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CASE STUDIES

A backyard reborn

Landscaping used to be for either the very rich or the very lazy. Having someone else do the garden was not only suspicious, but downright un-Australian.

Times have changed. Today, if we're lucky enough to have a yard, we're likely to be working pretty hard to pay it off. Usually this leaves little time to slave away in it.

   
Making a new garden that is easy to keep looking good is the trend at the moment, said Mark O'Shannessy of Sydney's Sea Gardens Landscaping. "People have very little time to spend working on their gardens these days," Mr O'Shannessy said.

"This means they want a yard that can virtually look after itself. Pavers mean no mowing and automatic watering systems take care of the rest. You can see the attraction."

This was certainly the case for Mr O'Shannessy's clients, Jemima and Tariq Holdich, who were desperate to have their yard transformed into a low-maintenance dream space. A few discussions, an exchange of ideas and Sea Gardens Landscaping and the couple had come to an agreement. The dream yard was to become a reality. Here's how it happened.

Mark O'Shannessy knows a challenge when he sees one and transforming the tiny backyard of a Zetland townhouse fell right into that category.

"The great thing about this job was that the owners had plenty of ideas, knew what they wanted and were very easy to work with," he said.

Mr O'Shannessy and his team set to work. First they ripped out the lawn, which was barely there thanks to Fly.

Next, they removed some existing tiling and paved the yard. Large planter boxes were brought in and bullnose capping was added to the brickwork. (The capping meant the brickwork can double as comfortable benches).

Organic soil was brought in and drainage set up. The plants were settled and an automatic battery operated irrigation system installed.

Lattice screening was next and spotlights were installed to highlight the new pond and water fountain.

A mosaic plate, designed and made by Mrs Holdich, was hung behind the fountain.

"It's the best small-sized yard I've seen in some time," Mr O'Shannessy said. "It's come out very well and while we did go slightly over budget, I have no doubt the work will add a tremendous amount to the property's worth."

If you're planning to overhaul your own yard, Mr O'Shannessy advises you not to go overboard. If you spent a reasonable amount you could almost guarantee you would add value to your property, he said.

"If you're reselling or you want to add value to your property, landscaping is a great way to spruce it up," Mr O'Shannessy said.

"It can make a huge difference to your home, plus it can add colour and atmosphere and you can spend time outside enjoying it. A beautiful yard adds feeling to a home and if you live in a city, like so many of us do these days, it can be a wonderful thing having your own private piece of nature."

The plan
Pave small inner city backyard and build Tuscan-style garden including gardenias, roses and conifers. Build water feature complete with fountain and pond.

The original budget : $10,000

The complete cost : $13,000 (budget went over by $3,000)

Time to complete : Three weeks

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