See how a couple saved hundreds transforming their dingy backyard into a bright, modern seating area

From drab to fab

A garden can be a welcoming haven, especially in summer - but when one young couple found that their garden was dark and unwelcoming, they took matters into their own hands.

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Lauren and Mike, both 27, from Kent finished renovating their new home back in 2019 - but had no clue how to transform their dingy, stone backyard.

'For months we were undecided on what to do with such an awkward space, and digging up the concrete base wasn’t an option,' Lauren told 'We decided to replace it with decking and use the base as a guide to how that would be designed.'


garden decking area with brown fence

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But after discovering that decking kits were priced at £1,500 and above online - they turned their heads (and wallets) to sourcing their own supplies.

'We purchased the wood for the decking from the builders’ merchants for £900, then got going on the project,' Lauren revealed.

'Mike started by completely digging the whole garden up and getting ladders to chop trees down. All we had at the time was a handsaw, ladder and shovel as the non-essential shops were shut due to lockdown. We didn’t even have a wheelbarrow!'

garden deck area with wooden structure and sofa set

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'It was a long process but we finally dug everything out and had a fresh base. We then ordered grass seed online and planted it. It cost £100 as we ordered the type they use on football pitches to get the best quality. It took a lot of work and constant watering but we finally started to see it grow!'

Then, the couple took to an unsightly concrete path with a hammer, and bagged the rubble up to dispose of when tips reopened - after, they invited a friend round to help them dig up three tree stumps from the ground.

garden decking area makeover wooden structure and sofa set

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'We then installed new fences on both sides at the top and back of the garden, then our friend built the decking for us,' Lauren said.

'The furniture came from Laura James online and we paid £650 - it has since gone up to £750 so we’ve saved £100!'

The seemingly mammoth garden renovation project took the determined couple around three weeks to complete, and they are naturally thrilled with the results.

Related: 8 ways to cut the cost of a garden makeover – expert tips for paying less on landscaping, plants and more

We think it looks so much more inviting - it’s brighter and fresher with a neutral colour palette and comfy seating. What a way to round off renovations on their new home!

Emmie Harrison-West is a freelance journalist that lives in London with her husband and any cat that walks through the door. A fierce advocate for women's rights and good beer, Emmie specialises in women's lifestyle, travel, and culture. She has had words in Cosmo, Stylist, and Time Out, as well as most national newspapers, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @emmieehw.