Since Backyard Carnival in late July I haven’t had any big projects on the go in the backyard. Instead I’ve been focusing on putting some small finishes to other projects and having a good old tidy up.
In August I finally got around to tidying the shed! If you saw this old pic-post you’ll know the shed was in a very bad state. Over a couple of days I emptied and reorganised, even Blue Petering some empty bottles into tool storage. I have to say this was one of the most cathartic jobs I’d done in a while – and one I’d been putting off for almost a year! Going in the shed is now much more enjoyable and has a sense of satisfaction. I wonder if I can keep it tidy this time…
In late Autust I gave the fence panels a makeover with some Ronseal fence treatment. Then in early September I painted Wood Store #2 (gallery), then the bike shed (gallery) and Wood Store #1 (gallery).
Like tidying the shed these minor jobs brought big aesthetic changes and breathed some much needed fresh air into the garden.
After procrastinating for quite some time on the subject of the duck coop surround I eventually opted to lay some decorative bark. I had initially wanted to pave around the coop but this would have been more costly and time consuming than I could manage, so I bought the bark and the results were surprisingly pleasing. I’m not sure paving would have looked half as nice now the bark is down!
I also finished painting the duck house and coop (a job I started months ago!) and again the results are both pleasing and satisfying. (Gallery)
One of my main reasons for trying to tie up these loose ends and make the garden that bit more respectable is Bonfire Night (Guy Fawkes Night). Here we host a big party for Bonfire Night (or Bommy Neet as we say in this part of the world) and each year as summer begins to wane my focus shifts on hosting this party.
With that in mind I finally installed some better garden lighting. I replaced my single, harsh floodlight with several soft bulkheads that make for a much nicer ambience. The picture here is of the garden entrance where previously visitors would have been dazzled with a 500w floodlight pointing directly at them!
Yesterday my eldest son turned 7 and we had an amazing carnival themed party. This was an idea I had back in February and after months of conceptualising, planning and DIY it was great to see it come to fruition – and even better to see how much fun my son and his friends had (not to mention the grownups).
Early in the morning I was out back setting up the stalls and giving the garden a fairground atmosphere with some bunting. We had 4 game stalls – Angry birds Tin Can Alley, Space Invaders Roll-a-Ball, Ball & Bucket a Shooting Gallery – a stand alone Hook a Duck game, and a snack stall.
Stalls and bunting
When the kids arrived they dove straight in.
Archery was very popular, and I managed to send the kids home with all the eyes they came with!
Face painting went down a treat!
And candy floss making sessions drew a big crowd.
Kids young and old enjoyed the photo booth 😀
But by far the most popular part of Backyard Carnival was Splash Dunk and the Wet Sponge Stocks. The kids loved soaking the grownups and each other in equal measure!
Lately I’ve been working on a new pallet carnival stall design for my son’s carnival themed birthday party. So far I’ve completed three with another two to go.
The original stall I made back in April was more of a fascia than an actual stall. I used a full pallet and fastened two posts to the side which supported a small marquee made from small pallet pieces. The two problems I encountered with this design were stability (the stall had a tendency to topple over, even when I attached feet to it that could be pegged in the ground) and painting (the gaps in the pallet boards were very awkward to paint).
The next stall I made was for a local youth centre who wanted a carnival style snack stall for their birthday celebration party in June. This time I completely dismantled the pallet and built it up again from scratch, making sure the boards were flush together to facilitate painting. I also included small sides to give it a more authentic stall look and added stability.
For my third effort I had bought a £3 striped table cloth to try as an alternative to painting the stall (undercoat and gloss are both time consuming and costly). With this method I didn’t need to worry about gaps in the pallets as the table cloth would cover them. I spent a couple of weeks bringing home the pallets I needed, some of which were used in full, others dismantled for the sides and marquee.
First I attached a couple of feet to a full pallet. Then I made the stall sides from pallet boards and blocks. Next, the marquee went up, using long pallet boards for the posts and shorter ones for the marquee frame. Then I painted the posts and finished off by stapling the table cloth (in two parts) to the fascia of the stall and marquee.
I’m really pleased with the end result – it looks much more like a bona fide carnival stall, and it’s much sturdier than the previous designs, plus it’s already proving popular with the kids! 🙂
Since my last update I’ve completed several jobs that were on my to do list:
- Completed the roof (now changed to a flat roof)
- Sunk the pool
- Attached side rails
- Laid turf
- Made and hung the coop door
- Finish painting the duck house
- Secure the perimeter, especially the doorway
- Finish off the surrounding area
All going well my next post on the duck coop will mark its completion (fingers crossed). For now though the remaining jobs will be put on the backburner while I focus on the Backyard Carnival project for my eldest son’s birthday in just a few weeks. I’m excited but also feeling the pressure, not least from my son and his daily reminders! 😀
A couple of months ago I had the idea of using pallet wood as a cheap lawn edging solution. Lawn edging is something I’d wanted for a while but with around 80m to cover the cost was always prohibitive.
When I first thought of using pallets I tested out some self made stakes along a metre stretch and really liked the results. So, for the last two days I’ve been making hundreds of pallet wood stakes and making my way around the lawn. I think the result is great!
The wood is untreated so it won’t last forever but since pallet wood is free and these stakes are so easy to install I didn’t consider the benefit to be worth the cost and effort of treating it.
The duck coop is starting to take shape now as the walls near completion. There’s still a long way to go overall but we’re a few more steps forward at least. It’s just a basic frame at the moment but a few more pieces of pallet wood will bulk it up as things progress.
Other things on the to-do list are:
- Gable type roof (I’ve no idea how to do this yet
- Sink the pool
- Lay some turf
- Finish painting the duck house
- Finish the retaining pallet and brick wall
- Make and hang a door
- Finish the surrounding area with paving or gravel
Here are the ducks enjoying an afternoon outside.
Lately I’ve been afflicted by a deficiency of motivation and an excess of hangover, making progress slow and posts few and far between, so I’m breaking the silence with an update on the duckhouse. The door is now hinged, the roof felted, and painting is soon to follow (fingers crossed).
The latest addition to the Backyard Carnival project is this Space Invaders themed Roll-a-Ball game. This was a very quick and easy project to complete. The most time consuming aspect of the job was waiting for the paint to dry!
The last time our family went to a theme park my son spent hours at one of these stalls so I knew it had to be a fixture at Backyard Carnival. After acquiring an old furniture board that would serve as a base I got a few other pieces of scrap wood together and got to it.
Putting it together was just a simple matter of cutting a few pieces of pallet wood to size and fixing them to the base once everything had been painted. It’s worth mentioning that the base is slightly warped due to being left in the rain for some time, but this simply adds an element of classic carny rigging! 😀
Another step closer to bringing the carnival to the backyard! That’s three games completed now.