For the past 8 years since getting with my husband , our family has grown into something a lot larger than we initially were ready for and so we have spent our time trying to find the perfect place for us to live with enough space for us all .
We first moved from our home to somewhere not too far away and again back at the start but soon realised that the area was no good in the sense their were no parking spaces for our vehicles nor were there any gardens big enough to let the children play so looked to move a little further away and at that time we had my two daughters and our youngest son who had just turned 1 year old living at home with us .
It was only in Our last home , two years ago, a three bedroom home, that from upsetting circumstances we ended up having my husbands other 3 children come live with us full time with another staying throughout holidays and weekends so we went from an average family of 5 to a staggering 9 overnight and so we had no option but to find a new home that fit us all in and it seemed like forever to get one that seemed big enough and also in an area safe for the children .
We brought the children up in 4 different homes over the past 8 years and 4 different schools meant that they were constantly feeling uplifted and not at all settled, our last home gave us many happy memories like our wedding day and being united as a family as well as numerous happy summer smiles but we had no choice to move as we all felt like sardines in a tin .
We were over the moon to find a home close by that had the parking space for the works and family vehicles , extra bedrooms and even an office for the husband to run our family business which he has worked so very hard to do over the past few years.
Not only have we found our perfectly sized home to fit us in but we were truly blessed to be even given a very large garden at the rear of the house which for the first time was not in the public eye and quite secluded from the passing community and like the last home, not been trampled on by school kids walking past.
The only place people can see in is a small community centre at the back of the garden which was rarely used .We also found out that half of our garden had been made into an allotment for the community centre to make vegetables and although people in the village keep telling us it is still ours we have no wish to take another large piece of land unless thy no longer want it at a later date , its nice to see them in there making some fresh vegetables and it keeps the elderly people who run it doing something they enjoy.
We are more than happy with the oversized garden we already have .
Our new little Cul-de-sac semi detached home was perfect and we have settled very well here and love it.
So we had a bumpy shock when we first moved, not only did I have to get the kids into a new school again and just before my oldest daughters SATS , but we also found out that we were expecting again and believe me it came as such a shock that our settling in mode kicked in even quicker.
With all our other homes , we never felt ''AT HOME'' or ''SETTLED'' , we instantly felt comfortable and welcomed into our new community and knew straight away it was our forever home.
So the making our home a real home started almost immediately and first thing we had to tackle was the garden .
The one thing that came with my husband as well as the kids was his love for dogs and we have ended up with three German Shepherds which have grown from small cute puppies into huge fluffy dogs and with them comes mess so with past experiences of the dogs and muddy gardens our first plan was to make an area for them where they could not drag any soil or dirt into the house .
I am determined to get new carpets and until the garden is finished , it was never going to happen .
My husband and I decided that we needed a full garden makeover and it went from just building an outdoor dog area with kennel , to having decking for the adults and then eventually the kids area and we split the garden into three sections and got doodling with pen and paper until we eventually came up with something that seemed easy to do and perfectly suited for the whole family .
When we initially started thinking up plans , we never imagined how big this project was going to turn out and we had a few problems at first but eventually my husband with help from his brother and our neighbour over come the struggles.
If it was not for my husband working everyday, we have counted up the hours spent doing this garden would make just one week , if it was anything other than time on his hands holding him up it was getting the cash to buy the wood that slowed us down but after 8 long weeks I am proud to say my husband is amazing and he has finally finished it (except for those small little touches of flowering the boarder and decorations of course ).
Our first Struggle was the fact we had a couple of trees that did not look such a worry, but until my husband started to dig them out, trying to not damage them and bring them up from the root to replant them elsewhere, we found that the roots were in fact heading close to the house and ran a lot longer through the under soil than we thought but once removed from the ground the only thing left staring at us was the large area of grass and soil .
The whole garden was measured up and my husband bought some line spray to section each area to get it started.
The biggest problem which put my husband on hold for a couple of weeks was that the garden seemed to have a huge slope from the back of the garden leading to the house and if we wanted to put a seating area in one of those corners and a small play hut which the kids had already in the garden in the other , then it simply had to be flattened .
What took so much time, as well as my husband having to work everyday , was the fact that him and the boys ended up digging the whole garden up to remove the grass and also make the surface area flat for renovating .
I am not going to lie, there was so much mess and endless amount of mud and rubbish being piled up waiting to be removed for quite sometime as well as trailing through the house .
We resolved the issue of over loaded leftover top soil by contacting our local community centre and donating it for their gardening areas and also some other locals who were in need of top soil ,we had so much that we ended up with over 4 van loads but eventually all was taken to be reused again and Eventually the kids swings, play house and climbing frame and slide ended up on the scrap mans pile.
I made the first jump by saying that I would just buy them a new one as the one we currently had was dated and worn anyway.
Later on this was found not to be the case , John wanted to make a statement of this garden .
It took the lads a whole month between working, school and trying to do the garden to clear the area and have the rubbish removed , grass removed and a large raised boarder put in place ready for late summer planting later on.
My husband has always admitted that he is not green fingered and so having a large planting place for me and the kids to add some flowers or shrubs was definitely something I had asked for otherwise he would have had no plants at all.
I am the type of person who always tells my husband just to pay someone to do the work and after a few weeks I could see that he was becoming over tired and aching from toe to head , but he carried on knowing it was only 8 weeks until the children broke up for their school holidays and he wanted it all finished in time for us all to be able to sit out and enjoy our summer.
