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The second house and garden project.


During April 2010 Simon and I completed on the purchase of a new house, which is to be a renovation project. Since he is at work full time and I am not, I am going to be project managing the refurbishment. It’s my first time at project management and I’m very excited! I’m currently awaiting a quote from our builder and have been researching materials online this week. The project must be finished in 2 months so there is no time to lose.

The front garden was a 55ft odd stretch of longish grass with bluebells and a few brambles at one end and numerous tree stumps dotted around. There was an overgrown hedge of lonicera nitida closest to the house and privet closest to the road. The lonicera had fallen over due to it’s own weight. Firstly the grass was cut, and a tree stump dug out from the middle of the lawn.

Simon trimmed the hedge back lightly. By the next weekend the lonicera had righted itself and only now needs a little trim along the top to bring it back into it’s proper shape. It is pretty much bare wood though! We are hoping it greens up a bit within 2 months so it doesn’t look so bare.

The back garden clearly hasn’t been touched for years and like our current garden is on a slope, but this one has been roughly terraced in the past using whatever materials were to hand – breeze blocks, bricks, rocks etc all cemented together. Some of these were falling down in places. Growing through and between the walls, which are basically rows of rubble to anyone’s eyes, are nettles, grass, weeds, brambles and lots of small trees which have been chopped down and are now sprouting fresh growth. Bit of a challenge methinks…….

First step in the rear garden was to clear the rubbish and perennial weeds. Simon decided that the only choice within the time frame was to glyphosate the greenstuff. That done, he tackled the rubbish which was laying everywhere – bits of metal, wood, plastic, packaging materials, bottles and cans etc. Then he started to rescue the pieces of building material we may be able to use later.

Meanwhile inside I was bagging up smelly old sleeping bags and bedding, clothing and shoes etc and clearing the cupboards of old food. The contents of a freezer had been emptied out into a waste bin which had fallen over, with predictable results (since many of the bags were open). The smell was pretty bad and I’m glad I had my rubber gloves with me. Ugh.

Plasterboard boxing in of pipework in the corner of the kitchen was discoloured and soft. One pulling it away I discovered a soil pipe running with water. Here are some photos of the kitchen. It was like the Marie Celeste.

Outside the toilet cistern overflow dripped into a full greenish bucket and damp spread up the brickwork.

Upstairs in the bathroom a leaking bath pipe and basin pipe, both of which joined the soil pipe, were clearly the problem. Good. At least it wasn’t sewage waste.


Upstairs one of the bedrooms had been a dumping ground and had clearly been used for a budgie cage at some point. Mixed in with years of rubbish piled high on, under and around the bunk bed were masses of bird seed, feathers and grit. I wore a makeshift mask made from a tea towel to takle that room! It took 2 full days to clear it.

Back bedroom:

After a week of clearing, cutting up carpets, breaking up unwanted pieces of furniture and multiple trips to the tip (and charity shops with the better items), the house is finally ready for the builders. Not only that, the kitchen and toilet are clean and useable – essential for all those important necessaries.

While the builders come in to do the interior and some of the exterior (driveway and patio), Simon and I will be tackling the gardens front and back to get them into some semblance of shape for a new owner or tenant. It’s got to be done on a tight budget though so no extravagences. I’ll keep you posted!

Working on the gardens:

Addition to Blog Monday 6th Sept 2010:
I wanted to let everyone know that the refurbishment is now finished, just over 4 months since purchase. The garden is tidy, has a new patio, bed and borders which I have been planting up, but garden work is still ongoing since we want to make a lawn in the rear.

Here are some final pictures of what we achieved:

Just had a week’s camping holiday in France to recover from all the hard work. Back with mozzie bites and a nice tan. Just what was needed (except for the bites!!) LOL

Now for the next project!!

UPDATE: Autumn 2012 pictures

Just wanted to give you all an update on the progress of the garden in the refurbishment project. We planted up the garden with a small lawn, flower and shrub borders and a rockery. The photos below show what it now looks like. I think it is coming along nicely!

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bet ur not doing to much singing at the moment lol, what a mess! good luck! I like a challange, hope you have some fun, it will and is hard work but you will get there good luck!

28 Apr, 2010


wow cant wait to see the finished result - you must keep us all posted - used to live in hertfordshire!!

The transformation is going to so exciting - we had an extension 3 years ago to make room for our business - we photographed all the stages and and the result is fabulous - we made our garden from scratch and now its sooo exciting seeing things develop and get bigger - i am now watching my carrots and onions grow - sounds very dull but they are standing up and getting bushier by the day!!

Good luck with the refurbishment!!!

28 Apr, 2010


Good luck to you this is an enormous task to take on, not only the house but the garden as well. Look forward to more pictures as the project progresses.

28 Apr, 2010


Ye Gods ! What a place !
You're brave taking all this on, you've more energy than me .... and in 2 months too - phew !

28 Apr, 2010


just think how satisified you will feel when you get it sorted. We had a similar task, the house took 18months and the garden is still an on going projetc 13yrs on :o)

28 Apr, 2010


Aren't some people dirty :o( Good luck with the garden. At least it's better than doing the inside !

29 Apr, 2010


lots to get your teeth (fork) into there.... good luck

29 Apr, 2010


Thank you all!

I'm having one day at home today to catch up on paperwork and phone calls. Have been stripping wallpaper and washing walls - only one room left to go! Gas CH man is there today replacing the system, so I'm best out of his way.

Over the bank holiday weekend Simon finished breaking up and removing 2 retaining walls, moved some soil and started digging out tree stumps. He also had another go at the hedge and lawn. He was glad to go back to his day job for a rest yesterday LOL

Electrician did a full safety check on Tuesday. Builder also came to measure windows and doors. Costs are mounting as we discover new things that need doing :-(

Dangerous electrics. Leaky soil stack. Rotten pipework. Concrete outside bridging the damp course. Ho hum......

5 May, 2010


UPDATE: Autumn 2012 pictures

Just wanted to give you all an update on the progress of the garden in the refurbishment project. We planted up the garden with a small lawn, flower and shrub borders and a rockery. The photos below show what it now looks like. I think it is coming along nicely!

22 Oct, 2012

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