Garden envy has become a real issue as lockdown-weary families have spent their time casting a glance at just what the neighbours have been up to with their outdoor space.
But a Nantwich couple have revealed what can be done with some home improvement skills and an eye for a bargain after revamping their ‘awful’ decking and building a stylish pergola complete with outdoor seating in its place.
Now 32-year-old Carly Walley, who lives with partner Peter in the South Cheshire town, have an area to enjoy a bbq and even a film.
Read more: Stokies top the list of garden spending as lockdown sends families outside
And they say they kept the costs down by sourcing a number of bargains from Dunelm, Home Bargains, Aldi, Amazon, B&M and B&Q.
EuroJournal reports how this included two artificial hanging baskets from Dunelm for £12 each, a basket for keeping throws in for £12, and a set of four placemats for £4.25.
The couple also purchased an outdoor rug from Aldi for £18, and a parasol from B&Q for £150, which they thought was “really inexpensive” as it is “massive”.
And as no garden these days is complete without a trendy egg chair, Carly was able to pick one up for £300 from Studio – £100 less than a similar version from B&Q.
She’ll also get the money she spent back as she used cashback website Topcashback.
The pair already had their outdoor table and chairs which they purchased years ago from Argos.
All of the table decor, including the plates, were purchased from B&M – including a bowl for £3, large plate for £4, and smaller plates for £2 each.
Carly, who is self-employed, wanted to transform their garden as their old decking “had a permanent puddle in the middle” and was “never looked quite finished”.
She told LatestDeal : “The decking outside looked absolutely awful before.
“When we first moved in, this area of the garden was a horrible patch with just soil. Although we added stones it didn’t look right so we decked over it last year, and now we’ve gotten around to finishing it.
“As well as deciding to finish the space with a pergola and barbecue area, we also wanted to work on the patio. When we moved in, it was made up of awful, odd, mis-coloured and mis-matched slabs.
“We had painted it a block colour as a temporary fix, but I was never happy with it. Now we’ve totally transformed the area without the huge cost to go with it.”
Once Carly had purchased all her bits for decorating, it was time to start the main project.
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Peter started off by cutting down wood to make some flower beds before building the pergola, starting with the frame.
Part of the frame was built against the back wall of the house for additional support. Then it was time to add the roof and supporting arches.
To paint the flower beds and barbecue, Carly used Cuprinol anti-slip decking stain paint in the shade Silver Birch from B&M for £29. While she completed this stage, Peter swept down the decking.
Then both of them painted the decking in the same shade before painting the main pergola frame in white and setting up a projector against the wall.
Next, Peter built some wooden planters to go around the pergola posts and applied a waterproof cover to create the pergola roof.
Carly then got to work on the patio and painted it white with masonry paint they already had and got a stencil off Amazon for £15.
She said: “It’s not perfect as I’m not too precious about it, but I do think it makes such a difference.
“Peter wanted to put a new one down, but with the cost I suggested we see if we can make these look a little better first, so I’m so pleased we did that.”
The area now features a grey pergola with a projector and rattan seating area, a small white table and baskets with additional cushions and throws.
To complete the look, Carly picked up a mini corner sofa from Argos from £300, as well as a few extra bits of decoration from bargain stores.
Peter was also able to get money off a lantern in B&M by asking for a discount, as it was slightly damaged.
She said: “Pretty much all of the decor in the BBQ area is from Home Bargains for £3 or £4 each, except the drink dispenser which is from B&M for £10.
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“I also got two lavender planters from B&M for £15 each, and a number of small ones for £4 each.
“I hung a mirror on the wall from Home Bargains for £5.99 and I hung up three sets of white curtains from Amazon for £7.50 each which I love.
“Then I got some string lights off Amazon for £20 which look gorgeous at nighttime.
“We also got a patio heater from Amazon which wasn’t crazy expensive at £100 and had really good reviews.”
In total, the pair spent around £1,000 on decking and border sleepers, £500 on building the pergola, £300 on paint and £200 on decorations.
This means they spent around £2,000 on their garden transformation