"Thrifty updates Have revived our Garden’
Stylist at Home Alix, 26, sourced second-hand buys and used her crafty upcycling skills to create a welcoming courtyard
uilding an extension may have transformed the interior of our home, but neither myself nor my partner Grant were prepared for the effect it would have on our garden,’ says alix. ‘We loved the idea of the proposed secluded area created by the renovation, so were more than happy to sacrifice a little space outside.
However, we both expected the garden to survive the work relatively unscathed, which wasnõt the case. Owing to foundation and pipework excavations, it soon became clear that the only surviving area outdoors would be beyond the extension, so we needed to rethink our plans and budget.
BStarting from scratch
As Grant and I had never owned a garden before, designing it from scratch was very daunting, especially as our initial research soon confirmed we couldnõt afford the additional landscaping costs. Luckily, our builder took pity on us, and he not only levelled and prepared the dug-up area, he also gave us some pavers Ð although they were rather grimy. Originally destined for landfill, they werenõt exactly what we had in mind, but they were free and allowed us to, at last, step outside onto a level surface.
Once the paving stones were laid and power-washed, we were thrilled with the result. It encouraged us to look around on auction and community websites for more bargains Ð our first purchase was outdoor wall lights, which cost us just £30 on ebay.
From the ground up
We soon, however, turned our attention back to the basics, as while half the garden was now neatly paved, the remaining concreted area Ð although a great base for our proposed shed Ð was no longer on the same level as the flagstones. My mother, a keen gardener, suggested fitting a sleeper step. This meant that not only could we do it ourselves, but it could also be used to retain a layer of gravel to disguise the
‘Grey is the perfect colour for the Garden, working in harmony with foliage and flowers, – i find that pale hues brighten shady spots’
concrete. it’s an affordable solution that creates a feature and adds interest.
When it came to furnishing the garden, we started with a shed, which allowed me to finally rid the house of our bikes, surfboards and wetsuits. Grant then snapped up a bench on Freecycle and we painted both items in a soft grey. We found the table and seating in our local paper – they needed a good scrub, but are great quality. We also rescued the terracotta pots from a skip, which left money to buy some new items, including cushions and a drinks table.
By this point, we were almost there but i still felt it lacked impact. Painting a feature wall helped, but it was the simple potted screen that brought it all together – it was ideal for defining our patio and screening the shed. i found zinc planters on Gumtree, and the resulting low bamboo border is everything i’d hoped for. i finished the look with a homemade tablecloth and blinds for the shed. now we’re all ready for a party!’