The roof line also came down quite low, blocking alot of natural light from inside the home. The deck structure and frame was also laid, the posts converted and the decking boards were starting to be laid. It was a massive surprise and I was so excited!

Below is a short progress video - don't you love Coopar the Border Collie who supervises the work?!!

The deck has been built and the roof painted - what a difference it makes!

Once the deck was built it took us forever to decide on the roof and what we wanted. Being a roofer I think the pressure was on my husband to come up with a masterpiece. As our neighbour surrounds is very bushy and full of gum trees and nature we wanted to tie the roof, deck and whole backyard in with that. We decided to do corrugated Colorbond in  
Woodland Grey to match the rest of the main house roof. We then planned to plaster it underneath to make an internal ceiling, so we can install lighting and fans for the tropical QLD weather. We made great progress with the roof and got it up in one day between us, with the help of a few people who gave up a few hours here and there throughout the day - special thanks to our neighbour Daz, Ben and stepdad Mike :) We were so excited, once the roof was on we were able to enjoy the deck more, as we were now not being cooked by the hot QLD sun!

Building the framework

Laying the first sheets, just before the sun set

Screwing off the roof as the sun set on another productive day

Our next task was to remove the external wall cladding to the rear of the house - this allowed us to get the windows replaced and to then concrete it and render it. I felt as though the cladding made the area and house appear smaller, so we smoothed it all off by placing concrete blue board sheets on the walls and then rendering it. We used Harditex sheeting which is a cost effective product which is quite lightweight for construction and ideal
for recladding. We then rendered it with
Rockcote's textured blend. You can buy the colours in the render pre mixed, however we opted for a plain concrete base so we could paint it ourselves. We also removed the existing eave lining, installing new eave lining and painting it white to compliment the white windows and framing.

Progress shot of the new white aluminium windows and the cladding removed

The neighbours thought we were keeping the exterior blue!! Ohhh no, there was still painting to do :)

Once our new windows were installed it started to feel like we had made some serious progress in changing the aesthetics of the rear of the home. We had 1980's brown aluminium window frames with security screens on them. When you were inside the house looking out it was hard for your eye to not get 'stuck' at the brown security screen and made the home feel smaller and 'boxed in'. We opted for new white powder coated aluminium windows from C-View Windows who custom make and order at their local factory, so therefore you can get the perfect fit when replacing your windows. I was so thrilled with them, when inside your eye now flows straight outside, bringing the outdoors in, making the home feel so much larger and spacious. We were at the same time able to update our architraves internally, so we opted for a modern splay look instead of the colonial heritage architraves. We then set to work outside framing the windows on the rear wall with skirting board pieces. I think it really sets off the new windows and frames them well. Of course then the dreaded task of painting occurred. We set to work on one weekend and painted the new rendered wall and the white window frames. 

In between all of this, we painted the fence, stripped back the outdoor timber setting, dug up some of the lawn to make way for a new garden bed and made vertical garden beds (which you can read about here!). And now for the 'After' photos....

Stripping and sanding the outdoor timber setting, ready for its proud place on the deck

The backyard transformation is not yet finished, but the end is in sight, we still intend to:
- Remove the bricks to the right of the deck and lay turf
- Finish the ceiling of the deck roof by plastering and installing downlights and fans
- Place two panels of glass pool fencing along the deck closest to the pool

In the meantime though I am going to enjoy my new space and haven and share it with you via this post, as I really think the transformation is worthy of its own post, even if its not yet compete! I am so proud of us and what we have achieved. There is such a sense of achievement when you DIY :)
Also a big thanks to Jay, you have helped us heaps and we appreciate it BIGTIME! :)

Let me know what you think of our progress so far, I would love to hear your thoughts!

Xx Ashlea


  1. Ash..... I LOVE IT!!! U guys are SOOO smart and talented, and what I just LOVE is you don't just rush into something... U consider everything around what you want and then proced. It just looks AWESOME. :-)

  2. Thanks so much!! Such kind words :) X


It makes my day receiving your lovely comments - feel free to leave one below x Ash




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