A woman who completely transformed her garden for only £100 has shared her secrets to giving your outside space an Insta-worthy upgrade on a budget.
Having recently relocated to the countryside in Surrey from London, Becky Lane, 34, was keen to get her garden into shape in time for outdoor get-togethers, but she didn't want to splash too much cash on the makeover.
Thankfully, the experienced renovator knows how to make the most of your home on a small budget and was able to transform her crazy paving-covered courtyard into a stylish sun-trap for just £100.
Lane, who shares her affordable home decorating tips on her Instagram account @21oakham, has managed to create an outdoor oasis on a shoestring at her family's new house in Surrey, after cracking out the pressure washer and paint.
“We recently bought another renovation project - this is the third property we have done up," Lane tells MyToolShed.
"With summer fast approaching, we wanted to create a space to relax and chill in but on a budget. We struggled to see online any good crazy paving transformations, which are in so many gardens in the UK.”
So Lane set about taking on the project herself, turning to DIY and second-hand buys to turn her dull, concrete courtyard area into the perfect relaxation spot with two seating areas in time for summer.
Lane and her husband had previously won the Ronseal Lockdown Garden award for their work making over the garden of their previous home in south-east London. So the couple were able to use their experience from previous projects in the budget makeover.
“Whenever we can save money, we do," she says. "With everyone being more environmentally responsible now, the online secondhand marketplace is huge. If we upcycle or reuse a secondhand item it can allow us to splash out more on a statement piece.”
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And when Lane and her husband can, they do the work themselves.
"For decking and electrics, we got the professionals in, everything else, we watch YouTube videos to see how people have done it. There is definitely a golden rule of 'know your limits' and if you're in any doubt, get a contractor for safety,” she says.
Determined to keep costs down, Lane and her husband started by washing and weeding the dismal-looking space.
“We started by jet washing the whole courtyard," Lane explains. "I then removed all the dead shrubs and weeds. Once the paving was washed we painted it using white masonry paint. This acted as a primer but also allowed us to see all the cracks a lot easier in the paving."
Lane says her husband then turned to YouTube to watch videos on how to use ready-mixed mortar to fill in all the cracks.
"We upcycled the pots we found in the garden left by the previous owner again with white masonry paint to give them a new lease of life," she continues.
The couple furnished their new space with pocket-friendly secondhand finds and high street buys.
“Ikea is our all time favourite, we are also loving Facebook Marketplace for upcycles - we got an old rusty swing frame from Facebook Marketplace that we have spray painted black for our courtyard and added a rope swingchair to it which we have now nicknamed the 'Adults Drinking Chair'."
For anyone wanting to take on a similar garden project, Lane suggests making a moodboard from favourite Instagram or Pinterest accounts.
"Start with a vision and shop with that as a guide," she says. "Don’t shop without a clear end goal because you may end up with loads of random pieces.”
In her makeover, Lane hit on some of the major garden trends predicted for the summer, including using neutral paint colours as a base or backdrop, opting for classic monochrome furnishings, letting bold shades pop through planting, using bamboo screens for a rattan vibe and pulling the look together with an outdoor rug for Mediterranean style.
"To save on time, effort and money on painting the fence we bought bamboo screens and screwed them to the fence posts and panels," Lane adds.
“I love the harshness of the monochrome popping out against the more neutral colours. It excites the eye the moment you look at it but then you can also see the softer colours and textures mixed in."
The couple have some further plans to upgrade the space they've created.
“We currently just bought off Facebook some old wicker conservatory furniture which I will be upcycling for the courtyard and we are going to create a beach style four poster daybed using an old futon bed we got for free off Facebook and some old pallets,” says Lane.