In the back­yard of a Morn­ing­ton Penin­sula cot­tage, fam­ily fun is grow­ing food and rais­ing chick­ens.

Homes+ (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

This low-main­te­nance back­yard is a sea­side re­treat for the McLean fam­ily.

“OUR HOUSE HAS A BEACH at the end of the street but the gar­den was noth­ing to speak of when we first saw it 11 years ago, just full of over­grown weeds. It’s about 1200 square me­tres in to­tal and the front is as big as the back, with the back­yard fenced for our dog.

The deck was there when we moved in. We sanded it back but haven’t stained it be­cause we like the weath­ered look. My dad helped set up the vegie gar­den with or­chard fruit bins we painted the same colour as the house. He made the mesh cov­ers out of pine and wire to keep the chick­ens out. Oth­er­wise we’d have soil kicked ev­ery­where.

I love how low-main­te­nance it all is – the plants re­ally look af­ter them­selves be­cause they’re all hardy va­ri­eties that we knew worked well in our area. It’s re­ally pro­duc­tive be­cause our com­post heap feeds our vegie patch and the eggs from the chick­ens are un­beat­able. It’s also a great op­por­tu­nity for the kids to get in­volved. Tom earns his pocket money by tak­ing care of the chick­ens.

But it’s not all work. Some­times we do very lit­tle and just en­joy the sun. Back­yard cricket is a reg­u­lar thing when friends are over. We also spend a lot of time on the deck, es­pe­cially on sum­mer evenings, when we of­ten set up the ta­ble ten­nis ta­ble out there.

We’d like to put a pool out the back, though that’s a few years off. Oth­er­wise, there’s not much we would change be­cause ev­ery­thing works so well for our fam­ily and life­style.”

Fresh pro­duce The McLeans grow toma­toes, broccoli, let­tuce, pota­toes, spinach and more in their gar­den. Cherry tree

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