Kate Sparks’ stunning Before & After with DIY retaining wall

  • 4 minutes
  • 12 July 2019

Family photographer Kate Sparks, of Kate Sparks Photography (formerly Little Dwellings), was able to transform her entire backyard with a single ModularWalls product; welcome to the DIY retaining wall! Read on to feast your eyes on this incredible Before & After…

Before & after DIY retaining wall

Kate – better known as @KateSparksPhotography by her loyal Instagram followers – has been transforming her home for years now. Starting with the interior, she stunned her audience with her style, creativity and DIY savvy approaches to re-imagining her home. When the inside was finally finished, she decided to tackle the backyard; and we could not believe what she created with our DIY retaining walls!

Kate’s original outdoor area was a typical Aussie backyard; uneven land, out-dated pavers and a low, cracked bush-rock retaining wall. However, by landscaping her sloping yard with a single product, Kate boosted the functionality of her land through tiers and layers, whilst connecting each space through the harmonised aesthetic of the wall.

Check out each zone below!

Outdoor Fireplace with DIY retaining wall

Outdoor fireplace

From a patch of largely unused grass, Kate carved an all-seasons living space that truly embraced all the elements of nature. New, lush garden beds border the fireplace, where they can watch the dance of flames, listen to the warbles of magpies or gaze up at the ever-changing cinema of clouds and stars!

Whether they’re toasting marshmallows with the kids or finishing off a dinner party with a night cap in front of a fire, the outdoor fireplace is a favourite for her beautiful young family.

Outdoor area with DIY retaining wall

Outdoor kitchen

To spice up their outdoor lifestyle, Kate utilised the bi-fold windows of their internal kitchen to flow out to an outdoor kitchen area! Featuring a sleek BBQ and custom cabinetry by Carrera By Design, they can now host anything from casual family BBQs to sophisticated dinner parties.

The dining area effortlessly flows into the outdoor lounge and fireplace areas and overlooks the entire backyard. This organic layout allows them to keep an eye on the kids, whilst still enjoying an entertaining experience.

Outdoor entertaining area created following the DIY retaining wall installation

Outdoor lounge area

The original patio was quite narrow, offering little space for outdoor living or entertaining. Kate wanted a more comfortable outdoor area; somewhere they could sit back with a coffee and watch the kids play on a Saturday morning (or kick back with some wine and cheese later that evening)!

So when they took out the old bush rock, they extended their patio to allow for a full outdoor lounge area! Showcasing gorgeous rattan furniture and styled to perfection, you could easily lose an entire afternoon enjoying the fresh air, yet still feeling sheltered from the elements.

DIY Retaining Wall

DIY retaining wall

Last, but certainly not least, the single DIY product that created it all; the DIY retaining wall. To get the most out of her backyard space, she decided to install a wall that was far taller than the old bush rock retainer.

This had two immediate advantages; first of all, it levelled their outdoor area into usable zones. Creating levelled zones instantly boosts the functionality of your land and can even boost property value; for Kate’s home, the wall levelled their lawn, ensuring their children had a larger, safer play area, and created level foundations for their new outdoor fireplace area.

Secondly, it created lengthy raised garden beds for her to grow a lush focal point for her entertaining areas! As far as green thumbs go, Kate could happily potter around all day, every day, making things flourish and grow. Spilling with dichondra silver falls that snake around mother-in-law’s tongue and cacti, the garden beds instantly breathe life into the space and support a thriving backyard environment.

Kate Sparks Before & After - DIY retaining wall

DIY installation

As beautiful as the finished product was, it was amazing to hear that their DIY installation experience was just as wonderful.

“It was a fantastic experience, to be honest! I’m really proud of what my hubby and I, and what we’ve achieved together,” says Kate, gazing proudly over her new backyard.

With a smile, Kate admitted that her and her trusty ‘hubby’, Jono, are far from experts when it comes to installing retaining walls; there were a few moments where YouTube came to the rescue! However, they were beyond happy with the information and support that ModularWalls supplied throughout the experience.

“ModularWalls was always there when we needed help or guidance,” assures Kate. “Lots of people just go, “aw, it’s in the ‘too hard’ basket, I’ll get somebody else to do it. But it’s actually not! And it can take time, but, seriously, sitting here and reflecting on what we’ve achieved…I wouldn’t get anyone else to do it. I’d seriously consider doing it yourself. And, as I said, ModularWalls is the perfect company to help you achieve that.”

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