Monday 21 August 2017

Monday Mural - Perth on the wall

On Sunday, while attending a kid's birthday party at a playground in Kings Park I came across this fabulous mural depicting Perth seen through the Kings Park "greenery".

It was painted on the wall of the sheltered area behind the Stickybeaks Cafe, and on it you can see the city's buildings and to the right the Narrows bridge that crosses the Swan River into South Perth as well as numerous examples of the Botanic Gardens wildlife perched on the trees. 
I actually saw a Kookaburra there on Sunday, but I'll leave that for another post.

Oh, I'm going to miss not being here for the start of the Kings Park Spring Festival on the 1st of September... hopefully I'll come back with a bit of energy (if not too jet-lagged) to still visit the park before the end of September.

For other murals from around the world please follow this link.

For those that follow my mural posts, see you in a month's time, when I return from my well deserved holiday.

Wednesday 16 August 2017

Our Garden Renovation - part 2

Before & After

Following from last week's post, here is the second instalment about our backyard renovation.

About 2 years ago we finally decided to have a patio professionally installed so we could enjoy spending time outside. The "cheapy" gazebo we had bought had almost been shredded to pieces during one of Perth's winter storms, and was now covered with a net.
This meant we hardly used the backyard during summer as it was just too hot to be outdoors without being under cover.

After the installation of the patio, my husband and son started working on the decking.

Patio installed but no decking yet

The decking materials were delivered sitting on the front garden

The patio and decking area seen from outside  (taken recently grass is brown because of the cold)
The grass we had removed was quite invasive as it was a runners type, but the new grassed area is now only about 10 sqm which is ideal for a bit of green and freshness but not too much work with mowing and watering. The grass we chose is called Zoysia and is a slow growing and hardy grass, just not very good with frost in winter.

A few weeks later, after a lot of work, the patio and backyard area was finally usable and ready for one of my usual Christmas Eve dinners.
The deck is larger than the covered patio, so that when the blinds are up the entertainment area can be extended. The blinds are only on two sides of the patio, where the sun shines stronger.

The garden design was basically my idea - adding white and black pebbles for some interest and texture around the deck and paving areas, and to the right of the garden where the lemon tree and vegetable patch is we also removed the grass and covered the area with mulch.

The area to the left of the photo above and below is the area where I grow a lot of the succulents to then transplant to the front garden and other areas around the house.

You will notice that the on the left fence, the reed mat has been removed, and is still awaiting painting - I painted the whole fence around the house with a spray gun and dark gray paint (except for this area that is, because the grape vine was covering it at the time, and it's awaiting better weather...)

In between the lemon/mandarin tree and the bottle brush we have a small paved area with brick pavers given to us by a friend, and we sometimes put a couple of chairs there or the hammock as it's a pleasant and fresh area in Summer under the shade. A bird feeder hangs on the lemon tree and we get a lot of birds coming by.

To the left near the shed and the Meyer Lemon tree where we had originally put grass, we also removed the grass and lay some pavers which I painted dark gray just like the fence and the shed, and we put mulch over plastic weed mat. Less watering and less weeds to pick!

Potting area next to the shed, which was also painted in the same colour as the fence, and pavers also painted to give access to veggie garden.

Lemon tree, passion fruit vines to the left and vegetable boxes mostly full of parsley, coriander and kale.

                                       AND THE BIG REVEAL of the outdoor area:

bought a second hand outdoor wooden table with 8 chairs on Gumtree, varnished the table and chair arms and they look as good as new.
As for the various cane chairs, I'm a big fan of cane and apart from the original settee and 2 chairs we inherited when we bought the house, I found a couple more chair and footstools without their foam cushions, on verges near us and brought then home. 
A cane drinks cart was given to us by friends who downsized and no longer wanted it, and I spray painted it turquoise.
The rest of the cane furniture was varnished with a dark varnish, some foam cushions were replaced and before the backyard area was finished my daughter in law and I started sewing new covers for the chairs - this time in orange, and I made various throw cushions in turquoise and orange to match with the interior decor.

On the left the original chairs covered in a flower pattern (in the 70's decor house!!!), later then were used in another room and covered in white and pale blue - in the middle the newer version, and to the right some of the verge finds.
A former bathroom mirror got a frame made by me and was put on the wall, drinks cart given to us

I have bought another plastic outdoor carpet with turquoise patterns for under the table, which also makes the area look more comfortable and saves dirty going onto the decking boards (Can't believe I don't have a photo!)

Flowering at the moment

And there it is - my before and after backyard garden renovation. 
It's been a few years in the making, bit by bit, but now when I go outside I can be proud of our own work and I can say that we really enjoy spending time outdoors. 
In Summer we often have breakfast or lunch outdoors and sometimes when we have big groups of friends at night we eat outdoors too.

We now have a low maintenance garden, we don't spend much time weeding, watering, etc...
All we need now is an outdoor heater for cooler evenings and that's it!

                                                       BEFORE & AFTER

Hope you enjoyed following the various steps of the renovation. Some time in the future after I return from our holidays I'll post about our front garden renovation.
Enjoy the rest of the week, I've been super busy and stressed at work and can't wait to get on that plane!

