A garden makeover: The ‘before’ photos

I have to admit that I’m cringing a bit showing you some of these photos. We had to take the decision when working out our renovation budget what we would have to do at a later point as we definitely didn’t have enough to do everything at once. It became clear very quickly that all work on the outside of the house would have to wait. It’s very easy to buy a house and underestimate how much new fencing, gates, landscaping, exterior painting will cost. As it turns out we have to break it up into stages and prioritise. For security the first thing we agreed to do was replace the side access gate that we share with our neighbour. We then had a very serious discussion about getting the outside of the house painted next but when we really thought about it the biggest gain to us and the way we live would be to use the garden more. In order to do that the massive slab of concrete that wraps round the back of the house has to go. However, we’ve always been put off by the cost of a skip needed for that type of job as well as the labour cost as we just don’t think we’d manage it ourselves; it’s literally tonnes of concrete. Because concrete is so heavy you can’t fill a skip to the brim with it so we would probably need more than one and because it’s one of those weird jobs that sort of sits between a landscaper and a builder it’s hard to find somebody to take it on, especially because it’s not a very lucrative job and will only take two or three days. Therefore, the likelihood would be that the skip would be needed for quite some time whilst the labourer went off to other jobs etc. The longer you have a skip, the more is costs.

Serendipitously it was at this point that HIPPOBAGs got in touch for a potential collaboration. I thought I was familiar with their service and had in my mind that it was a very large, tough bag that could be used for a house/loft clear out or that sort of thing. However, little did I know that HIPPO offer the perfect waste bags for our concrete issue. The MEGABAG can hold 1.5 tonnes of the heaviest waste like concrete, rubble, soil and it can be filled to the brim. Not only that but it is only 180x90cm so it can easily fit in a front garden so no need for an expensive license to put it on the street AND you can fill it at your own pace over six months, which makes it perfect for us as we found someone to do the job who can only work on Saturdays.

At this time it is very worth saying that the bags come in the post so no contact is needed to receive them and you don’t have to meet the driver when they collect the bags so it is a contact free process overall. If you are planning a garden project, any DIY or a clear out during the next few weeks HIPPOBAGs is a very good option to avoid leaving your home.

I will tell you more and show you more about the MEGABAGs when they arrive but for now I want to show you how our garden looked when we moved in and the state of it now. Arguably it looks worse now but we have actually done quite a lot – it’s got to look worse before it looks better, right?

This was the photo I took of the garden when I viewed the house in December. It’s about 60ft long and we back on to a park so it has the potential to be really lovely.
This was the garden in the Spring before the renovation had begun.
The brambles and bushes on this right fence were literally pulling it down.
And then it became a jungle in the summer mid-renovation.
And then when we moved in in October it looked like this.
The whole back of the house opens out onto the garden, which I love. There is a door from the dining space and the kitchen and we very quickly realised that the crumbling concrete steps and ‘patio’ was not only unpleasant to look at but it’s such a horrible surface for kids to play on and especially bad when they fall on it.
The other problem was the shed was not only crumbling but it cut the garden in two.
So we dismantled the shed last Spring.
Removing the shed was a really good move as it made the garden feel so much bigger. We tidied everything up and cut out a lot of the brambles on the right hand fence and managed to spend a lot of nice time out here last summer. Look at that Wisteria that comes over our fence from our neighbour and the Laburnum tree!
As of today, things look like this! Eeeek. It’s a real mess.
There are huge cracks in the concrete making it so un-child friendly. Let’s ignore the brown pebbledash. Painting the house white is next on the list!
You can see what a dreadful state the concrete is in from this angle.

Watch this space to track our progress. I will tell you more in my next garden blog post about what we are planning to do. I’d love to hear what you would do with this space!

Katy x

*This post was written in paid collaboration with HIPPOBAGs – I greatly appreciate the continued support of brands and I really hope this is a useful collaboration for my readers during this difficult time.


1 Comment

  1. Longdenlife
    19th March 2020 / 11:04 am

    Don’t apologise for the state of the house and the garden! Most people feel this way when they move into a new place.

    Looking at the garden as a space, it has good bones – gets sun in the summer months and you have some mature tress at the end of the garden to add height and interest.

    I would suggest Instagram and Pintrest, the usual places for inspiration. I would have also suggested visiting local open gardens for ideas of snippets you could take home (design and planting) but obviously this wont be possible at this time. Magazines such as The English Garden have some great photos and vignettes you can take inspiration from

    Good Luck!

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