Here's a comparison of before and after excavating:
|Before excavation, note the very|
close cut down the right
side of the house
|After excavation, note the large|
area down the right side, we can even
fit several parked cars in.
|This is what it looked like, mid excavation, it had to get ugly before it got pretty.|
|Here's what it looked like when the excavating was getting closer to the finish line.|
Just this weekend we hired a Kanga mini loader, which Daniel operated so that we could move mulch more easily. Carting mulch up our steep driveway in a wheelbarrow is backbreaking and incredibly slow going. We managed to move 20 metres of mulch in just a few hours. Unfortunately, the Kanga absolutely ripped up our grass which we had just finally got growing well from seed. Oh well, we've laid more seed yesterday and today, and it will hopefully grow back quickly.
|Daniel on the Kanga mini loader.|
We laid 60 square metres of turf in the front yard in 3 sections. We did this ourselves, we spent a week preparing the area with top soil after work. The actual turfing we did in about 4 hours all up. We were pretty impressed with how easy it was. We purchased a lawn roller on gumtree for $30, which is only $10 more than the cost of hiring one for 24 hours. We've used the lawn roller heaps since then. We started off watering the turf twice daily, then once daily, and then every second afternoon. We treated it like our precious little baby, and it's really paying off now. We chose Empire Zoysia turf, we are so impressed with it. We chose it because it's extremely drought tolerant (it will grow roots up to 4 metres down in search of water), it stays green in the winter, it's very soft to walk on, and it looks lovely.
|Top soil prep and pavers which we changed our mind on.|
|Voila, instant grass! Plus an additional stepping stone project which I fill you in on a few paragraphs down|
|We did our best to cordon off an area, as you can see there are some skid marks riiiiight on the edge, grr.|
We also planted New Zealand Cabbage Trees alongside our gully, the idea being that when they grow their stalk they will act as a barricade so that people don't drive into our gully. I live in fear that this could happen one day! People seem to become absolute idiots when it comes to parking/driving in our yard, and the amount of times people have driven on our turf already, even with orange tape around it! OMG!
|New Zealand Cabbage Trees planted alongside the gully to act as a barricade. |
There are 12 in total, and they're going strong. They're short now, but eventually they will grow a large stalk.
We purchased a few different types of ferns, they continually looked like they were going to die, but when winter came along that seemed to give them a bit of a boost. Here are 2 ferns which popped up on their own. Amazing! We have them everywhere, to the point where they often get mowed over.
We have several other areas we've planted up too. On our big mound along the gully, we've planted about 25 plants including Coppertops, Alcantarea brasiliana and Alcantarea Vinicolour (Bromeliades), several Alocasia, more than enough Lomandra, several Evovulus, several Gardenia, a few Philodendron and some bunches of Tradescantia. I mulched a lot of the mound by hand using the wheelbarrow. We've just finished it off with the dingo thank goodness! We've been getting our mulch from local tree loppers, which is a much cheaper way to buy mulch. I've had a number of people at work say they wouldn't be happy with the quality of the mulch buying it this way, but seriously, it's fine, and it's just mulch, it all dries out and looks the same eventually anyway. At least this looks natural.
|Evolvulus (Blue Eyes)|
|Tradescantia Discolor (Moses in the Cradle). We have SUCH a hard time keeping these alive, for a plant which is apparently non fuss, they just keep up and dying on us. This our last bunch alive, and they aren't looking great.|
|Lavendar, we've got two lots of this, both planted at the same time, |
but this one is double the size of the other already.
|This little gem is another Alocasia, which popped up on its own! |
It's already so much stronger and bigger than the ones we purchased.
My Mum just brought down a heap of cuttings which she took from my Aunt's garden, so in the next few weeks I will get around to planting them too.
|There are 18 plants here, and we only know about 5 of them, the rest are mystery plants.|
Additionally, we've got a few more manicured looking areas. At the front of the house we've added some lovely concrete sleepers as stepping stones leading up to the front door. They're surrounded by gravel. We're also using the gravel around the entire house. Anywhere that has garden beds up against the house, we've put about 30cm of gravel between the garden and the edge of our termite barrier. This should help to prevent any issues with termites, as you are not supposed to put gardens/garden mulch up against a house.
|Concrete sleepers with gravel and a small garden. Doesn't that grass look green!|
|Roadbase driveway extension. Previously this was just dirt.|
It's hard to explain to people how much work we've done. Across such a big area, it can seem as if we haven't done much. But trust me, this is months and months of hard effort to get it to this point. Daniel and I think it is a massive improvement from where things were only 6 months ago. Especially considering we lived with absolutely no landscaping for more than a year when we moved in.
Here's some general progress pictures to give you an idea:
|Daniel designed this area, it has a little escape stairway at the back, doesn't it look like a fun spot to explore!|
|This is near our back patio, this cute path leads you up to the top of the gully.|
|This gives you a good idea of what it looks like driving up. Gully is in the right of the picture.|
|This is what you see when you first drive in our entrance. The area near the watertanks will hopefully one day have a massive garden around it (with access for water trucks etc)|
|Taken from up on the hill. Really all we need now is for the grass that got ripped up down the side of the house to grow in again and we'll be going pretty well.|