He had endless blisters, bleeds , cuts and scrapes but luckily nothing major got broken or damaged and as the digging began to slow down , we could see that the garden was finally taking some sort of shape .
After a month of digging, our attention went towards the dogs as they seemed to be locked in the house with me and the children in it for most of the day due to not being able to let them out in all the commotion and so the first task was the dog area and kennel had to be made so they could get some fresh air while the project was underway.
We decided to fence this area of because we did not want the dogs running around where the children were and nor did we want them doing their business in their play area .
We wanted to give them a place to run and also somewhere to hide in the shade when the weather was warm and so my husband got to building a kennel and gravelled the floor area .
We seemed to spend our days walking around B&Q picking up tools , wood and screws and we were spending a fortune but nothing compared to what it would cost from a store if we bought things flat packed or in ready to build sets and my husband was enjoying the fact he could say he made it himself , it somehow seemed more rewarding to him that he was achieving something he was not usually used to doing .
I have to admit that the big tool we really are greatful for throughout our whole garden project is the power tool that cost us a little under £200 and it was the JCB rotating mitre saw and the folding , extendable JCB work bench which was paired with it.
This tool was the one thing that hurried things along a lot more and made life a little easier for my husband and his sore hands.
Our dogs do not stay in here for a long length of time, it is merely for them to enjoy the fresh air as we will in the summer without being tormented by our small children.
The area for which we were building for us to sit on became gravelled with a very large decking area , again from B&Q as it was the best deal we could find for the larger sized decking boards and although in this picture you can see my husband and his friend looking comfortable , I assure you , they were still in the middle of working on electrics and lights which have now been added to the decking area for when we wish to entertain friends and family .
We still have a few more lights to add but you can see how lovely it looks on the night time and having the electrics available , means I can sit out in the sunshine and work without worry my laptop will run out of charge or we can bring the Music system and disco lights out if we wish to.
Before the garden was finished , my husband and his brother and neighbour spent many late nights sat out with their fire pit on keeping them warm after a hard busy day working on the finishing touches.
Once the dog area was finished, decking area fitted , electrics wired up and gravel all down we then had one bit left to tackle ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
The biggest project of the whole garden, the kids area !
We spent weeks deciding on what we were going to do with the childrens area.
It all started with the idea that we would just replace the metal swings and such, then I seen some amazing wooden play parks online and really wanted one .
The prices were ridiculous, there was no way that my husband was prepared to buy something that he thought was easy to build him self. I asked him to buy one and he said no!
Instead my husband decided to go the whole way and decided that there was no way he was going to spend £1600 on a wooden play park from store , instead he was going to buy the wood and screws, swings and slide and build one from scratch .
Now if you have ever met my husband and know him well you will know he always does his best at everything he does and if he has his mind set there literally is no way I can change his mind and so I eventually agreed into letting him make one although I felt very sceptical it would be a complete shambles and he would break something or just waste money.
I have never known my husband to work with wood never mind build a whole park safe for our children to play on.
My husband firstly build a step up area for the children to have their own part to play on covered in bark for those soft landings if ever a fall happened and then the construction work began.
I feel ashamed to have originally thought this way , I should have known better that what he had just started would soon become the top topic of discussion with some people in our village and family and friends.
The lady at the community centre which faced the back of our garden could see the work taking place and even suggested I start charging the kids to come play (a joke of course) , it was merely her way of saying how fabulous it was and we even had comments to say that the one my husband had built was actually better than our local park .
So here are some pictures of the progress of the park itself.
It seemed to just get bigger and bigger and the more he worked on it, the more I got excited for the kids .
I was absolutely over the moon at the fact that my husband had put his mind into doing something that he had never done before and he had completed it with nothing but determination, hard work and all for the sake of the kids.
He really did work hard and for not being one for garden work or even working with wood, he has done amazingly well and I for one am imensely proud of him.
The children are making the very most of the new park what their dad built them. I think the biggest favourite is of course their swing and the big slide .
There are two towers , each with an under section .
One of the towers has a shed for their outdoor toys underneath and is all enclosed so they can sit in even when it rains and play and the other is an open tower which has a sandpit underneath for them to sit in and a large slide coming of the top and of course joining them together is the bridge across the centre.
The enclosed tower has the swings adjoined to it and it consists of two swings and also a nest swing which is in the centre .
We are still looking to add bits and bobs onto the park such as climbing ropes and telescopes for the children to enjoy but it is all the little extras and for now they can finish enjoying the park as it was intended.
So the first part of the project of our new home is complete.
We saved so much money doing it ourselves and I have to say B&Q has become like a second home for us this past few months.
The tools we bought made DIY so much easier and not at all at a massive cost .
Through all the hard wearing the tools went through from tape measures to the mitre saw , nothing became broken or unable to use and I for one would recommend their products every time.
We bought wood and screws , electrics and lights , last week we bought a new umbrella and very large BBQ and I know we will be back soon as the planting season is going to keep me busy for that huge raised border which is in need of making pretty as well as some more decorations and furniture.
''I have my eye on a gorgeous suite to sit on my new decking . There is so many fantastic garden furniture sets that would look lovely to finish it all of so I will be back''.
So what next?
Garden is all done, I think it is time we popped back to see what B&Q have to offer for the decorating the inside of my home before baby arrives.
Keep an eye on our next project.
I will never ever doubt my husbands talents again , I am very proud of him , well done John-Paul Prince from Princesvaleting.co.uk , best dad ever.