Backyard Background

Taking Stock

In the beginning my Backyard DIY projects were completed on the back of fortuitous encounters with roadside pallets or a generous resident of an industrial estate, but over time I was able to acquire more pallets than I knew what to with, as well as developing a keen eye for other roadside goodies.

By the time I decided to start a blog I had already completed a handful of projects and had been slowly transforming our outside space, little at a time. With that in mind I thought it might be useful for me to take stock here, to look back at beginnings and see how I got to be the owner of a yardful of pallets.

It’s an interesting plot of land, this. An ‘L’ shape but a great size, it could be the perfect family garden, with space for the kids to run about and for the adults to burn food on a BBQ watching them play. Could be.

Around every corner lurks a problem though. For a couple of years I’d resolve the problems of one corner by transporting them, piece of rubble by piece of rubble, to another corner. It’s ok, it’s behind the shed, out of sight out of mind. And look, we have a newly transformed corner (until the next round of musical chairs – and by chairs I mean rubble).

More in store

First wood store

Then, around a year ago, I built (and I use the term loosely) a wood store mostly from pallets. That was it, I’d got the bug. Not only did it look pretty good – not great but ok for a first attempt – but it was functional too. I loaded it with logs and scrap wood and stood there in the rain watching my wood not get wet. Amazing!

The cycle continues

Shortly after, a bike shed made an appearance at the end of the wood store. I’d been traveling to an appointment at work and had spotted a small bed frame at the side of the road. I jumped out of my car and threw it in the boot, then later when I got home I threw up a bed frame bike shed.

imageAgain, it might not be worthy of much praise but it was an improvement on the wood store. I was muddling along, learning, and things weren’t falling down. I considered that an achievement. And once again, I’d created something functional. I didn’t spend quite as long standing in the rain watching things not getting wet, but I knew it was happening.


In the meantime I worked on shaping the lawn ready for some shrubs and decorative trees (lots of digging, grr!), transforming the play area into ‘The Park’ (I have big plans for this thanks to Pinterest) and introducing some hanging baskets because they’re just so pretty!

The Pallets Are Coming

Late last year after happening upon a source of pallets that didn’t just provide me with a handful of them every now and then but with a truck load (delivered, to boot) I could finally start letting my imagination (by which I mean Pinterest) run wild.


The trouble was, I was getting too many pallets! Or rather, it was winter and my motivation could be tracked along with the mercury. They arrived, and they piled up. One day when I found myself unable to safely access the garden I started an impromptu clear up. This imageinvolved moving pallets from one side of the backyard to the other (I’m good at that sort of thing), and at some point in the process I decided to build another wood store. I’d be killing two birds with one stone: I’d use up some pallets building the wood store and could chop the rest up and place them in the wood store. Pallet overload solved. Probably.


I’ll not lie, I’m proud of this wood store. Three bays for kindling, scrap and logs; solid as a rock. It could almost be store bought. Ok, maybe not, but the process of muddling and learning really is starting to take effect and I’ve finally built something that looked very much like I envisioned it. Without delay it was time to move on to projects new.

Roll on

For my next project I wanted to replace my woven compost bags with a tumbler. I’d seen a few ideas on the web and thought I could fashion one out of an industrial cable reel or two. So, one Saturday morning I drove to an industrial estate and within a few minutes I’d found two discarded cable reels. Within a few hours I’d modified them into one compost tumbler.

And that’s where we are. Actually tumbling the compost tumbler has had me scratching my head somewhat over the last few weeks, and I’ve gone through a couple of design drafts with more than a little frustration. Originally I had planned to mount it on a scaffold pole and spin it like a big, organic tombola. Then I planned to mount it on rollerblade wheel “feet”. Both ideas have their issues. (I realise that by it’s very nature such a tumbler could be wheeled about but that isn’t really practical). As it stands I’m sticking with the rollerblade method and we’ll just have to wait and see. Maybe my next blog post will be my completed tumbler with ingenious rollerblade feet that work like a charm. Maybe not. Muddling, you see.

Thanks for reading. See you in the backyard.

Edited, 20th Feb 2014


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