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Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Outdoor Project is complete!

Sponsored by Nuffnang and Masters Home Improvement
After weeks of hard labour, our outdoor space is complete! Read on to see more...

When I accepted the task of transforming a space in our home on a budget I knew this would call for a challenge and, together with David, we committed to building a new outdoor space.

Here is what the space looked like before:
The original grassy space beside the house was in need of a makeover.

It was an area that was relatively unused and simply gathered leaves.

Short of kicking a ball around here we didn’t use it for much else.
We set about to build a paved area and a pergola from scratch using raw materials from Masters to create a space that we could relax and entertain friends in using existing outdoor furniture.

David and I designed the outdoor space and it turned out as we imaged it with a few minor changes – such as extending the pergola outwards to have more space while still being able to use the existing lengths of timber we purchased.
The materials for the pergola and paving came in at less than $1000 and this left us with money to spare for plants.

I already had some leftover paint from previous projects and the main additional cost to us was the hiring of a compactor to compress the soil in the paved area.

We spent our last few weekends drilling / sawing / sanding / nailing / cleaning and clearing rubbish / reassessing the design / researching / making further visits to Masters for last minute products / painting (well into the evening) / planting and we got there in the end!
Four weeks from when the first pergola post was set into the ground we have a completed space. And I must say a huge thank David for the amazing job he did of the pergola and the space.

Lifestyle shows can sometimes make it look easy to build structures such as these but it definitely takes more than one person to tackle such a job and when the person helping you (me) is of very little use in lifting heavy things the job becomes extra hard.
 The lattice looks bent in the photo above but it hadn't been secured to the fence yet when it was taken.

These photographs were taken over two weekends and as you can see the space has changed slightly as more plants have been added.

I imagine it will “settle” into the space a little more over the next few weeks and over time it won’t look so shiny and new which will look lovely.
The other weekend David and I went to the Grand Designs Live event in Sydney.

David proudly showed a few people in the garden and landscaping exhibition stands the new space, including Jamie Durie!

Jamie was lovely and gave us advice on plants to fill the area and add colour, including lilly pillies and port wine magnolias.

We’ve yet to pick up some magnolias but we did buy lilly pillies, lemon trees, azaleas, hydrangeas, wisterias and palms.

I wrote about my experience trying to fit some of these plants into the back of my Mini during one shopping trip.
In the end, we managed to turn the unused area of the garden into a fresh outdoor living space, consisting of a paved area, a planter section, partitioned by white picket fencing, under the canopy of the painted pergola.

What I love most is that the space will change over time.

I am hoping the wisterias will grow to cover the pergola and the lemon trees will give us fruit and we can plant flowers and herbs and vegetables in the hanging pots.

We also have plans to add lighting and outdoor heating for the cooler months.

Overall the experience was fun and a lot of hard work but we now have a beautiful space to enjoy.

THANK YOU to Masters for the opportunity to work on this project and also to David for all his help – and bring on the summer parties!

PS. The winner of the $500 Masters voucher has been announced and it is R Skinner - congratulations!

She plans to use her voucher to put towards these items from the Masters website – enjoy your purchases.







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