We started our Self Build project in February 2015, the year we got married. We were married in the May and lived in a mobile home on site on the farm until the house was liveable.
There are still lots of rooms to start, finish, a snag list and a never ending to do list it seems, but we love that we still have projects and this is our forever home so we wanted it done right.
We went over budget on things we really wanted so there would be less chance of us wanting to change things later down the line. I think it’s been worth doing things properly and not cutting too many corners. We have tried to save money where we can though and done certain bits ourselves.
This summer with the beautiful weather it really highlighted to us the one room we should be making the most of was the garden. It was a bit of a building site, all rubble and not very child friendly. We didn’t even have a proper step built in and out of the front door, patio and the ramp into the house was very uneven.
Sam had started to walk in January just before he turned one. A typical wee boy he makes a run for it as soon as you open the back door and with living so close to the farm I just couldn’t risk letting him play independently outside with his toys for fear he would run to the farm.
So when the good weather came I took the head staggers to get the ball rolling! Kerry, Zac, Sam and I went on a wee road trip to Toome to the AG Outside Rooms showroom for some inspiration.
I had a fair idea of what I liked and had a bit of a Pinterest board going. I had been on the AG Outside Rooms website and Facebook page and had seen lots of styles I liked. I knew I wanted the patio done and a wall of some sort with a fence to keep Sam enclosed.
We were pleasantly surprised at the Showroom. I imagined just going to look at paving on the ground but they had lots of design ideas built and concepts on how to create that little bit more with our outside space.
We dealt with Michelle who looked at the pictures I had brought with me of our space and we went through the styles I liked. We talked through things I never would have thought about before, like edging, boarders, mortar, grout/ sand and got some brilliant ideas.
I ended up totally falling for their ‘Longstone’ paving. I thought I wanted more of a traditional cobble but with Michelle’s ideas she showed me how we could incorporate all of the styles into one design.
Our house is a country cottage on a farm but we have some contemporary twists and with the Longstone paving I feel it has a bit of a modern edge as it’s more of a plank shape than a classic square.
It was available in a slate grey colourway which is shown below. I think it’s really sleek and modern but I really fell for the rustic look of the Fiammata colourway.
We have natural field stone on our front porch on the exterior of the house and within our kitchen/dining/sun-room which looks over the patio and so we felt the Longstone in the Fiammata colourway helped pick out these tones.
I think it looks rustic/contemporary anyway. I just had to sell it to Chris!!
I had shown him pictures of cobble designs before I had left and came home with a much more in depth idea and totally different type of paving. These things are really hard to visualise though aren’t they?
This is where the AG Landscaping Design Service comes in.
Inspired by the BBQ area at the showroom, we have taken some of these ideas and I cannot wait to see it come together!
The Country Cobble I had loved was used for a boarder to break up the paving around the edge of he house and our steps were to be built using Milestone for the riser and ‘setts’ which where miniatures of the cobble to go on the tread of the step.
The staff were fab, they even had a wee kitchen in the showroom which Zac and Sam trashed a few times! Plus they were able to have a snack while we finalised the designs. So handy and they had a ball outside too! (Who needs soft play eh! 😂).
I left with photos, samples of the paving and a sketch of what we were hoping to create to show Chris. To be honest he wasn’t sure about the Longstone at first.
Ronan from the design team called out to the house to measure up. He was so on the ball he had already sourced our house plans online and had a fair idea of the design. (More info on the AG Landscaping Design Service HERE).
When he called out and saw everything in situ we confirmed the design and decided to also include the paving wrapping around the front of the house and talked about creating a feature at the back door. He even suggested making the front steps rounded as opposed to square to emphasise the curve on our front door. All things I would never have thought of!
The concept at the back door was to overcome a pet hate of mine. Chris is a farmer so always takes his work boots off at the back door. He either leaves them there for people to trip over, they get left out in the rain or they make it into the house and dirt is trampled through. (It really winds me up… can you tell?! lol!).
So the plan was to build a wall, seat and store within the wall for Chris to sit down, take his boots off and keep them dry. Again it was hard to visualise but Ronan got all of the measurements and had a rough sketch done. Plus I had seen at the showroom what could be created using the mile stone.
Within the week we had a 2D drawing which really helped Chris visualise what I was telling him was in my head.
We also had 3D design images created too. Michelle kindly came down to go over them and discuss any changes now we had something more visual to go off.
We were delighted! I had a good idea in my head but Chris only had a few pics from the showroom to go off, so we were blown away at how much the 3D designs helped. We did make a few tweaks, again I think it’s always better to go with your gut and do these things before it’s too late.
I would really recommend the design service, especially if you find it hard to visualise things!
They offer 2 types of Landscape Design Services.
- In-house appointments with Ronan. He offers a Free 2D design service, or for only £90 people can upgrade to the 3D design we got above above.
- They also work with external designers who offer on-site services, starting at £300.
We got the design confirmed and got our quantities calculated and ordered!
It all was delivered so promptly but the delay has really been on our part getting the work completed.
To save money we decided to do the actual paving ourselves. AG Outside Rooms can recommend tradesmen but this was a big saving and Chris was able to do a lot as he owns diggers and does landscaping.
Chris laid the paving with a few friends and his Dad. The most complex part was the screeding and getting the levels right. I even chipped in as a labourer at times lifting block for them all. Ohh and so did Sam! 😂
Doing this has saved a lot but it has taken much longer. We have reached the end of the summer and have not yet completed everything. Mainly down to Chris just chipping away in the evenings and on the odd weekend as farmers make hay when the sun shines and it’s been a pretty good summer weather wise!! We also didn’t take on the building of the wall ourselves so have our brickie who built our house back to do that.
It’s already taken shape though and made a huge difference on the amount of grit and dirt being walked through the house. The walls have started and we are having gates made. There is still lots of paving to be done and the steps at the front of the house but we are going to just chip away at it in our own time.
The patio part is complete and we have managed to have a few ‘patio parties’ and BBQ’s. So this blog post is just really a wee halfway mark of our journey. It really has transformed our outdoor space already but there is a long way to go!
I cannot wait to share the before and after pics with you all once it’s complete!
Let’s hope Spring/Summer 2019 is as good weather wise and we get to make the most of #myoutsideroom!
(Some work in progress pics)
I can’t wait to just be able to open the doors and let Sam play safety and sit in my wee outside room and watch him with no chance of him escaping!
Hopefully it won’t be too long before the second installation of this blog post goes live, but I imagine it will be Spring before I have it all sitting pretty with some potted plants and beds.
AG Outside Rooms have kindly collaborated with us on this project. We received a discount on our order and the 3D designs for free. They have also kindly offered our followers a discount of 10% using our code : SISTERS10.
T&C’s for code Sisters10
- The discount code should be communicated to the sales advisor at the time of quotation/ order, and is for orders placed directly through an AG Outside Rooms centre. (Toome, Dungannon, Fivemiletown, and Mudrocks in Derry/Londonderry)
- Offer is valid until 31st January 2019, and the goods must be delivered by 28th February 2019.
- Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer of discount.