Contribution by Sarah Anguish from boorooandtiggertoo.com | March 2015
Sarah is a working mum of two who blogs about juggling motherhood, childcare, being a wife and having a life.
As a couple, we never thought we'd use our backyard for anything other than storing the wheelie bins and hanging out the washing. Fast forward a couple of years and we had a toddler. The outside space suddenly became much more valuable to us.
So we started to think about the space we had and what we could do with it. We’d previously taken down a large shed that took up almost all the available space apart from a walkway to the back gate. The space that was unearthed by the shed removal left us with an uneven area that had previously housed a coal shed and outside toilet. There was also a large step down into the yard from our backdoor which we wanted to even out to make it child-friendly, plus we wanted to turn it into a space that we could enjoy.
We wanted to see how others had used their outside space so checked out a number of property websites to look at similar-style houses and what they had done with their backyards. A number of people had opted for paving which I liked but it didn’t have that wow factor and warmth that I was looking for.
I finally managed to find the look I was aiming for on Facebook. A website had shared a photo of a little nook in a large garden where the owners had built a hot tub with decking around it and painted walls. Whilst I wasn’t aiming for a hot tub, I liked the clean look of the decking and transforming the boring brick walls by painting them.
After a trip to our local DIY centre we chose standard decking board that we wanted laid in a traditional way. At the time we opted not to stain our decking boards leaving them a natural colour. However this is something we wished we had done as staining them once they are laid is a time-consuming job.
As neither myself nor my partner are handy we chose a local company from a trades registry website on the strength of their customer reviews. When they came to quote for the works they showed us examples of previous jobs and gave us ideas on other things that we could do with the space. So instead of painting our walls around our yard they suggested that we rendered them and the lower part of our house to provide a smooth finish which could then be painted. This was not something we had considered and by doing this and painting the render a sandy yellow, it really warmed up the space and made it feel more like an outside room rather than a bricked yard.
We were pleased with the result. We raised the height of the decking so it's in line with the back door making it much more child-friendly. The new levelled deck also allows us to have a table and chairs where the old shed once stood with a good solid platform for the children to ride up and down on their scooters.