Good (value) vibes: Bland garden transformed into colourful retreat with £2 online bargains

·5-min read
A woman has transformed her bland garden into a colourful retreat. (

A woman transformed her garden into a colourful haven on a tight budget, after having a dream about the tranquil outdoor space she went on to create. 

Many of us have sought solace in our gardens over the last 18 months, with previously uncared for patches being transformed into outdoor living spaces. 

While creating a garden idyll can be costly, one mum-of-three was able to turn her "wasteland" of a garden into a relaxing space with the help of £2 online bargains and a little imagination. 

Donna Crilly, 47 from Armagh, Northern Ireland, was desperate for her own meditation area in her garden. 

"I wanted to create a garden that felt like my own space, a garden of beauty and joy where I could escape to, meditate, listen and heal," the interior design student told money-saving community

Read more: A good garden can add over £50,000 to home value- here's how to upgrade yours

The garden before was a bland, blank canvas. (

Though the family had done work on other areas of their home, the garden was a bit of a blank canvas. 

"Before I did any work on the garden it was a fairly plain space with grass and a nondescript brown shed, so I have worked hard to make it a unique space that I gravitate towards," she explains. 

Inspiration for the transformation came in the form of a dream Crilly had about how the space could look.

"I dreamt one night about a turquoise shed and couldn’t get it out of my head, so I decided to go with a Triadic colour scheme of turquoise, pink and yellow whilst using black to create balance and harmony," she explains. 

Read more: Man fulfils childhood dream with back garden ‘Hobbit house’

Crilly had a dream about a turquoise shed, which provided inspiration for the space. (
Crilly had a dream about a turquoise shed, which provided inspiration for the space. (

In order to achieve her vision, Crilly went online to find bargains from discount stores and Facebook Marketplace, which would compliment her unique colour scheme. 

"On Facebook Marketplace I was lucky enough to pick up the mirror and corner stand for just £10 each. I also had a look at Boohoo Interiors and found the Love sign for £24.99. At Get Kooky I picked up the vinyl for £28," she says. 

Other finds include some brightly coloured cushions from SHEIN, for £2 or £3 each, and garden pots from Home Bargains, which she got for between £1 and £4 each. 

For paint, Crilly turned to Frenchic paint from the Al Fresco range, which she purchased for £24.99 from a local paint shop called PV Macari Interiors.

"A few items were more expensive but I invested in them, for example I got a water feature which is a silver sphere design for £350, which acts as the focal point for the garden," she says. "The sound of the water is so peaceful."

A bright yellow wall gives the garden a pop of colour. (
A bright yellow wall gives the garden a pop of colour. (

Read more: Novice DIY-er saves £600 on bathroom makeover using 79p Stacey Solomon hack

Crilly also spent a little more on the paving stones as she wanted to ensure they would be long-lasting.

"The paving stones cost £1,200 and came from a local firm called Acheson and Glover. However we saved on costs by doing all of the work ourselves." 

Watch: How to make your garden more hands-off. 

In order to further keep the budget down, Crilly was also able to repurpose various items, including a Perspex table she already owned for the space.

"I spend my spare time upcycling furniture and studying interior design so I like to transform furniture and give it new life," she explains. 

"So where possible, I upcycled supplies. For example, the table used to belong to my son and I placed it behind the daybed to create a display area.

"With the Frenchic Al Fresco paint, I painted the mirror and corner stand to make them suitable for remaining outside."

The colourful seating provides the perfect place to relax. (

"I used the vinyl to cover the hostess trolley, which I really love and it is so handy for storage and keeping drinks on when I am outside in the afternoon or evening for a few hours."

The entire project took around three weeks to complete and Crilly is thrilled with the results of her colourful retreat. 

"Now my favourite thing to do is potter in the garden. It fills me with calm, gratitude and joy every time I look out at it," she adds. 

The garden is a magical space at night. (
The garden is a magical space at night. (

Commenting on the impressive transformation Tom Church, co-founder of, said: "Crilly’s transformation is truly striking. She has turned a bare garden into a colourful and relaxing space with the help of some paint and bargain decor.

"Turquoise and pink go well together as the colour scheme for many different rooms, and as the weather gets hotter year on year more people are recreating a beach vibe in their gardens, particularly with furniture and sheds.

"Adding accent colours such as yellow or orange can give the space a boost of energy, and to balance it out a few darker tones can prevent it from looking too chaotic or overwhelming."

Watch: The vegetables to plant now if you're planning an Autumn garden.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting