Staff at Kennards Hire are often busy getting into some yard work at home and Fi is no exception. We’re going to follow her story as she takes it one step at a time to reclaim her back yard.

Background

So I was frustrated with our backyard, which had great bones and so much potential, but just wasn’t being used.

We had dying hedges, overgrown vines, bushes cutting off access to the deck (fondly known as Little Deck), which needed maintenance and behind it all - 20m of uninspiring old fencing and no shade to protect us from the afternoon sun.

So it had to happen. We had to bite bullet and get started, but somehow I had to make it easy.

Step 1 - Demolition Derby

So I learned to use a chainsaw like a boss and remove dying hedges. The team at Kennards Hire in Seven Hills showed me how to use it safely beforehand, and it was a breeze compared to doing it with a saw & secateurs.

There was no going back now. Freddy Krueger would be proud. I was surprised at how lightweight the STIHL petrol powered chainsaw was. I could easily control the movement and get through all the hedges. This small model was obviously meant for this type of thing.

Then I cut everything into small pieces to maximise the bin space as we’d already filled 3 neighbours green bins and there was more to come.

Step 2 – Blood Sweat & Tears

We removed all the hedge trunks and roots with a shovel and a pick. I got the muscle in for a few of the stubborn ones and in the process found 15 balls carefully stashed by Jake The Dog for future chewing festivals.

Step 3 - Facelift

Little Deck needed a revamp back to its natural colour. The Kennards Hire crew gave me a hot tip to roll the sand paper first. It means you can get it tight against the drum and it doesn’t come lose and break.

Once the sanding was all done, I swept it down, sprayed it with the hose & let it dry overnight before coating with Feast Watson Wet Look Decking Oil, which is water based.

Step 4 - Foundation

Before spraying the fence, I watered down the acrylic paint a little. This reduces the risk of the paint clogging in the nozzle.

The fence has overlapping palings, so I sprayed from the left and then the right as I moved across the fencing, so there was coverage from all angles.

A makeshift backing poster with the mop kept my neighbour’s zesty limes at bay and meant I could hold that with one hand and spray with the other – Oh yeah, multitasking master! 

The fence colour is ‘Wayward Grey’ by Dulux, which is a perfect backdrop for some greenery.

Step 5 - Features

So now I had a blank canvas and the decisions I was putting off about which trees to plant - had to be made. I wanted a bit of screening, shade, leaves that moved in the breeze and something that contrasted with the fence – plus it had to hold up to little kids weaving in and out of them and our crazy ball-obsessed dog.

So I went with Ornamental Pears (Chanticleer).

Twelve large holes were required so the roots would take, but two broken shovels later, I realised I should have hired a post-hole digger! With a little help we persevered and got a great workout, which was such a bonus.



Step 6 - Movement

There’s a lot of movement in the garden now – the beautiful white flowers and the young trees sway in the breeze. They might not survive the family and the dog to be really honest, but I’ll enjoy the effect while it lasts.

In between them I laid kidney and circular shaped pavers to encourage the little nieces and nephews to explore the garden.

Mulch was then laid about 7cm thick to cover all the space in between and the falling leaves and bark from the giant gum above continues to add to this mulch.

Keeping the planting fairly simple was key for a dramatic affect and a good discount on the quantity. I’m told that trimming the tops will bush them out a little lower down the trunks.

Step 7 - Year Round Lush

While I’m a bit obsessed with lawn, it’s been impossible to keep it alive in the backyard. The house provides too much shade in winter, so it dies off and there’s a growing dust bowl which covers everything in its wake as Jake the Dog rips through it to satisfy his ball obsession.

So artificial lawn saving turf to the rescue! You can DIY the job, but I left it to the experts, given the sloping ground, lots of crazy paving and a slight obsession with perfection!

Finished! Or is it?

So now it’s done… and Jake the Dog and the kids love it. We’re drawn outside all the time now.

But the cubby’s could do with some maintenance …and then there’s Big Deck, which is looking a little shabby, but that’s another story altogether.