Back in July, my husband and I decided to embark on a renovation of our front garden – you know that little courtyard you walk through when approaching the front door. It’s now finished, and I’d like to share with you the process, our choices, and some before and after pics.
Our house is a typical Bondi semi-detached house, built in 1940, and the garden is a modest 5 x 4m space. Given it’s era, we had to carefully choose products and plants that remain true to the character of the house while still appealing to my preference for clean, contemporary lines. We live here with our two young children, aged 5 and 7, so it had to be practical, hard-wearing, and stain resistant. The renovation was long overdue (we’d been in the house over four years…and I think the garden was last done in 1977…).
So out with the buckled 1970s bricks and the stained 1990s terracotta tiles. We knocked down a half wall that separated the courtyard from the verandah, and also ripped up the wide garden bed and climbers that were the bane of my existence – nothing thrives there due to the south aspect.
Knocking the wall down was the best thing we did – it really opened up the area, made it feel more spacious, and also made it more usable. We laid charcoal granite pavers and teamed them with encaustic cement tiles. We put back a narrow garden bed to break up the line between the stone pavers and the white fence, and chose hardy easy-care tropical plants.
Verandah before – ugly orange terracotta tiles
Courtyard before – 1970s bricks, very uneven
Wall between to verandah and courtyard made the area feel small, dark and oppressive
The wall came tumbling down! It has really opened up the space and made a MASSIVE difference to the feng sui
View as you walk through the front gate. A yellow front door of course – in Dulux dandelion yellow
View looking back towards street
After much research, we chose charcoal granite pavers for the courtyard in 600x400mm $90 sqm. The dark colour is extremely practical and hides any dirt, marks or stains, and the larger size is pleasing aesthetically while also making the space appear larger. For the verandah we chose black and white encaustic cement tiles, 200x200mm, in a pattern called Fleur Di Lis $120 sqm. They’re a modern take on traditional tessellated tiles, and are much less fiddly to lay.
We got both the pavers and tiles from Teranova in Bronte, who were helpful and well priced.
Granite pavers in charcoal 600x400mm
Fleur Di Lis encaustic cement tiles in black and white 200x200mm
From left: Guzmania (a Bromeliad), Rhoeo Spathacea
From left: Philodendron, Calathea
From left: Cordyline, Bamboo Palm, Cordyline Purple Prince
Thanks to AJL Gardens for doing a brilliant job with all the construction/paving work and plants – they were very precise when laying the pavers and tiles, and their attention to detail really shows.
Beautiful tiles with Pukeko bird and Pohutakawa tree – a gift from New Zealand