It starts here: with the porch. Pity I forgot to take a 'before' photo, but never mind. Why demolish the porch? Because it was broken and cracking, and right up against the old weatherboard, which was rotting. As the porch was peeled away, it became clear that the whole thing was damp and pretty terrible for airflow and general building health, so off it goes. We'll replace it with a little deck, we think. And I'm keeping the old iron scroll work pillars, because I like them.
Under those layers of tan-brown tiles, and rusty red stained concrete, there was sand and rock, and lots and lots of it.
FIL had a flash of inspiration. A while ago, I'd mentioned just chucking a whole heap of paving sand around the 'pavers' I'd salvaged from when we demolished the back patio and have been using as stepping stones to the front gate. FIL thought he could dig up all the sand from the front porch (since he was going to anyway) and use that instead. Brilliant! The garden edging down the left of the path is old hardwood beams we had (although if they're old ones from our house, or ones the neighbour gave us, I can't remember).
Right down the back of the path, behind FIL in this photo, is our new gate, which D has been building in dribs and drabs over the last few weeks to help make our yard a little more toddler-safe. Our gate is actually our old back door, with a recycled hardwood architrave. I think I'll paint it pillar-box red, or yellow. I like yellow, at the moment. We've put a little trellis to the right-hand side to climb plants up and over this space (I have planted roses, the native 'wisteria' Hardenbergia violacea 'Rosea,' and native clematis, Clematis microphylla). For the gardeners, other plants I have in this space - though barely visible at this stage - include the natives Plectranthus argentatus, Plectranthus parvifolius, Hibbertia aspera, Guichenotia macrantha, and Goodenia amplexans. I've also got lemon balm and nasturtiums in here. This scrap of garden is probably the most challenging spot I've come across so far: it's quite shady, narrow, and not just dry but actually water-repellent. So far I've added loads of compost, manure, and clay to address the issues faced here.
And just for fun, here's a happy snap of the other half of the front garden which I took tonight at my favourite time of day: when the sun is getting low in the sky and shines though my Poas, which swish and shimmy in the breeze. All those roses are going to explode into flower in just a couple of weeks. Last year this happened in November, but some of the buds are splitting open already so I think they might bloom early this year.