“Do we have BEFORE photos?!”

‘That looks great! You know what we should do?…we should post before and after pics on our blog!’

‘Do we have ‘BEFORE’ photos?!’

While updating our details on Booking.com some time ago they asked when the last time was we upgraded our guesthouses. The answer was, ‘a couple of weeks ago’. But it struck me then as a strange question. We’re always busy upgrading. Most of the time its smaller things like placing frosting on some of the windows, or replacing curtains with blinds. But we’re constantly saying things like, ‘As soon as we have enough money in our fund we have to … ‘ And the list is ever growing. Its more dreaming out loud than actual hard planning. So it was about a year ago we decided to upgrade the front garden of Helens Cottage…and forgot to take ‘before’ photos.

DeKeurboom garden layout plan.

With the looming drought we decided to go for a artificial lawn, and indigenous plants. Having a green garden at the cost of high water usage was no longer an option and artificial lawns in an area that would not have much foot-traffic was a no-brainer. Thus followed the long arguments of how we would renovate the garden. Both Linda and myself loved the idea of re-creating this little space, but seeing as I was going to be the person doing the actual work, my voice carried a little more weight. Se settled on a slightly ambitious, but simple brick path running down the centre, with a reclaimed fountain, tree and bird bath planted at intervals. Easy! Now al we had to do, was do it. Armed with Gift, my friendly side kick and gardener, inspired and inexperienced we set out to make it happen!

Step one,

Remove about 50 wheelbarrows worth of garden rocks. Step one was about as much fun as you’d expect, but with that done…

Step two,

POWERTOOLS! Much more fun! (For us at least, the neighbours not so much)
Gift and myself rented a compactor and set to work flattening and levelling the soil in the garden.

Step three,

We started laying the little pathway. As it turns out creating a curved little path (as per our sketch) would be a real struggle, so we opted for a little less ambitious straight path.

Dekeurboom Garden renovation.

Step four,

Cementing the path, and building the two flowerbeds.

Step five,

We had to raise the level of the ground in the two areas next to the path. So wheelbarrow (again) and compactor (also again).

Leveling the areas next to the path and laying down a ground-sheet.

Step six,

Cut the ground sheets and artificial lawn to size and shape, then hammer them in place using giant nails.

Step seven,

Paint the fountain.
We gave the fountain a dark brown undercoat, painted it liberally with wood glue, and applied the turquoise paint on the wet (bear with us) wood glue. This causes the top coat to crack and look aged when drying. We stole this idea here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_wH-xpfCM0

Step eight,

Plant the Clivias and cover the soil with tree bark to help save on water evaporation.

Step nine,

Contact the estate agents and ask them if they have any photos of the garden before we went to work on it…SUCCESS!

All in all the entire process took Gift and myself about three days with regular breaks for rain.

Final before and after.