When it comes to DIY we often think of changing the interior of our home.
However, it can oftentimes be just as expensive, if not more expensive, to transform our outdoor space.
Whether it’s buying furniture which can withstand the elements – often costing upwards of £500 for a full set – landscaping our garden or planting beautiful flowers: its a costly business.
If you’ve been wanting to give your garden a makeover, but felt like you didn’t have the funds, then this mum has some news for you.
Becca Menzies, 44, from Sussex turned an area of wasted scrubland into a pristine garden.
While the makeover cost around £1,300 it included clearing the entire area of weeds, adding soil, levelling the land, edging, strimming and planting the flowers plus much more.
Becca kept costs as low as possible by using old materials and ordering cheaper products online.
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Becca told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk: "It was just an area of scrub land previously so it had to be done. We wanted a garden that offered some privacy as our front garden is next to the road.
"I started by clearing the weeds which were three feet high across the whole area. I strimmed then I mowed.
"I built my flower beds around the edges first, digging out and turning over, adding soil and planting up my flowers and shrubs. I then rotavated the L shape around the outside which were to be my pathways.”
Once Becca, a stay-at-home-mum, had rotated and levelled the L, she hammered in the edging for her plant borders and shifted four tonnes of stone to fill the path.
Then she had to rotate and level the area she was going to turf.
She said: "This took me days and with a really rough area and only a cheap rotavator it was a labour of love.
“Once done I then raced to lay the turf as it was drying out in the extreme heat of last summer! Once laid, the turf needed to be watered regularly.”
The mum then fenced off the area she had chosen to be home to her chickens.
She knocked in posts and added rails, a gate and chicken wire.
Becca added: "The chicken sign I made with a wood burning tool (it was just £20 from Amazon). I then used old hanging basket chain to link the three plaques together and hang.
"The small decked area was the last part to complete and my husband did that bit. We then erected our pool, then it was cue the wine and time to relax!”
Becca used logs to create furniture and bought a rotavator for just £40.
She said: "I used a cheap £40 rotavator – that was the hard part. I literally started at the left and worked my way across.
"I made a table using logs from the wood burner for legs, then just off cuts from other wood I used from the garden.
"All wood was sourced from saw mills as cheap as possible. Four tons of 20m stones went into the pathways – they cost £30 a ton.”
The mum even made a log store herself using leftover timber.
Becca laughed: “The hardest part was not having anyone to hold the other end of the wood!”
She bought her plants from eBay and propagated them in a grow house before planting.
She added: "I did most of this over a three week period while my hubby was away working and it almost killed me!
"The chicken area I just fenced with the cheapest timber I could source from the sawmill, and the fencing is also as cheap as possible.
"We also reused the stone from the wall we knocked through to build a step into the garden, and I upcycled our old chicken shed and made a new one using the old door and roof."
Becca is thrilled with the results and says she’s fallen in love with her garden.
"I feel relieved it’s done, and I’m so delighted with how it turned out. Making something from scratch and investing your blood and tears is so much more rewarding than simply inheriting a garden,” she said.
"It’s so private and a lovely space for the children. I’m planning on making a little castle for my daughter this summer, besides enjoying a glass of wine while the sun goes down and plenty of dips in our little pool on hot summer days!
"My greatest pleasure is watching my plants grow, from the tiny twigs and cuttings I purchased to these magnificent blooms and shrubs that stand just a year on.”
She noted that it costs around £200 to hire a rotator for the weekend whereas you can buy small ones for £40 – though it will take more time and effort.
She also added: “Shrubs and flowers are ludicrously expensive at garden centres. Hunt around!
"Facebook Marketplace often has nurseries that will deliver in bulk for a fraction of the price.
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"EBay too is an excellent place to buy bulk offers of mixed plants. Just a small grow house is all you need to bring them on."
She recommended picking up timber from sawmills, as they often sell cheap wood.
Tom Church, co-founder of LatestDeals.co.uk, says: “If you haven’t had much gardening or DIY experience, it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to overhauling your garden, but Becca’s garden’s incredible transformation just proves that you can do an outdoor renovation all by yourself, and it needn’t cost the earth!
“I recommend YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram for DIY tutorials and inspiration.”
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