A Labour of Love by Karen Bertelson
This is visual account of a real backyard transformation by Canadian TV celebrity and writer Karen Bertelson. She worked alone on this project and achieved fantastic results. The area is not huge but it is now an extremely attractive ‘chilling zone’.
Karen bought her house over a decade ago and at the time one of the main attractions was the charming backyard space. However, over the years the cracks started to show and the backyard started to look tired and well ‘past its sell by date’.
Originally the garden area was “a calming oasis of slate and cedar, highlighted by a natural-looking pond and moss-covered boulders.” Karen fell in love with it instantly but realized recently that the glamour was fading and something drastic had to be done to revitalize the area. She decided that it would be too expensive to get the professionals in so decided to tackle the project herself. These pictures show the wonderful transformation from seriously shabby to desirably chic!
A main feature in this stunning backyard transformation is the patio area. The new patio has been constructed from smart square stone slabs. The simple geometric layout has something of a Japanese appeal. The raised planter beds have been stained to match the stone. This adds continuity to the area and allows the textures and tones of the foliage to become a focal point. The rich planting scheme contrasts and softens the angular forms of the patio and its smart furnishings.
Transforming the backyard – a labor of love
Karen says that to achieve the backyard she dreams of, she had to rip up all the original structures and start again. After the initial destruction she started with a blank canvas. Her aim was to create a smart, elegant and contemporary garden She removed the slate which, although attractive, wasn’t sufficiently durable to withstand the rigors of outdoor conditions. This is why she selected the stone flags, and pressure treated timber to create the flower beds. Plastic liners were used to protect the wood from the damp soil.
Backyard Transformation ideas
The old pond was torn out and replaced with the simpler geometric version which echoed the shape on the patio. The ground work was done mainly during the spring and with the view that the backyard would be ready to enjoy through the summer. Although it was hard work, Karen tackled the backyard transformation project enthusiastically. She took care of all the digging, leveling and carpentry without hesitation.
Sparkling waterfall made from reclaimed slate
The gorgeous waterfall feature was created by recycling the old slate that Karen took out of the yard. The pond was constructed to accommodate two levels, this looks great and adds interest for its fishy inhabitants and the water dwelling plants.
The completed showcase garden
So although totally different, this stunning backyard transformation has recreated a uniquely charming outdoor space that is equally as beautiful as the garden that Karen first fell for so many years earlier. This is a fabulous project and shows what can be done with a dream, determination and some good old fashioned hard graft.