Monday 14 August 2017

Monday Mural - Geometric

One of six murals painted on the pillars under the railway bridge on Tydeman Street in North Fremantle.
They were created for the "Underline - Freo Rail Bridge Mural Project" in November 2015.
This one was painted by the Australian artist "Fecks".
I had posted a few of them quite a while ago, but realized I hadn't posted the whole collection.
For other murals from around the world please follow this link.

Here you can read the posts about the other two murals from this project:

Thursday 10 August 2017

Our garden renovation - Part 1

We bought our house 10 years ago and in between renovating the interior, we've been trying to make the back garden a bit more livable and user friendly. 

From the start the garden has suffered many transformations as we get more plants or change our minds about the look we want...with the last additions being a covered patio and a deck about 2 years ago, making our backyard a much nicer and more enjoyable place to be.

                                        I'll start with the AFTER photo....

1 -Part of the renovated back garden

Before  (same view)

2 - Original garden - part of the low brick wall already removed in this photo

                                                        HOW IT ALL STARTED:

From the above photo (2) you can see how awful the original backyard looked - large cement pavers, a low brick wall, red cement patio and the huge rotating clothes line. 

The only green in the garden was from a lemon/mandarin tree at the far left end, a callistemon (bottle brush tree) next to it, a plum tree in the middle, whose fruit would fall to the ground at the slightest whiff of wind (right corner of photo), and a Meyer lemon tree on the far right of the garden. 

There was a low brick wall dividing the cement area from the rest of the garden with a tiny gate on one side, even encircling the clothesline. Crazy!
3 - the low brick wall divided the garden in two - cement patio on one side, cement bricks on the other

4 - the uninviting back area
As you can imagine all the red cement, more brick and cement pavers did nothing to liven up the dark brick house either. Here part of the brick wall had already been demolished.

1) - A few pavers were removed close to the fence and plants added. At some stage the clothes drier fell as it was rusted. The rectangular area where it stood is covered in cement, and I just added a layer of soil and planted some short rooted plants. Then I painted the red cemented patio in a beige/yellowish cement paint and the area started looking slightly better

                                                      6 - pavers removed, first plants go in

                                                    7 - Some plant growth can be seen

2) - As you can see comparing the photo above and below (7 & 8), the small area where the clothes dryer was underwent another remodel - soil and plants removed and I added pebbles and planted the succulents in vases on top of the pebbles.
8 - View from the kitchen window - the plants were growing well, side fence covered with reed mat

3) The plants grew quite well as you can see...On the side you can see a mirror that came from our bathroom renovation. The slightly rusted wheelbarrow was brought home from a verge collection...(I now have two of them). I painted it in a light green colour, added soil and more succulents. 
The what was a tiny grape vine when we bought the house, had kept growing over the wires that my husband added to some metal poles that were cemented in.

The back of the house was still very uninviting, but the garden area was looking better. We also planted a passion fruit vine on the left side of the house.

10 - Passion fruit vine on the side of the house

3) - During one of the hot Perth summers we decided the pavers were just heating up the garden and the house, so part of the pavers were removed and some grass added.
11 - some grass was added to the back garden for freshness

4) - At some stage we bought a cheap gazebo at Big W and set it up by the back fence on top of brick pavers that a friend gave us after he finished building his house. 
A banana tree was planted (next to the gazebo), but even though it's now huge we haven't had many bananas... The back fence was planted with a creeper that grew and grew and took over was later removed!

12- The gazebo was set up next to back fence
The garden suite was left here when we bought the house, and we originally used it indoors. It was covered in some hideous beige flowery fabric and I recovered the cushions in a off-white thick fabric.  Of course, just with as many things in my house, the colour scheme has changed and I later covered the settees in orange fabric.

13 - For a while the shade sail was useful to shelter us from the sun when eating outdoors
14 -The former clothes drier is now used as a cover over the vegetable garden on the right side of the back garden
15 - More vases and plants were added to this area
16 - Seen from the back towards the house

I love succulents and I keep on adding to the collection by reproducing some of my plants.

Hope you enjoyed part 1 of my garden renovation, next installment to follow next week.
Have a lovely rest of the week and enjoy the weekend.

On the weekend I'll be busy helping my husband clean the garage so we can throw some stuff out for the verge collection starting next week ... and then I can start planning what to pack for the holidays, print out the many lists of things to do and see..... we're off in less than 2 weeks!

Monday 7 August 2017

Monday Mural - Balance

I drive by the George Burnett Leisure Centre on Manning Road to and from work almost daily, but had no idea there was a mural at the back of the building.

This is a local community centre used for various sports, language teaching, etc.and backs onto large park with barbecues and a skate park. A colleague knowing I'm always on the lookout for murals indicated there was a mural behind the building.

It was painted in 2012 by Dan Duggan (the same artist who painted the last 3 bus stops I posted) and other local young artists. The mural is 25mt wide by 2,4mt high, the theme being "Balance" relating to work/life balance and a balance in terms of nutrition choices and exercise.

For other murals from around the world follow this link.

The George Burnett Leisure Centre and adjacent parkland.