my backyard at the beginning of spring

House!

This is a practical post rather than an art post. But I’m all excited. We just got the roof replaced – by these guys – Horizon Roofing (I would recommend them if you live in the SE suburbs of Melbourne, they did a fine job!)  This was the last massive thing to do that we had left on the house. Maybe in 10 years the stumps might need doing but most of the tilt in the back is due to the liquid amber tree sucking the soil dry.

This, though, is why I love the liquid amber and will never willingly get rid of it (even though it drops horrid little pointy nuts that kill your feet when you walk on them. Look at that colour!

the lovely liquid amber tree in the back yard in autumn glory

 

The house is one of my art projects and hobbies.  I have changed many room colours many times. I’ve changed the garden entirely and done a lot of fixing up and bits and bobs. I’d like to take the time to thank the financial industry and software related jobs all over Melbourne for paying good wages so we can afford to do this!

The house when we first moved into it was a plain white weatherboard, 1950s. It had this naff grey/blue trim that I think was indoor paint and had not done well.  The garden was negligible – a few trees in the back, a few in the front. Suited me fine. It was a blank canvas. I bought in 1999, just before the first home buyers grant. House prices went up about 30 grand after that, so I got in in good timing!  Though when i started saving a deposit, you’d have been able to get this house for around $90,000. I had to pay 170 in 1999 – people told me I’d been ripped off! These days, houses on my street are going for about 3-5 times this. Yikes. Then again I was on a third of my current yearly income, so it’s all relative I guess.

The front, side, and back when i moved in (you can see where i started ripping up the front lawn). Oh man that’s my old ford laser. That was smashed into smithereens on new years eve day 2001. I was buying curtains. A van drove out in front of me. BAM.

old front cat side 00 back 00

About ten years ago the house was repainted in purple. It took me a while to figure out what colour I wanted. I dislike green for weatherboard, I’m not a beige or off white person, I don’t like greys and think blues and reds are not appropriate for the era of house, they just don’t look right. However it’s a pretty house and very cottage-like and I like lavenders (hard to kill) so I went with purple with darker purple and pale yellow trim.  Also went with lots and lots of roses and daisies and natives.

house side My front garden in spring.

Something else I did that took forever  and I will never do again (hurt hands, knees, argh!) was a mosaic of a fish and a butterfly on the front verandah. Here is is in various stages of completion.

mosaic1 freshly completed mosaic on front veranda with the grout not rubbed off fully yet.I did a koi pattern in tile and broken plates

Then there was the shed. The shed to the left had asbestos roofing, we’d removed some of the rotten weatherboards just before this photo but this is how shitty it was for years. This housed the hot water service and the washing machine in it  – clearly used to be the outhouse too. After many years the hot water service and piping was redone in the back area, this shed was sub-optimal to say the least! Not weather proof. WE DESTROYED IT. This was replaced with this pretty little shed in the same place which actually has a door, power, and a window. A DOOR, that CLOSES. This is my wood working shed and general purpose Doing Stuff In the Shed shed now. I didn’t build this but i have done up the inside nicely.

shed1 shed

The backyard has been through some iterations. it has a steel enclosure right up the back (with a tortoise and a lizard in it) and a frog pond which actually does get tadpoles in a good year – the frog live in the garden the year round. I have a ‘mulch everything’ policy, i literally chuck all trimmings and prunings into the yard. it’s gotten a bit out of hand recently (massive piles of prunings) but eventually it all rots down and creates mulch, also provides habitat and that’s more important than a neat garden. there are possums, birds, lizards, and frogs, all living in the yard, it’s pretty much a haven in the middle of suburbia. Lovely to spend time in, too.

my house,side Side of my house when i just moved in. no garden to speak of, just lawn and a few trees. this has been removed. The frog pond in the back garden,have had a few years where it's been a breeding ground for frogs. not since the drought.

Last year the fence down the side was replaced. Can you see why!!! it was a bit rubbish.

This is why we had to replace our fence. didn't keep much out really Our new fence completed

The little side bit (in front of the water tanks) has also now been scrapped and replaced – It turned out this was infested with wood borer – and this got into the bit of the house that butted up to it. I spent a lot of my recent holidays removing weatherboard and spraying for borer, then replacing it all and painting it up. Bloody tedious job that was!

How. Boring.

At some point we had a wood borer infestation in the house. I replaced the boards. this is the weatherboard honeycombed with holes. ripping off weatherboard and replacing it. House work!

 

You probably can tell there are cats living here cause of my obsessive posts about cats. They are indoor cats but they have access to some outside bits via tubing that leads right down to the backyard and a little enclosure. I also had an enclosure I’d built really badly right by the back door when I had no idea how to build anything.  With my new found powers of building (after doing the Homesglen timber house framing short course) this was redone bigger, better, and nicer.

I buitl this cat run when i had no idea what i was doing. it was falling down and needed replacing That timber house framing course came in handy when building or planning the cat run i built the cat run forthe cats to sit on. they are not allowed outside for safety and environmental reasons, so they can sun themselves now

Here am I doing the house framing course in front  of the roof we’d just spent a few weeks doing (it was a realllllly good course, I learned so much!).

timber house framing workshop, holmesglen

We also a number of years ago replaced the really old crappy lean-to out the back (which was living up to the name ‘lean’) with a nicer  version. Again, notice the glory of the asbestos and the whole thing being held together with twine and hope.  This was also when I had chickens (foxes got them). Oh boy, i’d forgotten how dire the back ‘room’ was. The cat peering out the ‘back’ is Dax, who died of throat cancer a few years ago. She was an excellent cat. sniff.

 

crappy hen house in backyard before I changed it asbestos lean too held together with hope and sting. the cat wanted out

So onto the roof.

The old tiles were literally falling apart.  They were 50s cement tiles. We discovered during the removal process some time ago the roof had been sealed and re-sprayed from a terracotta colour to the grey it was when I first knew it. Those tiles were cracking. It was leaking all over the shop and just awful. really horrid. See the state of it, bits had come loose all over it.

Cheap and nasty tiles don't last forever. we were getting leakage pretty constantly which is why we got the roof replaced.

Wayne and the gang turned up, scaffolded it, and removed sections and replaced it.  They finished yesterday. It’s been a very rainy few weeks so they were not able to do it consistently. Took about 4 days total but nearly 2 weeks of elapsed time due to time off with things like horrible storms.

this is what 1950s roof tiles made of cheap cement end up like NAKED ROOF. You can see the house roof structure. Pretty good for a 1950s build. It's all hardwood. The roofers needed to put up safety scaffolding beforethey could destroy our roof. The first secion of roof around the cooler has been replaced. the roof tiles filled the skp. they shattered on impact. to be honest they shattered just sitting up on the roof, was not sorry to see them go.

…aaaaand done. NEW ROOF!

I picked the colour ‘Dune’ because I liked it and also…well I’m a bit of a Frank Herbert Fan. No worm sign, so clearly the house is not Arrakis. It’s an odd colour to describe. It’s silvery yellow. Under some lights it’s yellow, ome it’s silvery, these photos were taken when it was overcast so it looked like the sky behind it. I picked the light colour cause it’s meant to be more energy efficient.

we had the crappy 50s tiles replaced with colourbond roofing shiny new roof!

What next? New chook run (fox proof this time – I have 80m of treated pine just waiting for me in the back yard). Putting sarking insulation UNDER the house to stop the drafts.  Then next long term – Solar hot water and solar electricity. After that…who knows! The world is my oyster.

Mabye I’ll have time to do more art!!!!