Want to Concrete My Backyard. Is It Ok?

Hey guys. I purchased a 15 year old property in Sydney with around 110 sqm backyard split into two levels. Currently it's a mess with concrete, pavers, bit of garden and a fake lawn totally eroded to Just the tarpoil.
Both my wife and I are not that interested in a garden to maintain.
I am thinking of concreting the backyard based on a few landscapers(10 to 14k) While others have suggested a mixture of concreting and artificial turf which is an additional 10k extra.
Both design have proper water escape plans using water pits, leveling,pipes,etc

I would like to get your advice:

  1. Some landscapers (the ones asking 25k for artificial turfing which apparently is considered to be green and satisfies the percentage) suggest I need to maintain some percentage of greens vs building.
    I don't see it anyways at the moment.Would this be a risk for council to get us remove it again. How likely would it be a problem and how long do I get to revert cement to something like a artificial turf.

  2. Any issues with the general concept of concrete backyard if we want a low maintenance backyard and want to use it for Sports like activities. We ll Just gave a 10 to 20 sqm of veggie patch

  3. Also there is a small non native trees about 5 meters at the back. I see it roots have started to get into the current eroded turf. I am thinking of removing this which the contractors have said is ok to remove. Any issues with removing the tree to the ground and using concrete over it or should I mandatorily need to remove it from the roots

  4. Any good landscapers in the Sydney West who can do above job.

Primary Goals:
1. Low maintenance
2. Having a hardish surface for some outdoor games like basketball,cricket. Currently the eroded turf seems actually good with stones/gravel but is uneven.

Pictures Posted here:
https://imgur.com/a/Q2Sq3Md

Comments

  • +2 votes

    Go for the cheapest quote!
    https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/620332

    •  

      Lol yeah saw that. The concrete guys quotes are more or less similar in price though

      •  

        Plz trim your bushes

        maybe even remove some shrubs

  • +14 votes

    Contact your local Council first. In Vic you need to have a certain percentage of your land be a permeable surface, and concrete is not that. Not sure of the rules in NSW, hence my advice to check with local Council (or look up the planning regulations yourself).

    • +5 votes

      This. I can't stand gardening either, but due to local council regulation we have to keep a lawn + 2 large drainage holes under the lawn.

    • +1 vote

      Sure thanks. Will contact them and check

      • +14 votes

        In NSW there are minimum deep soil requirements in the Development Control Plan for each Council. Generally a proportion of the required private open space based on the size of your lot. This is to ensure that water can permeate deep in to the soil to aid in stormwater detention at the lot level. This is separate to the water "escape" dishcarge plans you speak to and is part of a suburb-wide/catchment-wide runoff mitigation strategy.

        That being said, there are many low maintenance options that aren't concrete provide the deep soil, including the best option, native plants, shrubs and trees with a heavy mulch or riverstones/pebbles/stones base. This will be incredibly low maintenance if done correctly, won't even need watering, no weeding, provides some canopy cover and ground cover to reduce urban heat island effect, and provides some native vegetation for birds and other animals. Even Sir Walther Buffalo grass, almost impossible to kill, easy to maintain, and if you don't like mowing 10 minutes a fortnight, get a robot mower for <$1,000! https://robotlawnmowers.com.au/

        It may even be cheaper than concrete and will add value to your property, not devalue it like concreting will!

      • -1 vote

        Don’t check if you are going to do it. Just do it. Supposed to be 40 percent green. No one cares unless you make it an issue

  • +3 votes

    If you are going to engage a landscaper ask to see some of their previous work before making any decisions.

  • +22 votes

    Instead of concrete think about pebbles / gravel. Break it up with some native grasses. Pretty low maintenance, relatively cheap, better for water permeability, won't heat up as much in summer, and your backyard won't look like a prison yard.

    •  

      Thanks for the suggestion. I was also thinking of having this backyard sort of serve as a play to play some games like basketball,cricket also. Small scale with kids ,etc. Is there anything else we can do with that requirement also?

