It’s a jungle out there!

I’m a bit embarassed to show you the state of our backyard – I guess because it’s hidden from the public eye it’s literally been left to grow wild. It’s even worse than the front yard and that makes me cry every time I pull into our drive.

Anyway, in the spirit of keeping it real and looking on the positive side, here it is, with a few pleasant surprises:

The umbrella was a christmas present for me and I was more than happy to whip it out on this cloudy day while the little one splashed around in his “swimming pool”… besides that, you can see the ugly back lawn which was nicely manicured ready lawn when we moved in, but due to a depth of less than 10cm it became a mush pit during winter and died over summer and now the only thing surviving is weeds. The black netting around the deck is something that is usually put down when making new roads (Mr happened to have some to hand when we were talking about toddler proofing the deck a while back so that’s what went up and has stayed ever since)…

From the right hand corner in the above picture the view is to the garage. You can see where we’ve started digging up the back lawn under the clothesline. We plan to continue with this but need to finish another project first so we can reuse the dirt rather than just dump it. There is a funny little corner deck which is a bit bizarre but must have made sense at some point. This whole backyard is concrete, with little terraces and odd shapes everywhere which have not quite been disguised (see a slab under the deck above). The coolie chairs are the only bright spot in this back yard and will have pride of place on a new deck one day.

Here’s the full triangular piece of deck which sits over a cavernous bit of concreteness. This view is of the neighbours house, which we hope to screen with some fast growing (but happy in a raised garden bed) trees – because they are much lower than us we figure raising the fence might make them feel a little like they live in a hole, but if we plant trees just over the current fence height then “suddenly” they’ll be up at the height we want without seeming like we’ve planned it that way!

Here’s a bit more of a shot of the first corner, just to show the jungle that is our backyard, it has literally been left to grow wild – we’ve done no weeding, no trimming, no removing or planting of plants.

So it was with some surprise that I had a call to “come and look at this!” from Mr just the other day… blackberries in our backyard! Yes I know they are a weed and quite hard to get rid of, but we’re just enjoying them for now (note to self: must take photo of little one with grin and blackberry juice smeared all over his face).

And this one is not a surprise this year as this is our second summer here (wow, is it really?!) but we’re home early enough to enjoy them this time and the birds are not getting them all… plums (this is the little tree in the corner of the triangle deck)!

So, it’s not all bad is it?!

And we have plans for a much more orderly back yard with a vegie garden, room for the kids to play, and a bigger deck for outdoor dining. What do you think of this?:

One of those raised gardens might well turn out to be a paved play area as I’m not a super keen gardener and two gardens would probably be sufficient to keep me busy and as our little one grows he will want to play outside more and more. Because there is concrete under this whole backyard we’re doing away with all grass and will probably use white pebbles between the garden beds and sandbox. We also need to be a bit careful with what we do over the triangular deck in the top right corner as we don’t want to have to reinforce it – hopefully half a low-ish sandbox, and a bit of hedge in a raised bed won’t be too heavy. We’ll keep the plum tree in the corner too, which I’ve left off this plan. The deck will be about the same width as it is currently, but will extend almost to the fencline, with a “service” pathway between it and the hedge. We’ll keep it to the current height also, otherwise it will need consent, so it does mean steps down from the house but we’ll just have to live with that. The only thing completed on this plan is the clothesline, so we have much to do! If you have any ideas on the above plan feel free to contribute – we’d love to get some more takes on what we can do with our jungle!


10 thoughts on “It’s a jungle out there!

  1. miss browne design

    I like! Although I do reckon you should drop your whole deck down to the level of the triangular piece and carry it along the side of your house and right out to the triangular piece. When we did our deck (raising it to the floor level of the house and covering a whole lot of crazy multi-level concreteness), we lost a bit of privacy and and also shelter. It would be fantastic to have a really user friendly area where the kids can potter while you keep an eye on them when you’re in the kitchen. You could still have screening and vege boxes around the edges. Just a thought, and probably an expensive one at that! lol x

    Nice find on the blackberries and plums!

    1. Jolene Post author

      Hi, I hadn’t thought of dropping the whole deck down, but not sure about it… because the back yard is so low it would be a lot of steps straight down from the french doors. I kinda like the multi level thing that we currently have going on because it makes it less obvious that the house is quite disjointed from the ground, plus having a raised deck means we can store bikes and outdoor toys away under it… I also can’t see half of the backyard just glancing out the kitchen window (have to lean over the bench) because of the height difference so I figure the deck can “pen” the kids in a little more securely without them getting into the garden while I’m not looking. (I know my big boy and the little one will have a monkey of a teacher!) Because we’ve lived with the deck up high already we won’t be losing privacy as such, even now the fence is high enough that we can’t see over if we’re sitting down. Anyway, will mull it over – nothing will be happening with it for some time! I seriously think it will be next summer when all the last year I’ve been thinking it’d be this summer… sad!

  2. miss browne design

    Yes, you’re so right about too many steps down and the house being disjointed from the ground and having lots of storage and not being able to see the kids from the kitchen window! I guess you have to live there to see those things ; )

    Just had a thought today about the white pebbles you are going to use for between the garden beds and sandbox. We have white limechip on one of our box gardens out the back and it’s a nightmare with the kids! I don’t know how many times I’ve gone out there to tell them to stop throwing it on the grass/using it for play food/trying to draw on their blackboard with it! I think it is the perfect size to be a choking hazard (which thankfully hasn’t happened!), and also when you stand on one in bare feet because you weren’t expecting a trail of them up the wooden steps – man, it hurts! Also, they go green pretty quickly. I will most definitely be getting bigger smooth black pebble rocks next time round – I know they’re no longer in fashion but so much easier! x

    1. Jolene Post author

      Thanks for the advice… I know wherever we go that has small pebbles/stones of any kind I can’t get the little one out of them – such a temptation to pick them up and spread them everywhere…! Have plenty of time to think about it anyway, we won’t be doing the backyard this year!

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