Our house is the wrong way around. We have a lovely large front garden which gets plenty of sunlight, and a small dark damp back garden. The problem is our front garden is on a corner, and therefore quite exposed to the road that passes. We have tried growing hedges for privacy, but the soil is so poor and shallow, it has had limited success.
When we bought the house, we had an extension built to allow us to have a dining room. This took away a chunk of the garden but it was still a good size. It has however since remained a patch of grass with little going on in it. The boys play there occasionally but we are lucky to have a lot of green space around for them to play. We do sit out there and have chairs and a table, but don’t really make good use of them.
Now, one of my failings is an addiction to ebay! I think it stems from my love of a bargain. The postie thinks I’m mad with a constant flow of packages, but I can get the same thing for half the price, why pay more? I therefore have plenty of saved searches, mostly to help with Christmas and birthdays, of things each member of the family is into, and when I see something unusual, I buy it and put it away. I also do more practical searches, for things for the house. I managed to get Old Person a cheap second-hand wheel chair, which means it’s so much easier for getting her out and about, and it was for next to nothing, because I had to go and collect it from 6 miles away. I have got many a good thing buy searching locally, probably because fewer people in the area are looking for things and it’s probably a bit far for the majority of people looking.
A few weeks ago, I saw that someone was selling some decking. Now, decking is something I have always fancied, but it is terribly expensive to get put in, even if you do it yourself. But here was decking, 3m by 4m, in the next town down for under £50, I had to have it. Hubby hired a van, and we went to collect it. Then the weather turned, and so it sat in the garden for a while, waiting to be put back together. Once started though, it went together pretty easily, the only thing holding him back was his drill which kept needing to be recharged. It meant a job that would have been a few hours turned into a couple of days as he was stopping and starting. Once it was done, it looked amazing. He stained and sealed it, and I must say, I am really impressed by how good it looks.
We decided we wouldn’t get any new garden furniture as we are heading into winter, and to wait until the spring. This idea soon went out of the window when we saw the sales, and thought it made sense to buy it now! We got a table and chair set, and a couple of bean bags for the boys – they are huge and they love them. It looked good.
One thing Hubby has long wanted is a gas barbecue. We’ve had a traditional one, but felt we wouldn’t make use of a gas one. He wanted one anyway!! Now we have a proper outside area, and the sales were on, he got his wish, and an early Christmas present of a new gas barbecue. It arrived on Wednesday, and he was like a cat that had got the cream!!! He put it together and it looks great. Also, my belated birthday present arrived. My MIL and BIL bought me a clay pizza oven for my birthday, but when it arrived, it was broken, and therefore was returned. It has however not been back in stock since, so they gave me the money and said when I saw one, to get it. I was fine with that. When looking at barbecues for Hubby, I saw a pizza box. It is clay lined, and sits on the barbecue to heat. I thought it would be perfect, so decided I would get it.
Wednesday evening, the boys insisted we use the pizza oven – I had things to make pizza, but no barbecue food so it was the sensible option for them. I read the instructions, and put it on to heat. D helped me make the pizza, and everyone had the toppings they liked. We all then went out, and started to cook. I have to say, it was brilliant. I think I need to maybe play about with getting the temperature and the timing sorted, but for a first attempt, I was very impressed. What made it even better was everyone agreed it was amazing, and tasted so different, in a good way. I think M thanked me two dozen times before he went to bed – I’m not sure if it was because he really enjoyed it, or being allowed to have pizza in the week, as its usually a weekend treat. The funny thing was sitting out the front, and the rain started to come on, but nobody wanted to go inside, they just pulled the chairs closer to the table so they were under the umbrella. The number of strange looks we were getting from folks going past was quite hilarious. I think many friends in the area, understand that once a decision is made with the boys, something as silly as the weather can’t change it, so thought nothing of us sitting out, but those who don’t know would have been a little amused I imagine, or just thought that family on the corner are bonkers, and they’d have been right!!!
Because today is meant to be the last day before the weather breaks, the boys have asked if we can have a barbecue this evening. I can’t deny them this request, and I think Hubby is chomping at the bit to play with his new toy. I have therefore got the essentials, as I don’t think we will be staying out long, as it may be forecast to be dry, but I don’t think its going to be too warm.
The garden it totally transformed now. It is now a usable outdoor space. We are going to have to think long and hard as to how we are going to give it more privacy, but I am sure we will come up with something. It will be nice to have a pleasant area to sit out, and to be able to get Old Person out for some fresh air, next Spring and Summer.
I am really proud of how hard Hubby worked to get this done. It just proves that with a spark of an idea, and the luck of finding something cheap, you can change your surroundings.