Backyard Project – From Dirt To Flower Bed – Step-By-Step Video (New YouTube Video)

cropped Tris profile pic 2019

When I first moved into my new constructive home just over four years ago, the backyard was… dirt. Just dirt.

The dirt/soil also ramped up a lot at the back, meaning that part of the backyard was pointless. As a result, I set out to level it – but I had to build a concrete breeze block flower bed due to an issue that I came across.

This video shows why this is, and how I achieve the final finish.

Video Transcript

Hello, I’m Tristan. When I moved into my new construction home 4 years ago, the backyard – or back garden as we call it in the UK – was a complete mess. There was just soil everywhere, and that’s just how the developer leaves it. So I set out to level the back garden, because the soil was ramping up quite a lot at the back. But unfortunately there were a few issues along the way that meant that I couldn’t just level the garden.

So I built this – a masonry flowerbed or planter. So I wanted to talk through how I did this, in this video.

In this first photo, you can see a view from the upstairs window, and you can see how the soil ramps up a lot – especially in that back right corner.

And here I have actually annotated it with some measurements. If you’re actually standing in that backyard, or back garden as we call it in the UK, a 1.2m increase from the bottom to the top – in quite a short space of time – is quite a lot. It felt really – sort of –  high. It’s hard to explain here, but it’s a really big ramp up of soil and dirt.

Uhm, so what I started doing is starting to level things out as much as I could. As you can see, I am starting to dig everything out there. And towards the back right corner, you can see there is something visible.

At this point now, I have levelled things out as much as I could. And you can quite clearly see on the right, there are some concrete footings. And it turns out these are for our neighbor’s garage, so obviously I can’t come along and knock this down – unfortunately!

So that’s basically as level as I’m going to get things. But I needed a new plan, in terms of what to do about that back right corner so it’s not a wasted space.

And you can see it here again here, a bit of a closer-up view.

So what I decided to do is build a flower bed around it, like I mentioned. So I started digging down, as you can see. As you can see, I dug some trenches around it. I dug down a little bit more than this. I think in total I went down around a foot, so 12 inches I think.

Then I actually started mixing concrete by hand, which took ages and I also sprained my wrists for weeks – I wouldn’t recommend it! I should have just hired a mixer, but there we are. So you can see there, I have started filling in the trench with concrete.

And then I started actually laying breeze blocks – concrete breeze blocks – which was a first for me. I have never mixed concrete before, or laid a wall either. So I took my time and I tried making this as level as possible, especially with this being the first course of bricks. It worked fairly well in the end.

You can see there, I’m just carrying on building up more courses. And there you are now, it’s actually finished. You can see the full height, which is around 90cm.

At this point then, I then had to decide how to finish this off – instead of it being a bare wall like that. I decided to put some decorative stone on top – or coping stones – and then tile it.

But before I did that, I wanted to fill up the soil. So I firstly started topping it up with a mix of soil and gravel. The gravel’s for drainage, ‘cos otherwise if I just dump loads of soil here, it’d actually be quite bad for drainage. So I mixed in with some gravel, and little stones, for drainage.

Then I just topped it up with top soil – y’know, with fluffy soil.

Then I started cutting the coping stones that you can see here. There you are, that’s the finished effect. It’s not the best picture, sorry. But you can see the – sort of – finished effect there, and it works fairly well.

And then I started actually usually porcelain outdoor tiles to tile this outdoor wall. It was quite difficult, because I hadn’t built a wall before and it wasn’t completely level, so sometimes I had to use varying amounts of tile adhesive which was quite tricky. But I got there in the end!

So that’s the first corner. That’s where I started. Then there you are, that’s the rest of it – other than the tricky end cuts. The end cuts were quite annoying to do, but I got there in the end.

That’s the final effect. I have started grouting it as you can see, so you have a lot of the grout haze on the wall there.

That’s then the final picture. I had finished the grouting, I removed most of the grout haze (but I still needed to go back and finish it a little bit). And then I ran silicone around the edges to really waterproof things. Overall I’m fairly happy with how this turned out.

Thanks for watching this video, I hope you enjoyed it. Sorry that it was just a photo slideshow. Unfortunately at the time, I didn’t take proper video footage of this. But in the future, I’ll be producing lots of proper videos of my DIY tasks. So please do hit the subscribe button to stay up to date with all my new videos. If you enjoyed this video, please also hit the like button. Thank you!

cropped Tris profile pic 2019
About Tristan Perry

Tristan is an avid DIYer, with a range of projects under his belt including a kitchen refit, various plumbing jobs, building walls, mixing concrete, tiling, laying laminate, some electrical work and more.

As long as it's safe to do myself, I'll do it myself! I believe in learning on the job and buying tools as I go along, and I now have a head full of DIY facts - and a garage full of power tools!