We’re all cooped up inside this weekend because of the wind and rain. But at least it means I have time to post about the work we’ve been doing in the backyard the past few weekends when the weather HAS been nice…


The garden is at the stage where we don’t have to do any major renovations. We can just potter about, adding new containers and planting flowers here and there. But it hasn’t always been like that.

When we moved in almost three years ago, this is what it looked like.



It had some nice trees (except for that one by the house which turned out to be dead – we had to cut it down). But it was mainly a rectangle of dried grass. You can’t really tell from these pics, but there was no patio or seating area, just a very narrow strip of cracked concrete where the steps end.

Eventually, we couldn’t take it any more. My husband got out the sledgehammer one day and smashed up the concrete path around the grass. He ended up with a huge pile of concrete slabs so we had to get a haulage company to take it away. We cut the flower beds and moved some of the turf about. We bought a few plants from homebase and turned the water on. In a few weeks (honestly) it looked like this. I guess it cost us about $500 to get it this far if you include the haulage, soil and plants.


But we still had no patio or deck – just that narrow strip in front of the house. And we wanted somewhere to sit and read or have a BBQ, you know. So we drew some plans (on scraps of paper) then pulled out the check book and hired a gardener to dig out a space about 15″ deep, build a retaining wall and lay a patio. His team worked for five weeks on this.

New wall

Pation being laid

Then came the fun bit – choosing plants to put in the new walled beds and in containers on the patio. We’ve never had a garden before this so we’re not exactly expert gardeners. In fact, I am known for having a slight plantphobia (another story…) So it was very much a case of trial and error. We put in hebes, mexican sage, passiflora, wisteria, climbing roses, jasmine, an olive tree, lemon tree and lots of nemescia and abruscia. We also indulged in some ranunculus, delphiniums and anemones, which is a bit like gardening roulette – you never know which will survive and which will perish. Some didn’t…

Here’s what it looks like today.

Finished backyard

Finished backyard



I still want to re-do the beds behind the retaining wall. They need to be a bit deeper – the proportions aren’t right at the moment. But it’s a big difference from before!

We’ve just put in a new trellis and a clematis and jasmine in containers next to it. We also created a mini succulent garden in containers on the patio. Even we can look after succulents.


We still need to replace the railings by the steps and paint them (and possibly the steps). Not sure what color to go for though. Suggestions welcome. Here are the steps I’m referring to. Obviously we’re not going to paint the bit under the wisteria – just the railings on the other side.


Meantime, I’m enjoying pouring over the garden re-vamps at MadebyGirl (love the choice of blue) and DoorSixteen. Their progress is much faster than ours, of course. But we’re getting there…

Here’s one more shot, this one’s of the anemones. Enjoy!