Completing A Garden Make-Over On A Budget

We moved into our house 18 months ago and after having lived in a 2nd floor flat for 8 years we were so excited to have a garden. It’s only small but the most important thing was having some outside space for Little H.

Unfortunately there was more moss than grass, and absolutely no drainage so it became like a swamp every time it rained.

We moved in during the winter and it looked like this:

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Like most people after moving house we didn’t really have any spare money to do anything with the garden at first so we just made the best out it last summer, added some colour, and put up with it being a bit of a mess.

Garden Make-over On A Budget | copyright www.digitalmotherhood.com

This year however we had big plans and needed a proper garden by the time the nice weather came round. Due to booking a holiday we still didn’t have a very big budget for a garden make-over but we’ve managed to pull of quite an impressive make-over (if we do say so ourselves!) without spending a fortune.

I thought I’d share our garden make-over with you all, to inspire anyone with a small garden and/or a small budget.

So here is how we completed our small garden make-over on a budget…

Decking

Our garden was made up of a small patio area by the back doors which leads up to a shed, and a patch of grass that went from the back of the house to the fence.

The garden is north facing so we don’t get a huge amount of sun, but the sun we do get in the summer is at the end of the garden by the back fence, so we decided that we wanted some decking here to put the table and chairs on.

My in-laws had lots of extra decking left over from their garden which they kindly donated to us. We had absolutely no idea where to begin so we roped my parents into helping us, and my husband and dad watched a few YouTube videos!

I won’t explain how to fit decking as I am by no means an expert, but if you are thinking of doing it yourself then I would recommend watching a video like this one.

Garden Make-over On A Budget | copyright www.digitalmotherhood.com

In total it took 2 full days to fit the decking, and we spent the following…

Decking – Free

Sand & Gravel – £20

Membrane – Free (donated with the decking)

Decking stain/protector – £25

Total – £45

Grass

Our grass had just turned to mud last autumn and had never recovered, any amount of rain caused a mud bath – here’s an example of our garden after some heavy rain a few weeks ago!

Garden Make-over On A Budget | copyright www.digitalmotherhood.com

It was clear that there was no point laying new turf down until we had sorted the drainage problems, so we decided to sort that out and then put down some artificial grass.

Artificial grass isn’t cheap though, for our small area of approx 4.5ft x 3ft the quotes were coming out at around £300-400 for decent quality grass. My mum had seen a local garden centre selling off cuts so we headed over there and managed to find 2 bits that we could put together to fit our garden .

Again we had no idea how to lay artificial grass, so once more we watched YouTube videos and read up on a few tutorials. If you want to do it yourself try watching this video and check out this guide.

Garden Make-over On A Budget | copyright www.digitalmotherhood.com

Laying the grass took 2 days (possibly would have been less if we hadn’t had kids in the garden at the time!) and was relatively easy.

Grass – £150

Sand and gravel – £30

Membrane – Free (donated with the decking)

Tape – £20

Total – £200

Patio

We got rid of the water butt in the corner of the garden and extended the paving slabs further across the garden to the side fence to allow the grass to be a rectangle rather than a more awkward L shape.

There’s a drain cover in the corner that we need to be able to access so we couldn’t extend the paving slabs all the way to the fence. We weren’t really sure what to do with this square in the corner but we found a pallet in the pile of scrap wood at the garden centre exactly the same size as Little H’s playhouse and we (my mum) had a brainwave!

The pallet fit the empty area perfectly, sat over the drain cover and would be easy to lift up if we needed to get to the drain.

We covered the pallet in a few bits of left over grass, nailed one of the spare decking panels to the side of the crate, and put Little H’s playhouse on top!

Garden Make-over On A Budget | copyright www.digitalmotherhood.com

Paving slabs – £70 (you can get cheaper but we needed to match the ones we already had)

Crate – Free

Left over grass – free

Total – £70

The End Result

And here is our finished garden!

IMG_20160528_182215 IMG_20160528_182321

IMG_20160528_182445

We’ve spent another £50 or so on plants and bits & pieces so altogether the garden makeover has cost us approximately £350, which I don’t think is bad at all for such a drastic change.

If you don’t have access to free materials try Gumtree – there’s lots of people trying to get rid of old materials for free or very cheap just so they don’t have to take them to the tip!

We’ve already had our first BBQ of the year, and Little H and I sat out there most days after school last week. We’re really looking forward to finally having a usable garden for the summer – let’s just hope we get some decent weather this year!

So as you can see you can achieve a garden make-over on a budget. You don’t need to spend thousands or employ professionals – you might just have to rope in your family or friends to help!

Sarah

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10 thoughts on “Completing A Garden Make-Over On A Budget

  1. Coombe Mill says:

    Oh my you have done such an amazing job and it all looks so professional. I can’t believe you brought it all in at such a good price. Just goes to show DIY pays off! #MarvMondays

  2. My Petit Canard says:

    What a great makeover! You guys did such a fab job on such a budget. It looks like the perfect family outdoor space for the summer. We’re in the middle of our little garden renovation too having moved into our new house last summer and not really having any budget to do anything last year, and having a very small budget to do a few bits this year so like you guys we’re doing lots ourselves. Its so nice to finally have a space that we can sit out in properly and enjoy this summer 🙂 Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Emily

  3. Caro | The Twinkle Diaries says:

    Gosh Sarah — what a difference — it looks amazing! I can’t believe all the problems you’ve had with drainage though — that’s such a shame!!! I hope that you manage to get it totally sorted so it doesn’t spoil your lovely new garden! Thanks so much for linking up with on #HomeEtc! — Caro xx

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