Couple halve garden makeover cost with clever DIY hacks

A couple saved money by transforming their garden space with DIY pallet furniture. (Supplied

Calling in the experts to make over your garden can be spendy, not to mention stressful, which is why one couple decided to side-step the hassle and take on the job themselves.

Having been quoted more than £500 for just the slabs in one section of their outdoor space, Ayisha Alderson, 28 from East Challow, Wantage, decided to embark on the project herself alongside partner, Simon Nicholls, 36.

"We’d always wanted to build our own garden furniture out of pallets. We’d just moved from a first floor flat so the garden was always going to be our first project," the mum of two told money-saving community

"We had a very small patio originally and the outward-opening doors took up some of the space, so we knew we were going to extend it but we weren’t sure how to."

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The couple dug up the turf to extend their patio. (Supplied
The couple dug up the turf to extend their patio. (Supplied

Initially, the couple looked at extending the seating space with patio slabs but realising that wouldn't be a straightforward or budget-friendly option, they decided to go for gravel instead.

"We used two tonnes of gravel for the patio and the BBQ area at the end of our garden," she explains. "It came from the local pits and cost £100 in total."

But before the gravel was delivered, the couple decided to get stuck into doing the groundwork.

"My partner had just done half a day at work and we spontaneously decided to just start digging," Alderson explains.

"We dug out the turf to extend the patio and used it to level off the end of the garden as it was on a slope. Then we laid the weed barrier."

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The following day, the gravel was delivered, but getting it into place wasn't totally smooth sailing, with the couple forced to improvise on transportation.

"We didn’t have a wheelbarrow so we used our wheelie bin as well as loading up bags for life and carrying them through the house," Alderson says.

Having always wanted to build their own garden furniture out of pallets, Nicholls was thrilled to discover someone giving pallets away for free on Facebook Marketplace.

"We used around 10 pallets in total," Alderson continues. "We decided to only have the backrests on the part facing out to the garden, so we ended up having almost a chaise longue style."

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The couple say it was challenging fitting in the project around work and their two small children. (Supplied

While initially being concerned about the safety aspect, having two small children, Nicholls ensured the pallet furniture was screwed together tightly, ensuring it is secure.

"Once that was done, it was just a case of boxing it all in, painting it and adding decorations," Alderson adds. "We used 20 feather-boards to box the furniture in and make it look tidier - they were only £2 per board from a local yard.

In terms of decoration, the couple picked up garden paint from B&M for £7.99, with the cushions, which are actually dog beds, coming from Home Bargains, also priced at £7.99 each.

The finishing touch was an outdoor rug from Home Bargains for just £10, bringing their total spend to just £265.93.

"Since we’ve finished the project, we’ve added an arch onto the back of the sofa with two trellis panels which were £10 each from Home Bargains, and lots of fairy lights that we had from the previous Christmas," Alderson continues.

The mum-of-two says the main challenges to completing the project involved the couple having to work around their children and Nicholls' work commitments - and not having a wheelbarrow to transfer the gravel.

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The couple have created a beautiful outdoor space. (Supplied

But now that the project is complete they couldn't be happier with the outcome.

"In all honesty, I don't think we’d do anything differently. It all came together beautifully and we’re so proud of ourselves for doing it," Alderson adds.

Commenting on the impressive, budget-friendly makeover, Tom Church, co-founder of, said: "Ayisha and Simon have done a great job transforming their garden and creating a stylish, comfortable space to spend their summer evenings.

"Facebook Marketplace can be a goldmine for getting freebies, especially if you’re looking to do a DIY project. Hopefully, this garden makeover will inspire others to try out similar projects for themselves!"

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