      • +7 votes

        As a kid we'd play cricket in the backyard on a footpath less than a metre wide - you can still have a path through the gravel.

        Else use the driveway or go to the park. IMO not worth killing your backyard for an occasional hoop.

        There is evidence to show that having greener spaces is better for your well-being including mental health. Fields of concrete, especially in a western Sydney summer, is fkn depressing.

        •  

          Would you consider turf as a viable alternative albeit a bit more expensive option?

          Here is my current backyard
          https://imgur.com/a/Q2Sq3Md

          • +4 votes

            @Krytonx85: I just saw your photo. You have so many options to create a beautiful low maintenance courtyard. I'd be thinking of a spa / hot-tub or maybe a small paved area with a fire pit. Depends on what you like doing. All doable within the $25K.

            Speak to a consultant at a landscaping store - they may recommend professional advice and it's probably a good use of a few hundred dollars for a visit and basic plan.

            •  

              @afoveht: Sure that sounds nice. But my budget is around 10k for now atleast ha ha..But i'll speak to some landscape consultants. Would you recommend any good ones near west sydney or who can come to this part of Sydney?

              •  

                @Krytonx85: I don't know any out west. Ask your local landscape / nursery.

    •  

      i always thought pebble/gravel in soil was so annoying ?

      especially when you want to do some gardening/digging work and hit hard shit

      • +1 vote

        The idea is that it's on the soil, not in the soil. You can even weedmat underneath to keep them separated.

  • +18 votes

    It would be MUCH cheaper to create a low maintenance garden and pay someone to mow a small patch of grass every so often. Also consider that fully concreting over a garden over might actually devalue your property in the long term should you decide to sell. Not only does it cost thousands now, but it will take many hundreds to demolish and take away.

    ♬♬ They paved paradise and put up a parking lot ♬♬

    Maybe post some pictures so people can offer inspiration and ideas…..

    • +2 votes

      I have put up the pictures for reference

      • +5 votes

        Yes, your garden definitely needs help, but concrete isn't it. Your garden has the potential to be a real haven vs a concrete and metal hot box. There is already a basic garden structure with what looks to be raised garden beds and bed edging. And there is already a decent amount of concrete you need to work around.

        I'll come back later with some ideas. I really like that big ball shrub. Those small pavers need to go, they are definitely high maintenance.

      •  

        Looking at the pick, your backyard needs some of that path weed spray first.

        Those pavers might be fine (and zero maintenance for a couple of years at a time) with $20 worth of weed spray from bunnings and a spray with a pressure hose. Should look better than concrete, too.

        •  

          Thanks for the suggestion..

  • +7 votes

    Please don't concrete your backyard lol. It's bad for so many reasons. Planting real grass by seed and paying someone to mow it monthly is going to be cheaper than concrete anyhow. Then you can invest the rest of your money.

    •  

      Just for my understanding. I now realize that concrete on summer is a factor. Any other reasons/issues you see. Thakns

  •  

    of course you can.
    i put up a basketball court and artificial grass tennis court.

  • +15 votes

    Want to Concrete My Backyard. Is It Ok?

    No.

    Everything is reversible, but with concrete, it's expensive twice (once when you first do it, and second if you want to get rid of it).

    Put a lawn or garden - you might change your mind later when you start growing something and enjoy it. Grow trees for kids to climb, or fruit trees for free fruit (e.g. oranges are very easy - I don't do anything; except pile the lawn clippings around it occasionally to get even more oranges).

    Cheapest option is to get an aborist to dump a load of wood chips on your driveway for free - you only have to move it into the backyard and spread it. Don't do anything for a year or two while you contemplate your options. In the mean time, the wood chips will decompose and give you good soil to grow grass or edibles or whatever you want.


    You might need a paradigm shift. Go to the North Shore sometime and look at the amount of greenery there. I find it great for my well being and happiness, but then again, I might be biased.

    •  

      Put a lawn or garden

      I don't find this answer at all useful. OP has said they want a low maintenance garden. Not everyone wants to mow a lawn every 2-4 weeks.

