"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

Style at Home (UK) - - Love It Garden Makeover -

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.

Fru­gal finds

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!’

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