House Rules

Last weekend: yesterday, in fact, DH and I decided rather unexpectedly to attack the front garden. We’ve been in the house (affectionately known as “Moneypit”) for a year now, and we’re slowly making improvements to the joint. Last week the air-conditioning went in and this week we completely overhauled the front garden. As I have students and families coming into the area, I knew we only had a day to make the garden vaguely respectable, so we began early. Father’s Day was a blast. First DH attacked the Monstera plant, discovering to his dismay that even a chain saw was pretty useless against its gorgon roots. The chainsaw broke. Mind you, it was an electric one borrowed from his dad, and it barely worked.

I began gently weeding. This whole process descended into: “let’s pull out anything we don’t like”, which left the front garden beds, sad and decrepit as they already were, looking like they’d had a severe short back and sides. We’ve yet to pull out all the Elms that keep suckering – we’re told we have to get a stump grinder to remove them and THEN apply a poison to the roots remaining as they refuse to die. And there were a few sad old bushy hedge-like shrubs that actually look rather nice when they flower but otherwise are the most hideously ugly things you can imagine. They went too.

So, with most of the ugly and old and overgrown now shorn, pulled out and otherwise emasculated, we thought idly, “wonder what the house would look like without the disgusting cyclone fencing?” And so began the next saga. Grabbing wire-cutters we cut off all the old rusting wire. This proved easy. But then we were left with the remains of the fence, framing the ugliness of the now denuded garden beds. So I grabbed a shifting spanner… and the rest is history. At least, the fence is!

Before the attackThis is a shot of the house before the fence came down. Neat enough, I suppose, but we had let it descend into something rather less gorgeous by the end of the year. Note the large Monstera Deliciosa blocking off the lovely appearance of the battens beneath the left gable.


This is the house after the fence has been removed. The only thing left standing is the funny old letterbox, which we’re keeping for the time being, because we’ll probably incorporate a letter box into the new and improved fence when it goes up. We WERE thinking of a high 1.5m wooden fence as we will be getting a dog and we live on a busy street, but the house looks so pretty, grand and lovely with all its character on show that I think we’ll get a lower version of the same fence design and grow a low hedge above it.

Naturally, we then had to go to a large hardware warehouse and buy an angle grinder. Yep. We have the tools. The only things missing now are a decent circular saw and a jigsaw and a…the list goes on, excitingly. And we bought some weed matting and pine bark mulch for under the stairs and that front area under the left gable, because nothing grows there and the cat poos there. It looks neat and attractive now. We’re still to finish the the sides of the block, but I’m much happier now the front looks respectable. Lovely, even. We worked ALL day, from about 7.30am on Father’s Day, until about 6.00pm, and today I have aches and pains I never knew existed. But the front looks great.

There is, of course, the matter of a carport. Painting the house. Changing the louvre windows for solid laminated windows. Restoring the front verandah. More to come.





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