Couple save over £1000 transforming dull backyard into stylish seating space


As the hot weather continues, we're ever more appreciative of outside space to reap the benefits of balmy summer evenings.

If your seating space isn't quite Insta-worthy, however, the thought of giving it a makeover can be somewhat daunting, not to mention expensive - particularly if you're covering a large area.

But by taking on a lot of the work themselves, one couple were able to save over £1000 by turning their drab stone backyard into a bright seating space that wouldn't look out of place in a homes magazine.

After buying a house together, Lauren and Mike, both 27, from Kent, didn’t know what to do with their back garden.

Watch: Affordable ways to update your garden

‘The whole property needed refurbishing and we completed that in 2019, but the garden was the last task," Lauren tells money-saving community

"For months we were undecided on what to do with such an awkward space, and digging up the concrete base wasn’t an option.

"We decided to replace it with decking and use the base as a guide to how that would be designed."

Read more: Woman transforms kitchen on £500 budget with clever B&Q and Poundland hacks

The view of the garden before. (Supplied
The view of the garden before. (Supplied

With similar decking kits online priced at £1500 and above, the couple, who work in project support and regional account management, decided to save on costs by sourcing their own supplies.

"We purchased the wood for the decking from the builders’ merchants for £900, then got going on the project," Lauren continues.

"Mike started by completely digging the whole garden up and getting up ladders to chop trees down. All we had at the time was a hand-saw, ladder and shovel as the non-essential shops were shut due to lockdown.

"We didn’t even have a wheelbarrow!" she adds.

Read more: DIY-savvy woman transforms kitchen from dark and dated to bright and modern for just £100

The garden afterwards is almost unrecognisable. (Supplied
The garden afterwards is almost unrecognisable. (Supplied

Though digging everything out was a long process, afterwards the couple had a fresh base to begin the project.

"We then ordered grass seed online and planted it," Lauren continues.

"It cost £100 as we ordered the type they use on football pitches to get the best quality. It took a lot of work and constant watering but we finally started to see it grow!"

Watch: How to build your own picnic table

The next job was to dig up a random path which was in the garden.

"We used a hammer to break up the concrete by hand and bagged it up ready for when the tips reopened," Lauren explains.

"After that, we had three tree stumps we needed taking out so a friend came round to grind them out of the ground."

The couple then installed new fences on both sides at the top and back of the garden, with a friend helping to build the decking.

"The furniture came from Laura James online and we paid £650 - it has since gone up to £750 so we’ve saved £100!

"Overall, the project took 2-3 weeks and we’re really pleased with the results." she adds.

Read more: Thrifty woman transforms dull patio into incredible garden dining space for just £100

The concrete dominated the seating spae. (Supplied
The concrete dominated the seating space. (Supplied
The perfect spot for a BBQ. (Supplied
The perfect spot for a BBQ. (Supplied

Commenting on the impressive transformation Tom Church, co-founder of, said:

"Lauren and Mike have managed to save a lot of money by doing the work themselves or getting friends to help them.

"The biggest saving probably came from getting their own wood for the decking, as ready-made kits can easily cost hundreds more.

"The average tree surgeon in the UK costs £40 per person per hour, so with three stumps to grind out it’s likely they have saved at least £100.

"Jobs such as laying down grass seeds, installing fences and laying down decking can easily come with labour costs of £40 per hour as well, so with several days of work at a minimum, I would estimate that Lauren and Mike saved at least £400 by doing the work themselves.

"What with the £600 saving on the decking supplies, £100 off the furniture, £400 or more from labour costs and £100 saved on a tree surgeon, the couple has easily saved over £1000 by going DIY, so well done to them!"

life edit
life edit

If you're planning to install your own decking, Church has put together the following tips:

1 Plan exactly how big you want the decking to be before you purchase supplies. That way you’ll eliminate the risk of wastage.

2 Avoid building your decking in areas which regularly receive a lot of shade, as the wood will require more maintenance.

3 Purchase supplies specifically designed for decking. This means getting structural treated timber and the right screws, so the construction lasts.

4 Make use of a guide marker or set square when cutting to ensure you don’t end up with wonky wood!

5 Avoid the risk of splinters by sanding down the ends of your timber after cutting it.

6 Use the correct safety equipment - that means wearing protective gloves, a dust mask and safety glasses.

7 Don’t be afraid to ask for help. This kind of job is much easier when you have a friend by your side, so make an afternoon of it!’

Watch: Create your own outdoor oasis