      •  
        1. Slow grow grass
        2. Hire someone to mow it - cheaper than concrete outlay.
        •  

          I don't think it is overly cheap. A mower will cost maybe $50 every 4 weeks or so, that's $600 a year, or about $10,000 over 15 years.

          I don't think concrete is the answer, but lawn is also not the answer.

          Something like this might be a good bit of inspiration for OP
          https://images.app.goo.gl/YWcxDdwskjgppkzt8

  • +4 votes

    Also think about what a buyer might like when you eventually sell the property.

    All concrete is not likely to be a huge selling point, and will likely be seen as a $xxxxx liability by the buyer

    •  

      Sure thanks

    •  

      why $ liability

      • +1 vote

        Because they don't like it and will realise it will cost $x to fix it.

  •  

    That's a really nice spot, seems a shame to concrete. You should consider a timber deck, you can get a nice 5x5 deck for 4k. Do it yourself with a few mates and it's 2k.

    •  

      Ryanek - where would you consider the decking to be layed? In the big square or near the patio?

  • +9 votes

    Friend of mine concreted her backyard. She said it was the worst decision because the house was that much hotter in summer - concrete reflected heat straight into house.

    •  

      curtains closed and rollshutters down

  • +1 vote

    Do not concrete it as it will cause water run off issues and heat issues in summer….

    Check out artificial turf and ring up the suppliers and ask them who they recommend in your area.

  • +2 votes
    •  

      lol i actually like this backyard..:)

    •  

      That'll server him well in his old age. A drop of water, and hey presto….

    •  

      "Greek broom" - hilarious!!

    • +1 vote

      I've seen houses that had a similar treatment, front and back, and the front yard slab was tinted green for a more "natural" look!

  •  

    Thanks guys! Yeah based on all the above feedback going 100% is bad choice. I think I need to tilt towards having a natural garden and maintain it or something like a combination of pavers,gravel,etc. Open to any suggestions like above comments!

    Let me work with some landscapers and see what can be done for a reasonable cost (max 10-15k is whtI can work on)

    •  

      Grass is very easy to maintain. All you need to do is mow it every other week. 110sqm would take 10 minutes to mow if you don't need to edge trim, and could be done by an electric mower.

    •  

      Look into rubber surfacing. It can look like aggregate, yet cushioning for your feet and does not heat up like concrete. Also a lot cheaper. I had it done to a large section and it's great.

  •  

    Paint the fencing, put in cheap tiles and a strip of garden at the back like this… https://imgur.com/a/gYzeEtd

    Easy to clean and get looking nice, no lawn to maintain, and it doesn't look like a carpark.

    •  

      Thanks - this looks really nice. Is tiles similar to pavers? And would the landscaper know of this?

      • -1 vote

        Pavers are like thick tiles that are intended to be placed loose on a garden surface to create a stepped walkway like this. I have no idea the cost of installing tiles vs pavers. Pavers will look crap though with weeds growing through the gaps.

    • +1 vote

      Actually, that DOES look like a carpark. Put up a roof and you have a nice carport.

      •  

        Ya reckon? It's one of the best backyard reno jobs that I've seen on a rental where the owner is chasing lowest cost for highest return.

        I've not ever seen a rental where the grassed area is not at least 30% weeds with toxic soil as hard as cement. This looks much nicer.

  • +4 votes

    Full concrete? No way. Too hot in summer. You need to have some greenery to help keep the heat down. - and real greenery, not AstroTurf. Artificial grass is almost as hot as concrete.

  •  

    If you really want concrete and hate gardening, I would suggest leaving a strip of garden around the edges to plant low maintenance plants. This will look less harsh, and be more appealing than full concrete if you ever plan on selling.

    Plants like these below can be bought cheaply in bulk (I have purchased from this place before), and require zero maintenance once established. You have to water them when you first plant them, but once they get a bit bigger you can literally just let them sit there. You don't need a landscaper for this bit. They don't need fancy soil or fertiliser. Whatever soil you have is fine. The rain will be enough water for them once they start to grow. Plant at a spacing of one plant every 1m.

    https://theplanthub.com.au/grasses/cream-lea.php

    https://theplanthub.com.au/native-grasses/purple-fountain-gr...

