As many of you are aware, we have totally changed the rear of the house. Previously, we had an entirely separate house and yard. When the house was originally built in 1969-1970, part of the block was excavated. This meant that there has always been a number of steps up to the back yard. Combined with an extremely ugly makeshift pool fence that was made out of old pool lining and lattice, it meant that visually it was nigh on impossible to see the backyard from the house. And personally I think the pool area is quite nice. It needs some work but it is has potential.
Here is what the back of the house used to look like:
Clearly not very attractive. It hid the pool entirely. We thought one of the best ways to connect the two areas was to open up the back of the house which we did. The picture below shows the back wall removed. Ignore the two children clambering about on scaffolding. It was OH&S approved.
Now that back wall is a stacker sliding door with windows either side (with a second storey on top!). Here it is part way through the build:
The aim was to build a deck straight off the back as per the design:
We had to rip up the old pavers and the excavators levelled it out.
The deck was started a while ago, but with all the rain, it had been delayed. The soil where we we live is clay and dense. This delay, however, proved to be somewhat fortuitous. We noticed that the water was pooling and not draining away. On further inspection, the builders realised that with all the poor weather that we have had recently, the storm water drain into which the aggie pipes had been channelled was not draining properly. Tyson (the unfortunate Tyson, the victim of our rats), determined that we needed to ensure that there would be no water lying under the newly laid deck as it would act as a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other water borne pests. When digging the trenches necessary to drain the area, he soon discovered that our storm water pipes weren’t up to par and that we needed to call upon our trusty plumber (Ratty was his name) to work out what was impeding the flow of water to the street. Upon sending down the pipe cleaning equipment, it was discovered that the water course was being fettered by all sorts of debris including concrete, tree roots and old toothbrushes. Honestly, I am not suprised as when we removed our floorboards we discovered so much junk under our house. It was touch and go as to whether our concrete driveway would need to be ripped up to replace our 1970’s earthenware pipes but thankfully it appears that the water is now running freely again and our drainage problems have been resolved. We put in the concrete driveway about 5-6 years ago and concrete is insanely expensive. I begrudgingly paid for it as I had no choice as all the quotes were equally as exorbitant. At the time, I was invited to my friend Lucy’s wedding which was in Oman (how incredibly glamorous!) and I desperately wanted to attend. But no. I got a concrete driveway instead. So I am thoroughly relieved it is staying.
To further discourage the mosquitoes, the builders have put down a layer of scoria to inhibit breeding and help draining.
I think it will be important to have an evening ritual of a gin and tonic on the deck in summer. It would be for medicinal purposes only; I need to ensure I prevent malaria** with a daily dose of quinine.
With a reprieve from the rain, the decking started.
We have gone for a Merbau board to match in with the other Merbau around the house. We think it ties in nicely with our retaining wall.
It’s pretty much finished. It runs the length of the house and wraps around the side a little.
At the end of the decking, we will have a wall and gate to hide away the washing line and vehicles.
The blue board will be rendered in Colorbond Dune to match the rest of the house. The decking will house our outdoor table and also our bbq.
Bring on summer so we can enjoy this space. I can’t wait.
**Australia is actually free of endemic malaria, but it is better to be safe than sorry.