The final House Rules 2018 backyard reveal went down this week. And I’ve gotta say, it reminded me of going out clubbing in my early twenties. You know, when you’re on the dancefloor and it’s dark and you’re a few drinks in. You think you’re bumping and grinding with Brad Pitt. But when you see them in the harsh light of day you realise you’ve been pashing a Gremlin. Surely I’m not the only one that’s happened to?
Anyway, the moral of the story is this: the closer you look at this week’s backyard reveals, the more faults you find.
At first glance, there are some pretty good design moments. But as you look closely, and as you zoom in on certain elements, you realise it’s not as good as you first thought. And so we must address this in detail.
And before you say I’m being mean about that Gremlin comment, I am absolutely certain I have been the Gremlin in someone else’s early twenties horror story. So, you know, circle of life.
A Pizza Zone from Toadfish and Mandy
It has to be said that sauce bottles should never be used in styling. There’s nothing sexy about mustard. Nor do you need to put a piece of flat bread in a pizza oven to demonstrate that’s what it’s to be used for. That would be like revealing a new laundry and leaving dirty undies on the floor just to be sure the judges knew it was a laundry.
Minor details aside, Toadfish and Mandy had a great idea here. I mean, who doesn’t want to kick back on the weekend and eat their own body weight in Hawaiian pizza? Bring it on. There are some issues in this zone though. Not major ones in terms of look and feel, because the space looks cool. Colours are good, spatially it’s well done. The area is covered, which is a plus.
That neon sign is all sorts of amazing (I’ve showcased them on the blog before). But there are functional issues in the seating area.
If you take a close look at that pallet-turned-table you’ll see what I mean. It would be near impossible to sit at it comfortably. If your feet were on the ground, you’d be sitting too far away from the table top. And if you put your feet up on the lower pallet, your knees would surely hit the top. It’s too bulky and awkward a table for this area. I feel people are going to walk away from it with a lot of bruising. A sofa would have been better here.
And also, you can’t fool me, Toadfish and Mandy. You’ve turned Kmart mesh bins upside down and tried to convince me they’re chairs. Now, I love me a Kmart hack, but you can’t literally turn an item upside down and call it something else.
Can we talk about the Graffiti Wall?
It is my dream to have an outdoor graffiti wall at home. So when I saw the street art mural this week I was experiencing all sorts of joy and rapture. I think it’s pure genius. I think the green wall across from it balances out the graffiti wonderfully. The lights at night would add so much charm to this space. And I’m not even angry at the bike. Sure, it’s random, but it’s certainly not bad.
This is the zone that makes me want to go over to Jess and Jared’s house and have a drink. I’d be taking my slice of pizza to this area if I was there. I’d probably trip on the sleepers on the way down, but all in all I’d still find the zone nice to be in.
The exception in this section of backyard is the seating area, which looks like some sort of shrine setup. All of the pieces are pointing toward an odd statue. Is this a prayer room? Is there a new religion in town? Is Scientology so last year? I have so many questions.
Josh and Brandon Must Love the Sun
Josh and Brandon delivered a raised deck area that was a great idea but wasn’t thought-out enough. Unless it’s meant to be a sunburn-inducing torture chamber. I’d be red raw out there in a matter of minutes.
The timber they used was lovely. The table and chairs are great. But from there I see issues. The most obvious one, as the judges pointed out, was lack of shade. Nobody in their right mind is going to sit here and eat. The very fact that the platform is raised makes this zone the centrepiece of the backyard. It could have looked even better with something overhead to block out the sun.
They could have installed a low wall/panels all the way around the platform to make this its own closed-in area. It feels so barren. And you can tell the boys thought it looked barren because they plonked random objects on the deck to fill it out. Blank space: pop in a bench seat. Oop, another blank space: let’s pop in an acapulco chair with a sheepkin throw on it. This zone feels really unfinished, which is a shame because it has so much promise!
Lastly, who is responsible for the interior art on an external wall? I am going bonkers over this! They keep on doing it. Can we also agree that the table and chairs siting under the art will never get used? There is so much seating in this yard that a small table with two (hard) chairs at it is kinda pointless.
Kids Play Zone or Survivor Challenge?
Kim and Michelle were delivered a Balinese backyard that we’ll delve further into in a moment, but first we must discuss the kids play area. Mel and Dave created this jungle-themed zone for the kids, and I have some concerns.
Now, I’m fully aware that I may have watched too many episodes of Crime Investigation Australia. So tell me if I’m being ridiculous here. But do Kim and Michelle live in the Belanglow State Forest? Not only does all that greenery frighten me, but I feel like one wrong step on that structure could deem the kids over that fence never to be seen or heard from again. If I was told to look through the binoculars at that creepy forest I think I’d wet my pants.
The upper level of that structure doesn’t look like a fun play area to me. It looks like an episode of Survivor. The kids will go out to play before dinner and come back three months later having outwitted a soccer ball they found in a remote part of the forest.
All of the other pockets of this zone were fine by me – and looked fun – but not the raised platform. It doesn’t feel safe. Is it just me?
I can’t even with that Bali Backyard
It’s that time again. Time to give me a Bex and tell me to have a good lie down. My stress levels are through the roof and I may need days at a meditation retreat to bring them back down.
Where do I start with this absolute hot mess of a backyard? I truly don’t know where to begin with how wrong all of this is. But let me try.
Firstly, I have a bit of an issue with people wanting themes like this in their backyard. Or any pocket of their home, for that matter.
Bali is a country, with a culture, and a people. They are not a theme for Aussies to poorly replicate to give them the feeling they’re on holidays. This is clearly what’s going on here and it stinks. Everything about this zone feels Kath & Kim to me. It’s tacky, it’s in bad taste, and I’m struggling to see one redeeming feature.
By all means create a backyard that feels like a tropical retreat, but don’t ruin the Balinese culture while you’re at it.
There’s a bathtub in the middle of the lawn
Can we pause on that fact for a moment? Someone thought it was a good idea to put a bath in a backyard. And it comes complete with scrubbing brush so you can work away at your bunions and dry heels while you’re sipping on your pina colada.
And if you’re not the one taking a bath outside, David and Chiara haven’t forgotten about you. There’s a seating area you can sit and watch from. And when looking at someone wash themselves gets boring, there’s a magazine rack sitting against a bamboo screen where you’ll find this week’s Womans Day.
It’s like you’ve been transported to a tropical destination. Except the neighbours are looking at you from their deck wondering why in God’s name you have a bath in your backyard, and your children have just fallen over the fence never to return. And of course, we have more indoor artwork hanging outside, which I don’t even have the energy to address.
I will have no words if Kim and Michelle walk into this zone and love it. I fear they’ll cry and say “it’s just like I’m in Bali”. Hopefully they’re not wearing Balinese hair braids or I am officially done!
Am I Wrong? I need your Input!
Can you sound off in the comments below? I need to know if the Bali backyard annoyed you as much as it did me. Or do I really need to step away, do some breathing exercises, and get a grip?
Drop me a comment below and tell me what you thought of the final House Rules 2018 backyard reveal. I’d love to get your take on it all.