We still have a lot of finishing touches to add to our home renovation, but there is one part of the house that remains barely changed and drives me crazy every day – the back yard. We don’t have a lot of outdoor space and it’s definitely a yard not a garden, but it was a really important part of why we chose this house. After living in a cramped London flat without even a balcony, having somewhere to sit outside if the weather was nice meant a lot to us, and we crossed some fantastic properties off our list because they didn’t have anything at the back, or if they did they were shared spaces.
At the time I remember having a lot of talks with my parents about it. We actually had three houses fall through before we got this one, and it was a struggle to find something in budget that we could flip but that wasn’t in such a bad state that we wouldn’t turn a profit in time. Maybe we should budge a little when it came to having a yard, they suggested, but I just couldn’t. I knew that not only would I be forced to have covert public BBQ’s (I did enough of that in London to last a lifetime!) but that we would never be allowed to adopt a dog from a shelter without one.
Looking back I’m so glad we waited for this house. Whilst it’s not our forever home it’s a great first step and although the size is modest by many peoples standards we have so much more space than when we lived in the city. Both Matt and I grew up spending a lot of time outdoors, he lived in a village with lovely walks on his doorstep and I spent a lot of time in the South of France and the Lake District. When I think back to any celebrations my family had or parties, they are almost all outside – my Dad is a BBQ maestro and at the first sign of sun the charcoal was lit, the water feature was on and we were all outdoors.
Right now our yard is in bad shape. It used to be a lot worse – last year my parents visited and my Mum pretty much singlehandedly demolished a rotting old shed that was casting a shadow over everything and taking up all the space, and before we applied to adopt Maddie, Matt & I cleaned up all the building debris and made it much safer although this house has seen so much building work you could probably dig down a metre and still find screws embedded in the soil. When we first moved in the weather was so awful that the brick wall between us and next door actually blew over and the stone wall at the back fell down! A lot of the garden renovation budget was spent getting those rebuilt so it’s been a bit of a wasteland since then.
My Dad actually ran a business doing landscaping so I’ve been asking his opinion on what the heck we can actually do with the mess we have at the moment. It’s a mixture of brick, breezeblock, stone and dirt with rocks jutting out and the most ridiculous pipe and drain situation you’ve probably ever seen – there is a lot we could do with it but we want to spend as little as possible since we won’t be here forever, the UK doesn’t see a lot of great weather and you can’t exactly take the investment you spend on a garden with you. My Dad thinks the cheapest and easiest option will be to box the mess underneath in and lay a deck down and he’s offered to come over in May with my Mum so we can all get to work which is so kind of them.
With a date in sight for the garden renovation I’ve been all over Pinterest for ideas and these are some of the cute small spaces I found. Whilst ours probably won’t end up looking like any of them, it’s nice to take inspiration from each one and see just what can be made from a small area. Now that the weather is getting better Maddie is spending a lot of time outside sunbathing (it’s a dog’s life!) and it will be so nice to just let her out there without worrying that she’s going to dig down and swallow something buried from the renovation! At the moment I’m keeping my beady eye on her every move!
I can’t wait to sit outside with a coffee and a good book, have friends over for BBQ’s, crack open a few Friday beers and eat my breakfast in the morning sunshine. Our kitchen has french doors that open out onto the yard, and the view is so awful that I considered getting blinds for them so it didn’t make me so sad each day – now I won’t have to! I will be sharing photos with you when everything is done, if you have a favourite shop for inexpensive garden goods or outdoor furniture let me know – I feel we are about to spend many a Sunday at the garden centre…
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