Inner City Cottage Makeover

John and Polly's house in inner city Sydney is like many old cottages – a small back door is the only way out to the back, and consequently, their backyard is hardly used at all.

But Brendan has a plan to open it all out and bring the outside in and the inside out, to blur the two spaces into one sensational living space.

To start, Brendan calls in the professionals to install concertina cedar-framed doors and a hardwood deck. You can paint or stain the deck but Brendan has opted to leave it as is, and it will gradually take on a silvery appearance with age.

The best way to create space flow is via levels, so our deck is made up of two parts – one is in line with the back of the house, and the second leads down to the open space of the backyard. It's this area that Brendan will tackle next week to really bring this backyard to life.

Things to consider

  • The best way to protect cedar doors is with a coat of satin finish estapol. This should last about five years.
  • Check with your local council for regulations and restrictions before building your deck.

Owners John and Polly have a big backyard, and Brendan believes that breaking up the space is a way to make it more useful and interesting.

The feature of the garden is a curved garden seat built out of pavers pulled up from the original garden. Small glass tiles are pushed into the render for a clever finish.

Surrounding the seat is chequerboard paving, one of Brendan's favourites. He uses precast concrete pavers coated with Porters Paint concrete wash to give it a soft, aged appearance, while highlighting the texture.

Like most backyards, this one has functional parts that need to be accommodated. Putting the BBQ area, washing line and garden shed behind a screen of reinforced concrete mesh separates the working areas from the entertainment areas. Brendan likes the concrete mesh, as it's a little more elegant and durable than the usual timber lattice.

Plants are placed to wrap around the seating area, and chosen to complement the blue/green colours of the pavers and pebbles.

The colours and curves give the garden a beautiful feeling of serenity, and you can feel yourself being drawn down from the house. Another success for Brendan!

Equipment and Suppliers

Porters Paints
Available nationwide
  • Blue Gum 1 litre, approx $35 litre

  • Navy 1 litre, approx $35 litre

Nu-Town Services
Ph: (02) 9516 3306
  • Bifold Doors & Decking Material approx. $9000

  • Door supports, architraves, posts etc approx $4500

Mitre 10
Stores nationwide
  • Plain concrete slab (450x450x70 @ $9 each + $36 delivery) $666

  • Reinforced concrete mesh - x2 (6x2.4m) $75 each

  • Treated Pine - x12 (150x50) $8.25 each

Ph: (02) 9707 4299
  • Hot dipping for concrete reinforced mesh, approx $100

Australian Native Landscapes
Total cost approx $1600:
  • ¾ Ton 20mm Blue Metal

  • 1 ton Yellow Sand

  • Potting Mix

  • River Sand

  • Fine bark mulch - Pine

  • Aqua pebble 50-70mm & 10-20mm

  • Sandstone Ballast

  • Cement

  • BioGrow

Pots Handmade by Hannah
Ph: 0418 475 145
Total cost approx $300
  • Large Pot

  • Water Bowl
Gardens 'R' Us
Gardiners Road
Kingsford NSW
Ph: (02) 9663 0701
  • 2 large Egg Pots $89.95 each

  • 3 large Troughs $72.37 each

  • 2 large Planter Box $82.60 each

  • 3 small Egg Pots $34.95 each

  • Heuchera Velvet Nig 140mm

  • Sedum Vera Jamison 140mm $140 ea

  • Kalanchoe Flapjacks 140mm $55

  • Anemone Single pink 150mm

  • Dracaena Colourama 125mm

  • Colocasia Blk Magic 140mm

Andreasens Green - Wholesale Nurseries
Ph: (02) 9826 1911
  • Murraya Paniculata 75lt $90 ea

  • pittosporumsilverscreen 300mm $25 ea

  • Dicksonia antartica $30 ea

  • Liriope Evergreen Giant 150mm

  • Hardenbergia violacea 50mm $140 ea

  • Strelitzia nicolai 400mm

  • Doryanthes excelsa 25lt

  • Tradescantia species 75mm

  • Festuca glauca 150mm $12 ea

  • Iresine species 150mm

  • Phormium Maori Maiden 250mm

NSW State Office
Ph: (02) 9519 6860
  • Stainless Steel – 316 Grade, in ground uplighter (LS393-93D4#1#)

  • Pagoda satin chrome plated 12v 50w MR16 max. surface mounted, fully adjustable spotlight (LS321A-CP)

  • direct burial cable and 12v 100va weatherproof outdoor transformer (All prices on application)

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