    If you decide that you want grass instead of concrete (maybe just in the back half?), sir walter buffalo is tough and low maintenance. It still needs to be mowed and watered and weeded/weed killer sometimes.

    https://www.bunnings.com.au/lawn-solutions-australia-1m-sir-...

    •  

      Thanks for the idea mate..

  •  

    Your idea was good.
    Concrete the part near the door so you can put some outdoor table and chairs then artificial grass the other part so kids can play.
    Bit more expensive but no maintenance.

    Could even put a timber decking instead of concrete which would cut out the heat issues, but then you might need to maintain the deck….

    •  

      Thanks mate.. How is composite timber

      •  

        Funny you should mention composite timber, my friend actually got a deck built with that stuff. It looks great and low maintenance.
        I think he might just hose it down once every few months if that.

  • +7 votes

    As a fellow wog, a minimum of 70% concrete is allowed. Ideally 110% however may not be to your tastes if your 3rd gen or later. Don’t worry about the council, concrete is stronger than their will.

  •  

    Make sure there is some moisture able to get into soil below or it could all dry out yard and move foundations.

  •  

    The place I've had for 3 years and the place I owned 25 years ago both have concrete yards and they are / were crazy hot. Concrete and artificial turf get really hot and retain the heat. On hot days I hose mine to cool things down.

  •  

    Now just concrete the front yard and you'll be speaking to my heart!

  •  

    The reason you need permeable surfaces is because if everything was concrete, then the storm water drains wouldn't cope and there would be flooding.

    This could be localised (e.g your neighbors backyard) in which case you would be liable, or, your lack of drainage would in the minimum lead to increased load on the local storm water infrastructure, potentially leading to more widespread flooding.

    The guys telling you you cannot concrete your entire backyard are correct.

  •  

    Slab it with a crusher dust base. It is reversable just in case!

  • +1 vote

    The amount of heat a concrete slab will attract during summer makes this a very bad idea. Rather pay someone to:

    • Roll on grass
    • Plant a few ornamental trees
    • Mow it every month
    • Prune the trees twice a year

    Will probably still work out cheaper than a concrete slab and it will be nice and cool in summer.

  •  

    There are some low maintenance grass types - it will keep your house/garden cooler.
    You can do a lot of this yourself with only a small investment.
    Check out aus lawnfanatics group on facebook.

  •  

    Your yard needs a lot of work. Do not concrete it. Will devalue the house and for lots of other reasons already said above.
    Look for a low maintenance option. Maybe clear it all out and get new turf laid to start with.
    Then with a blank canvas you can start to get an idea of what to do next.
    Maybe can add succulent plants in pots, or other easy to maintain plants.

  • +1 vote

    Don't go for concrete and artifical turf, come summer you'll hate life and regret ever doing it.
    Plant some native trees, shrubs etc and landscape the place it'll work out much better in the long run and moderate the temperature.

    The amount of outersuburb shoeboxes that are hotter than the Sahara because of lack of shade cover is astounding

    •  

      But realesate.com.au says that more natural light is always good!?

  •  

    I have a backyard of probably 90% concrete and enjoy what OP is seeking no maintenance .
    I wouldn't be worried about Summer that really only has 12-16 extremely hot days over 40 .
    Most of the time the temperature is fine .
    Probably only time I would get rid of it is expanding the house or a Grannie Flat . Others may be interest in a Grannie flat for income .

  •  

    looks to me like the backyard is already concrete paved and maybe concreted at the rear

    and the obvious 'do the needful' would be to remove the overgrowth of weeds

    I would start by slashing the weeds (compost heap?) first then seeing what you've got

    existing concrete steps look sturdy

    so at first glance my thoughts were - tall weeds - need to be replaced by new concrete ? Hello - think again !