Two years of planning and six months of full-on ‘rip-it-back-to-the-joists-and-start-again‘ building work later, and we were thrilled to be standing in our lovely new home.
We’d worked with an amazing designer to tailor a home that was within our budget and got around some very awkward plot issues (semi-detached, on a steep hill, not much space between us and the other neighbours). It was absolutely perfect for us and we couldn’t have been happier.
The outside, however, not so much.
The garden had been an overgrown jungle when we first moved in nine years ago; so much so, when we had it all cleared out it seemed to double in size. We took out the awful 1960s paving slabs and the dodgy concrete bird bath and laid wooden decking and grass so the kids had a safe place to play.
They spent countless hours out there, riding their trikes and blowing bubbles, and having picnics and chasing each other around. We danced in the rain, and filled tubs of water to sit in on hot days, munched on barbecues and held egg and spoon races.
But, unfortunately, our little back garden oasis did not survive the renovations.
After being used as dumping ground for all the construction materials, it was a battered, overgrown disaster zone. Half the decking had been torn up for our kitchen-diner extension, the rest of it was pretty much destroyed. There was a gaping, muddy hole where our garage had previously stood, and the grass had all been chewed up.
As the weather got warmer it began to bother us more: hanging out in the back garden had always so integral to our family time, so we made the decision to stretch ourselves just that little bit further and get it sorted.
So we embarked on our budget garden renovation…
We started by getting the decking redone and extended to match the width of the new kitchen-diner extension.
We decided to leave the leftover footprint of the old garage, and turn it into a sunken tiled area we could use as a seated BBQ area. Not only did we end up with a contemporary entertaining area that we loved, it saved us money by not having it all completely decked (if you’re considering the same, there are professional trade websites that will let you know the rough cost of laying a patio or installing decking, and other renovation jobs).
We chose dark grey tiles to match the anthracite colour of our sliding doors, and because I knew when I lined the square with plants, the greenery would really liven up the space.
To finish up our budget garden renovation we painted the raw timber black, spraying the new fence ourselves to save money and painting over the old dark brown of the existing fence and back gate.
We got a cheap corner sofa to tide us over (eventually we’ll invest in a bigger, more comfy one) and some extra cushions from H&M to jazz it up. Over time we’ll get some more plants and shrubs to soften up the hard lines of the sleepers and decking, and re-turf the battered lawn.
We’re looking forward to enjoying many more sunny evenings in our little garden oasis.