Garden demolition (and Phil nearly loses a limb.)

Yesterday was a gorgeous day in Adelaide and we had a rare weekend day with nothing on, so we thought we’d get stuck into the garden. As I may have mentioned the garden needs a lot of work to get it to what we want, so we thought we’d start on the bits we can while the house plans are being finished and lodged. Plus, I am impatient to get started and this is one thing we can do straight away!

The first thing I couldn’t wait to get rid of was the bird aviary. The previous owner obviously loved animals because there is a bird aviary, chook pen, another wired animal enclosure and a dove house. We’re still deciding whether to keep the chook pen and the dove house (it’s very cute looking but I’m not sure) but the second wire enclosure and the bird aviary had to go. We also couldn’t wait to start pulling out some of the plants and small trees that have seen better days, to make room for the ones we want. So we pulled out our Blundstone boots for the first time since The Block and got stuck  into some hard work. And hard work it was! Eight hours later our bodies were aching, but the sense of accomplishment was huge. What a great feeling it is to work on your own property and know that you’re not only making it beautiful but increasing the value.

So this is what the avery looked liked before.



It’s part of a big vined archway that runs down the middle of the garden. Originally we were going to get rid of the whole thing, but then a friend told me about the beautiful archway in her friends country property and got me all inspired. Her friend has a table under hers and hosts lunches with fairy lights hanging from the vines and I can imagine it’s an absolutely magical setting. Of course I love the sound of that, but right now ours is too narrow to fit a table under and it’s taking up too much room in the yard, so it needs some major redesigning. So we decided for now we would just remove the aviary part and then once the house and pool foundations are set we can work out how much of it we can keep and how it can work within our design. Right now I am imagining it diving the pool and the grassed side of the garden. We can put an outdoor sofa or daybed in it, some hanging pendant lights and then you have the perfect outdoor feature and shady spot to lounge by the pool and read a book. Heaven!

Besides, established garden features like this take decades to achieve and we loved the idea of having such an established garden complementing our new house. It will give the house a lived in feeling, rather than looking like a new show home, which is what I want.


The entrance to the archway. It needs some major pruning!

So, back to project aviary. I have to say, it didn’t start well.

I swear, we couldn’t even make this stuff up! Anyone who watched The Block (or this video) will know that Phil is not a natural handyman. In fact, he’s more like a bull in a china shop. Anything that requires delicate work, or patience, or not breaking anything, he’s not your man. But what he lacks in handyman skill he makes up for in brute strength. He has the shoulders of a Royal Show wood-chopper and when it comes to demolition he’s worth his weight in gold. Having said that, at times he has absolutely no common sense, as this video proves….

Luckily he eventually listened to us and no limbs were lost in the process. He is playing it up of course, but you do have to take things seriously when you’re dealing with power tools, ladders and home and garden repairs. Did you know the biggest reason for hospital admissions for middle aged men on the weekends is injuries from exactly that?

It took many more hours than we expected, but eventually the last piece of the aviary came down. It was so great seeing the garden open up and start to get a feel for how it will look. There’s still a long way to go, but it’s progress. Eventually we will take out the lower beams to open it up even more, but there’s plenty of time for all that.


We also got stuck into the rest of the garden and at the end of the day had a great big junk pile (and very sore muscles!) It was great having the kids help and be part of the process, Jamison in particular. It not only got them outside (and off the iPads) but I love that they’re seeing just what goes into creating a beautiful home. Hopefully they feel even more of a pride and connection to the place when it’s done, knowing they helped make it happen.



Our next weekend project is to turn the old wooden shed into a Hamptons style cubby house. So we removed the old door and window and started to sand it back, ready for the next free day we have.


I have a feeling we’ll be spending a lot of time in this garden over the holidays and I can’t wait. I love a project and we’ve certainly got one with this place!




    • Amity says

      Hi Louise, it is totally Hamptons, you’re right. I think we will keep it but just move it down the back so the doves don’t poop in the pool! (poop in the pool is so not Hamptons) ;)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *