We have such a large amount of space around the property and this was not a priority whilst we were renovating the house.
However I do remember feeling great when I planted my first flowers in the building site, it really does make the experience a little better having a splash of colour.
Over the months we have done bits and pieces with clearing this part of the land, which runs along the side of the house and under the annexe.
Originally it had been full of wood, which was great for burning in the winter, but as summer approached, it was a dangerous place, especially with power tools being used. The wood was so dry and underneath it was piles of leaves, some dry and some decomposing. (there were also a few animal remains, these were not pleasant).
But over time we prioritised what needed to be done, first was to empty most of the wood and bag up the leaves and sawdust.
As the area was used as a tip by John, it could never be fully cleared, but as we get to the end of the renovations and no more rubbish we could finally turn our attention to this area, family and friends will be so pleased at having some where to sit, that is not in the middle of a building site.
The first step was to clear everything, including the trees that were overgrown, neglected and not at all healthy.
We did uncover a grape vine, which we have left in place, and already it is starting to grow, arch like across the space.
Once the soil was removed, John was able to paint the side of the house. There was some big stones in place, so John pointed these as a feature.
Once it was all cleared, we arranged to have 5 cubic metres of concrete delivered (great fun when you see how small our village roads are!) for this John had a local builder help for the day, as the entire amount needed to be moved in temperatures approaching 40 degrees celsius. I have no idea how they managed to do the work, but they did.
There was only a couple of problems, the delivery was due at 8.30 before the sun came over the top of the building, it did not arrive until 10.30 the other mishap was as it was being flattened, as they stopped for a quick break, one of the cats decided to walk across it and leave paw prints, as you can imagine the air turned nearly as blue as the sky. As they had to re do this bit.
The balcony on the terrace and the support for the stairs were rotten, so this wood was replaced and again, John used up left over pieces of wood to make a patterned balustrade.
We cannot say this often enough, never throw anything away if you are renovating, as you will find a use for it at some point (even if this means keeping piles of what appears to be rubbish!).
We had to decide what to do with the walls, the arches were in brick, some had been covered, the walls themselves had been rendered, many years ago, so this was now a mismatch of where it had come off and previous repairs.
John decided to keep the 2 main supports in brick and pointed them, the rest he repaired and rendered.
We still have not finished, but the difference is immeasurable, from the dark, murky space we bought to the bright open space we now have.
Our only decision is what to use it for, at the moment it is a decision between having a covered seating and dining area or buying the equipment to have our own olive press……..
If you feel tempted to try a renovation yourself, there are lots of properties in Portugal that require renovation and are still very competitively priced.
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