The look I was going for with the new garden was rustic incompetence, and I think I achieved that.
WARNING! If you are an avid DIY-er, or a keen gardener, you might want to look away. This will leave you shaking your head and going tut, tut.
I’ve made some planters before from recycled wood, and to be fair, they were crap. Even I could see that. But to her credit, my wife enthusiastically planted herbs in them, and even more surprising, they grew.
So this time, she came up with the idea of using old bricks. “But old bricks are not cheap” I said.
“What if I can get them for free?” she responded. Well, what can you say to that?
So she put the call out through Neighbourly for old bricks and got a bunch of replies. It seems the city is teeming with old bricks people want to get rid of.
I figured we’d need about 100 bricks or so to make the garden. We got 107 of them in one load alone!
So Saturday was spent driving around the city, filling up the boot of my car with bricks and then driving home and carrying them out to the back yard. It was a little strange, that we didn’t actually talk to the people who owned the bricks.
My wife would text them that we are on our way, and the brick owners would reply, just help yourself.
So we’d park as close as possible and then load up the car as quick as we could, as if this was some sort of clandestine operation. (It added to the fun of the day)
Then the afternoon was spent planning out how the garden should look, and then putting the bricks in place.
I was knackered by the end of it. But the garden was done, sort of.
But then we had the question of what to do with the rest of the pile of bricks? And there were quite a lot left over.
I’d also talked (a lot) about building my wife a little patio where she could sit outside and relax. So that seemed a perfectly reasonable use for the bricks. How hard could it be?
So the next day, a bit stiff and sore, I got stuck into preparing the ground for a wee patio. The day was just beautiful – bright blue skies and no wind.
You can’t beat Wellington on a good day.
Pretty soon I was down to a singlet and shorts, and sweating. But it was still good fun, as I started laying the bricks.
I could / should have prepared the ground with aggregate and sand, compacted it, levelled it off, done a professional job of it, but I didn’t have the budget or tools for that, (I don’t even have a wheelbarrow) and it wouldn’t have fitted with the theme of rustic incompetence.
Half an hour later the shirt was off and I was loving it – summer is here! My wife came out and told me to put some sunscreen on, but I was too busy getting into it to be bothered. A bit later I could feel the sun start to bite my back, so I got her to put some sunscreen on my back. It turned out to be a bit too little, too late.
I carried on throughout the afternoon, not even stopping for lunch. I was in the zone!
As the day wore on however I started to get pretty tired, and I was ready to quit as the sun left the back yard. But Sunday was the only day I’d get to complete this, as it was back to work tomorrow, and I knew that I’d probably not be able to move much the next day.
So I manfully struggled on, with aching knees, a sore back and a growing hunger in my stomach.
I finally called it quits about 7pm, and the garden was finished. And to be fair, so was I.
I had just enough energy left for a shower and home-made pizza – my wife’s payment for the garden, and then fell into bed.
Today is Labour Day, so it’s a holiday (for those who are not self-employed) and I’m moving very slowly. Everything hurts. My back is still on fire, and my wife has told me several times I told you so.
I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck - a truck which then called in all his mates to have a go at running me over so they can film it and put it on YouTube.
But it is worth it to see my wife sitting happily in her seat, enjoying the patio and garden. It will take a little time for it to take on the character I had envisioned, as the plants grow. But when it does it should look pretty cool.
All in all, not my worst DIY disaster.
What’s your worst DIY disaster? Do you have one? If not, why not?
Get out there and do something rubbish. Build something that will fall apart. Dream big, and build something that makes people go WTF were you thinking?
Because it’s fun! And that’s pretty much the only reason to do it.
Photos: All photos were taken by me (except for the vanity shot of my biceps, taken by my wife)