Kay Howell and her fiance, Mark Clinch, had long held dreams of living on acreage and getting married in their own garden. Having purchased a home and block of land on Sydney's outskirts they were halfway to their dream, but did not realise the amount of work required maintaining such a property. Kay contacted Backyard Blitz seeking advice on how to improve the garden for her wedding day. The Blitz team went one step further and not only designed the garden but built it as well. Jamie organised a few more surprises along the way with some help from some very special guests.
Landscape designer, Andrew Davies from dig has matched the romantic vision of Kay and Mark to their front courtyard. A grand entrance replaces the bland brick wall and structured pathways lead the eye to a formal water feature. Summer flowering trees and shrubs soften the intimate space while deciduous small trees will provide scale and year round interest. Best of all, this design will grow and change with Mark and Kay and be a happy reminder of their big day.
Make a detailed scale drawing of your courtyard (eg 1:100) showing the location of the house or main buildings and other major features, then incorporate the desired elements from our makeover. As your courtyard will be a different size, you will need to estimate the amounts of materials you will require.
Note: on your plan show the locations of any services (water pipes, sewerage, power, phone, etc.) so you can avoid damaging them during the makeover.
Permits and approval: many structures in the backyard require council approval as they can have an impact on your neighbours. For example, new decks may overlook neighbours if not designed properly. Always discuss your plans with your local council and neighbours before commencing building in your garden.
The brick wall leading into the courtyard was removed to make way for a stylish gazebo. The existing paving was lifted to make way for Nigel's new pathway and Jamie's formal water feature. The bobcat removed concrete pathways and footings and drilled post holes for the gazebo.
Gazebo: Scott built a stylish gazebo as a grand entrance to the courtyard. This gazebo will double as an altar for the garden wedding. 12 posts (H4, 90x90mm) were installed vertically in-ground in rapid setting concrete to support beams (H3, 190x45mm). Rafters (H3, 140x95mm) skew nailed to the top of the beam support a central ridge (H3, 190x45mm), while battens (H3, 70x35mm) nailed perpendicular to the rafters support new roof tiles which tie in with the existing roofline and materials. A simple, decorative balustrade creates a feeling of enclosure and intimacy appropriate to a wedding ceremony. Blitz Tipz Build garden structures using the same materials as those used in the house, to create continuity throughout your design.
Paving: Nigel laid a formal pathway from the driveway through the gazebo and to either side of the water feature. A compacted layer of roadbase (100mm thick) provides base levels and a solid foundation to the new paving. Coarse washed river sand spread to a depth of 50mm and screeded level provides a stable, level bed for the large pavers (Stylestone - Rusticstone finish, 400x400x40mm). A rapid set concrete haunch secures all edges of the paving and prevents the bedding sand from washing out. Grouting sand swept between the pavers binds the pavers together. Blitz Tipz The pathway was designed to be 3 pavers wide and to turn corners at full unit sizes to reduce the amount of cutting required.
Water feature: a romantic centrepiece created by Jamie provides the soothing sounds of trickling water. A prefabricated fibreglass trough (1200x1200x300mm) supports a central plinth and cupid statue and holds the reservoir of water for the pump. A low voltage submersible pump (2400 L/hr) powered by an exterior transformer forces water through a 12mm clear pipe to fall from cupid's bowl back into the pond. Flowering water lilies in pots placed in the bottom of the pond provide colour and form. Blitz Tipz Ensure the depth of your water feature does not exceed 300mm or it may require a self-closing gate and fence to be installed around it - check with your local council for specific regulations.
Garden beds: Jody directed the bobcat to remove the footings from beneath the old front wall and to excavate pavers from new garden bed areas. An organic soil mix was incorporated to a depth of 200mm to aid establishment and long term growth of the new garden. A mulch of pine bark (40mm) spread to a depth of 75mm retains soil moisture and deters weed regrowth whilst creating a contrasting backdrop to the new plantings. Blitz Tipz Jody requested gypsum be mixed into the organic soil mix (2 bags per cubic metre) to help improve the structure of the clay soil.
Decorative screen: a decorative screen behind the water feature provides scale and interest in this small area. Treated pine posts (H4, 90x90mm) secured vertically in-ground in quick setting concrete support horizontal battens. Fibre cement sheeting (2400x1200x9mm) was nailed flat against the battens and painted.
Trees: Chinese tallow tree (Sapium sebiferum), lilly pilly (Syzygium australe 'Hunchy')
Shrubs: agapanthus (Agapanthus praecox subsp. orientalis), box honeysuckle (Lonicera nitida), dwarf white agapanthus (Agapanthus 'Snowball'), gardenia (Gardenia augusta 'Florida'), Japanese box (Buxus microphylla var. Japonica), iceberg rose (Rosa 'Iceberg'), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia 'Alba'), seaside daisy (Erigeron karvinskianus)
Climber: variegated star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides 'Tricolor')
We used some mature plants in our makeover to create an instant effect for television. As a result, our total cost for plants and materials was $14,762. This cost could be reduced to $12,081 by using smaller plants.
Stylestone - Rusticstone pavers were sourced from Boral. They cost about $67 per square metre and are available in four colours. Phone 1300 134 198 for more details. Roof tiles were matched to the existing roof tiles and purchased from Monier Wunderlich in Sydney. Prefabricated black fibreglass pond (1200x1200x300mm) cost $290 from Contour Ponds in Sydney; phone: (02) 9369 1511. Low voltage pumps and transformers are available at nurseries, hardware stores and some pet stores. Cupid and angelique pots were purchased from Menduni Garden Artistry in Sydney. The cupid statue and plinth cost $380 while pots cost $130. Phone (02) 9798 5155 for details and prices on the full range of pots. Most of the plants we used are readily available at nurseries. If not, your nursery can order them for you or give you advice about similar varieties suited to your area. You may need to contact specialist nurseries for some plants. Your local nursery should be able to provide you with contacts. Most other materials are available from large hardware stores or building and landscape suppliers. All tools used are commonly available for hire, including the bobcat and nail gun.
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Design by dig
design - ideas - gardens
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Construction by the Backyard Blitz team (all gardens are a gift from Backyard Blitz).
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