Couple transform rotting decking into perfect pergola with eBay bargains

A couple have transformed their rotting deck into an incredible outside space complete with DIY pergola. (Supplied

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A couple have transformed the rotting decking into their garden into a gorgeous seating area with an incredible pergola.

Realising your decking is rotten can often mean forking out for a professional to fit a replacement, but one thrifty couple managed to save hundreds by doing the job themselves and adding some unique twists to create a stylish outdoor space.

Emma Grant and her husband Leigh, from Camberley in Surrey, decided to embark on a DIY garden project after realising their decking area was past its prime.

"We had very tired, rotten decking," the tattoo artist told money-saving community "Leigh decided he wanted black composite decking, so once that was decided, I was filled with ideas."

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The decking before was rotting and needed replacing. (Supplied

Grant says she got most of her inspiration for the outdoor space from Instagram.

"We’re really into the moody Maximalism vibes, with a twist of Victorian and boho," she explains of the couple's style. "We love thrifting - 90% of our furniture inside and out is second hand and full of character."

While her husband sourced supplies for composite decking and a pergola, Grant got to work seeking out the rest of the garden decor, finding many incredible pieces from Facebook Marketplace at bargain prices.

One of her favourite finds was a wicker chair set she uncovered for just £40.

"The colour wasn’t to our taste, so I primed it in white before painting and spraying them black," she says.

"The table was also a Marketplace find, at £90."

The couple sprayed a wicker set they picked up on Facebook Marketplace. (Supplied
The couple sprayed a wicker set they picked up on Facebook Marketplace. (Supplied

After picking up a metre of waterproof fabric from eBay for £3.99 Grant used the skills she'd picked up running her craft Instagram account, @sew_dita, to recover the cushions, switching them from a floral pattern to a plain white that contrasted well with the black.

She also used some fabric she already had to create leopard-print star cushions to add some pattern and interest to the space.

For the finishing touches, Grant turned to eBay, picking up some faux ivy for £15, and a six foot Mandala rug for £68.

"The mirror came from Yateley Cobblers & Curios for £160, and the disco balls cost £99 and £75 from an online store called Mirror-Balls," she adds.

"My next stop was Amazon, where I picked up copper wire warm lighting and a solar panel for £12."

The couple upcycled some bargain buys and repurposed other items they had in their house. (Supplied

With all the essentials now in place, Grant was able to finish the space by adding in some pieces she already had at home including candles, a couple more chairs and hanging baskets.

"Leigh is a carpenter by trade, so built our composite decking and pergola himself," Grant explains. "As we’re south facing we decided to put willow up for shade."

The composite decking was from Specialised Roofing Supplies in Hampshire at £50pm. The timbers were from Selco and cost £350 for all. The pergola is 6m x 3.2m.

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"The project has very much been a lockdown labour of love," Grant continues. "It wasn’t done overnight - and probably took six months in total.

"However we are now thrilled with the results and it’s a great place to relax during the evenings and weekends."

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The finished pergola is a beautiful space to relax. (Supplied

Commenting on the impressive makeover, Tom Church, Co-Founder of, said: "Emma and Leigh have the kind of garden dreams are made of!

"If you want to build decking or a pergola, it definitely helps if you’re a carpenter already - but more and more people are taking on projects like this themselves and saving lots of money in the process.

"Composite decking is popular among those who want a strong alternative to wood that will last longer and doesn’t require much regular maintenance. Plus there is no need to sand down or stain wood during the building process."

Read more: Thrifty couple saves £950 by transforming rotting decking with DIY gazebo kit

Finishing touches such as candles and hanging baskets complete the impressive makeover. (Supplied

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

Church has put together some top tips for creating a garden with composite decking in your home.

Consider factors such as shade, privacy and wind when deciding on a location for your decking. If you’re going to be sitting outside shivering in a breeze, or on display for all of the neighbours to watch you, perhaps you need to move it somewhere else.

If you’re going to build decking next to your house, make sure that air bricks aren’t covered. These are important to keep ventilation levels up and ensure the chances of serious rot and dampness is kept to a minimum.

Mark out pilot holes during the drilling process to ensure that the wood won’t be at risk of splintering. Pilot holes also prevent screws from stripping or breaking off.

Be safe at all times. Wear protective gloves when appropriate and wear safety goggles and a dust mask if you’re using a jigsaw.

Don’t burn composite decking if you have any leftover supplies. These need to be disposed of safely, so contact your local recycling centre for advice if necessary.

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