Clever mum saves £2,200 on garden makeover by doing it all herself

Hard work and savvy shopping helped keep costs down

Now that Chelsea Flower Show is back, September is not the time to start forgetting about your garden. One savvy mum proved that you don't need to spend a fortune for a stylish garden, and managed to save herself £2,200 in the process.

Lynda Chadwick from York hated her garden and was desperate to turn it into a more attractive area with some smart new garden ideas.

‘I hated my garden so much that I hadn’t sat out in it for the five years I’ve lived here,' Lynda told money-saving community

'However, when I saw what people were doing with their gardens on the Facebook group "Gardens On A Budget", I decided to carry out my own makeover, with help from my friend Sharon, to try and make it look better.'

Gravel garden patio makeover

In fact, it was Lynda's friend Sharon that encouraged her to start and kept her motivated throughout the process. ‘We did it together,' Lynda explains. 'I’m a single mum so I had no help from men, and even though I have three sons, they didn’t help as I wanted it to be my project.’


Originally an abandoned space, Lynda's garden had a paved area covered in various debris and certainly wasn't the relaxing, attractive garden she'd dreamed of. 

Lawn with lounge chair next to wooden blue fence and fire drum

(Image credit: Lynda Chadwick)

Having had someone price up the job the year before and quote £2,700, Lynda had been put off until Sharon persuaded her she could do the makeover for well under that – in fact, it came in at under £500 in total!

'It took us about three weeks, and it was hard work, but it paid off in the end,' says Lynda. 'The first step was to dig up about five tonnes of soil and grass. There was also a concrete post buried under the soil, so that had to come up, too.'


The neat outdoor space is no longer a mess, and you can see just how much effort Lynda must have put in to achieve the finished result.

Lounger on gravel area next barbecue and blue wooden fence

(Image credit: Lynda Chadwick)

‘I dug up all the paving slabs and killed all the weeds, then put black roll down before wheel barrowing in three tonnes of stones,' she says. 'Next up, we painted the fence and replaced two panels that were broken. I bought lights for each post and a log roll to edge the stoned area.'

Luckily, Lynda managed to find supplies that were either very cheap or free, which helped her be able to afford the stones that were needed for her patio idea.

Potted plants on gravel next to wooden blue fence and lawn

(Image credit: Lynda Chadwick)

'The stones were £75 a tonne,' she says, 'and I got three tonnes, so I paid £225 in total. The log rolls were from The Range at £5.99 each and I only had to buy five as my friend had seven rolls leftover from her garden, which she gave me for free. That was the beginning of my motivation to start on the garden – getting these freebies!'

Painting what was originally a brown fence, smartened up the garden immediately. ‘The paint came from B&Q and was £24 a tin,' says Lynda. 'I used two big tins. I also had a look on Facebook Marketplace and managed to find some bargains there: I picked up a barbecue for £30 and a sunbed for £50!'

Lynda's luck continued, as she managed to get several plants and a palm tree for free. 'Luckily, my dad was moving, so he gave them all to me and that saved me a fair bit of money,' she says.

'My other costs included two black rolls to go under the stones, which were £10.50 each, and I also paid £60 for someone to take away all of the topsoil I dug up. Overall I paid just under £500 – I had saved that much and I didn’t go over budget.’

Potted plants on gravel next to lawn, barbecue and wooden blue fence.

(Image credit: Lynda Chadwick)

Despite the project being hard going at times, Lynda stuck it out and created a garden, full of budget garden ideas that she can finally enjoy.

‘Halfway through, I did say I wish I’d never started it and I could see no end,' she says, 'but Sharon said, "Come on, we can do this!", so we did. I’m so happy with the result and now I have a beautiful space to sit out in after five years.'

Have you been inspired to give your garden an overhaul?

Laurie Davidson

Laurie Davidson is a professional stylist, writer and content creator, who lives and breathes interiors. Having worked for some of the UK’s leading interior magazines, styled homes up and down the country and produced sets for TV shows, adverts and top brands, it’s safe to say Laurie has had a pretty exciting career. Find her on Instagram at @lifeofaninteriorstylist or over at