Garden project – landscaping

New path and patio

After painting the veranda the next phase of the project was replacing the old paving with sandstone. In addition to replacing the old patio and path, we wanted to add a second patio at the opposite end of the lawn, to be in the shade when the veranda is in the sun and vice versa. This meant losing some lawn, but I think the extra patio space is worth it. We also took a bit of lawn and veg plot to add a border to the sandstone path, which really sets of the sandstone paving.

There are some jobs best left to the professionals, and in my option hard landscaping is one of them. We used PR Fencing, who had done a great job of our fences three years ago. Although they are a predominatnly a fencing company, they also do landscaping and are great to work with. They replaced the veranda a few weeks ago, then fitted the roof alongside the landscaping work. All I had to do was make lots of drinks and make a few key decisions.

We are really pleased with how it looks, the path looks so much neater and the veranda looks much more solid. We still have a few more jobs to do, sorting out seating and planting. The lawn took a battering, so I will need to sort that out, as well as seeding the bits next to the new paths. The decorative parts of the veranda have not been refitted, mainly as we still need to refurbish them. So we are still going to have a busy summer working on the garden.

I was reminded earlier that it is three years since the garage build started, the garden has changed beyond recognition since then, which reminds me just how far we have come with the 119 project.

Garden project – painted veranda


If you have been reading my recent parental leave posts, you will know that I have spent a lot of time painting the veranda. I’m glad to say that the frame is finished. Jen is sorting out the detail parts, although I think it looks good as it is. The concrete bases for the veranda also need a lick of paint, but I plan to do that when they are removed from the old patio, but before they are put back on the new patio. I spent a very hot afternoon in the sun with wire brushes and scrapers getting as much of the old paint off as possible, it was hard work, but given how flakey the current paint is, I was the new paint to have the best chance of sticking as possible.

Things will be moving at a much faster pace now, as the guys are starting on the landscaping tomorrow morning. They had allocated 5 days, but forgot that next Monday is a bank holiday, so are starting this week. Hopefully it will all be finished in time for Owen’s birthday party on the third of June!


Garden project – new veranda


The framework for the new veranda is up! Now we have three weeks to paint it, before the polycarbonate roof panels are fitted.

The job went mostly to plan, the only issue being that during the removal of the old veranda a piece of wood fell into the drain collector. This wasn’t a problem until I emptied Owen’s bath, which overwhelmed the drain, causing it to back up and overflow out of the boiler drain pipe. The first I heard about it was when the builder shouted up to say that there was a problem with the boiler. I came outside to a flood of water pouring out of the boiler cupboard, I was glad to realise it was the bath water, rather than an expensive sounding boiler issue. We were able to unblock the drain and it gave Jen and I the kick we needed to clear out the boiler cupboard which had become a bit of a dumping ground.

Garden project – before


Landscaping the garden was meant to be part of the garage build way back in 2014, but when we realised the scale of both jobs, we decided to hold back on the landscaping. After almost a year without much work on the house (I can’t think why) we are ready kick things off.

Those who have visited our garden will notice that things have already started – all the clutter has gone from under the veranda, this is because renovating the veranda is the first part of the job. The veranda is an important part of the house, Jen’s family have been having tea and cake on a Sunday afternoon under there for decades! So we will be keeping all of the period features, and making sure we can keep using the veranda for decades to come.

Later parts of the project include sandstone paving the path and patio and adding another patio up by the garage, which will be in the sun when the veranda is in the shade (and vice versa). Like all good DIY projects we have a deadline – Owen’s first birthday party at the start of June!


Garage build – Phase 1 complete

Since my last update on the garage build I have managed to make some progress in the gaps between work and holidays. The main task was to empty the temporary garage, aka the dining room, which needs to be plastered and redecorated before Christmas. This involved refurbishing Jen’s Granddad’s workbench (which we are sure he acquired from the Alvis factory, where he worked), erecting shelving and having a thorough sort out of everything we had kept from the old garage. Although I still need to sort out tools, as I have inherited my Dad’s collection to join Jen’s granddad’s and my own – which seems like a good excuse to get a shiny new toolbox! Now that the garage is full of car and tools etc I’ve upped the security with better locks and an alarm.

The most exciting garage news is that it is being used for what it was built for – working on cars! Unfortunately it isn’t my car – whilst I’m away in Japan with work for a few weeks I’ve lent the garage to Jen’s cousin, Rich, who needed to do some work on his Elise, which included removing the front clamshell, a task which is really best done out of the elements. When Rich has finished working on his Lotus I have a few jobs to do on the MR2 and there’s also a new toy to live in the garage, which will be coming to a blog post soon…

Garage build – Shed

The shed isn’t strictly related to the garage build, but as one of the most important requirements was that the garage would be for car stuff only, we needed a shed for everything else.

Last weekend we had a shed building BBQ, with my friends Partho, Rich and Vernon to help with the construction and Jen, Anna and Jo keeping us fed and watered. The shed went up fairly quickly between rain showers, but we weren’t able to get it painted until this weekend. Jen chose the colour (Seagrass by Cuprinol), which I think looks really good after a couple of coats.


Garage build – Car in the garage

The garage is finally ready to park a car in! This picture is actually a few weeks old, but life has been a bit hectic recently, so I’m playing catch up on the blog. A few days after the door was fitted Martin, our electrician, installed the fuse board and connected up the garage door motor, so I could get the car in and out. The tricky bit now is working out how to connect it up to the alarm which he is going to fit, so that before the door opens the alarm is deactivated.


Garage build – Door fitted

It has been a bit quiet on the garage front recently, we’ve mainly been painting the inside, but this weekend the door was fitted. I went for a Hormann sectional door with motor, expensive, but hopefully worth it.

I also got the trench for the electrical cables dug today – hard work in the sun, but my fault for leaving it until the last minute, as the electricians are starting tomorrow. This means I will be able to open and close the door, without an extension lead from the house in the middle of the garage.

Garage build – day 19

An internal picture today, as the piers either side of the door were the last bits that the builder needed to do, so nothing has changed outside. The pace of work (and frequency of updates) will slow down a bit now that it is down to me to do the work, but the next task is to paint the walls inside the garage white, to keep the dust down and make the garage a bit brighter.

The door has been ordered, so that should be installed in the next few weeks, which means we will be able to get the electrician in to finish the wiring and then I’ll be able to park the MR2 inside!

Garage build – day 18

The garage is almost finished! The last slabs for the path have been laid, along with the shed base and the garage floor. When the concrete floor is dry, the builder needs to build some supporting pillars for the door and then he is finished and we can start with the remaining jobs – the interior fit out, getting the garage door and electrics installed etc.