With the interior house renovations complete, the House Rules teams have been busy out in the cold for the garden makeovers. Their impressive work proved just how easy it is to transform your house from the outside – no matter what space you’re working with. So, if you’re starting fresh or want to revamp an old yard like on House Rules, we’ve got the tips to get you there.
To DIY or not
Now they’re approaching the finish line of the show, the House Rules contestants have developed some impressive DIY skills. But Denis from Better Backyards says when it comes to DIY, it all depends on the individual.
“Obviously some people are reasonably knowledgable and other people aren’t,” he says. “Anything construction related I would get an expert in for, like retaining walls, paving and concreting. If you’re just mulching or planting you can do it yourself, but I think it’s always good to have another set of eyes on something other than just your own,” he says.
For Denis, a combined effort produces the best result.
“I never go into a job and tell my client what to do. I ask what they want the end product to look like and it’s generally a mutual decision that we come to.”
Think beyond the garden
When we think about outdoor renovations, our mind immediately jumps to plants and greenery. As Luke and Cody proved, the garden is just one of many outdoor elements you can focus on.
The twins scored a massive 17 out of 20 for their transformation of Brooke and Michelle’s front yard, which included a list of clever improvements including: a new fence, terrace, driveway, carport and repointing the brickwork.
Likewise, Fil and Joe incorporated a caravan cubby house and sandpit into Claire and Hagan’s small yard for the kids to play in while Team SA added an outdoor kitchen for entertaining on to the deck.
Judge Wendy Moore loved the creative additions, which were “really substantial but didn’t dominate the tiny space”.
It’s important to think carefully and practically about the placement of your various outdoor elements. Brooke and Michelle’s decision to place the play area in the driveway at Claire and Hagan’s home received heavy criticism from judge Wendy Moore.
To avoid falling to the bottom of the scoreboard, Denis recommends thinking carefully about your plant choice and location.
“Planting the wrong trees in the wrong spots is the most common mistake I see. Thirty years ago everyone decided to plant a gum tree and now you see these 60 feet trees in their backyards. I’ll often get called in to rip plants out because they shouldn’t have been there to begin with,” he says.
Working with what you already have is a good place to start. Brooke’s decision to save and incorporate the birch tree within their zone won high praise.
“Building a deck to accommodate it made it feel all the more special,” said judge Joe Snell.
Budget ideas with big impact
You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to improve your outdoor area – sometimes all it takes is a little tidy up.
“Estimating the cost of your landscaping project is like asking the length of a string. You can spend $200 to re-mulch the house or $20,000 to install a rock retaining wall. Once you start to get structural, that’s where the costs come in,” Denis says.
But Denis is confident you can get a wow factor transformation for under $1,000.
“General makeovers that include mulching, neatening the edges and some low maintenance plants can make a huge difference to your property,” he says.
Feeling ready to tackle the outdoors? We’ve got plenty of gardeners and landscapers just like Denis ready to help. In the meantime, have a look at the House Rules transformations for some extra inspiration!