11 February 2016

Upcycling To Create Our Dream Garden

We recently moved into our dream home, it has everything we've ever wanted in a house, a large kitchen/diner, a wood burning stove in our lounge, a separate play room for the kids, an en-suite in our bedroom and Riley's bedroom as well as a family bathroom and downstairs cloakroom and four spacious bedrooms. It's in a perfect location, right on the edge of a village surrounded by fields and lots of farm animals which the kids love, basically everything was perfect except for one area, the back garden.

It had a nice patio area right outside the back doors but apart from that the rest of the garden wasn't functional for us at all and we needed to sort it a.s.a.p. As soon as we moved in we knew it was the first thing we had to deal with because we had no outside storage so nowhere to put all of the items that filled up our garage at our old house and until the garden was cleared there was nowhere to put any outside storage.

As well as the storage problem we had another big issue in the form of a retaining wall across the back of our garden which was falling down, another thing that we knew needed sorting with some urgency if we didn't want next doors garden collapsing down into ours at some point.

We were originally going to get a landscape gardener in to do all of the work as we wanted it done quickly and to a high standard and winter was approaching fast but when the quotes came back at figures ranging between £5,000-£8,000 we knew we had to come up with another plan.

We had spent most of our savings on the deposit for the house which meant we didn't have thousands to spend on the garden so our only solution was to tackle it ourselves using the materials that were already there. We worked it all out and realised that to clear the garden by hand, rebuild the retaining wall using the original stones, build a raised patio with any leftover stones, level the whole garden and lay down a shed base it was going to cost just £500 which is a massive saving, so although we knew it was going to be a pretty back breaking and time consuming task my husband and his Dad got started clearing the garden. 

As they dug down to level off the garden in preparation for the shed they dug up hundreds of old bricks and lots more of the stones which were being used to rebuild the retaining wall so that was really helpful. We didn't have a use for the old bricks so we gave them to our neighbour who is going to use them in an upcycling project of her own in her back garden.

The shed base went down fairly quickly and easily and next it was onto the retaining wall which needed taking down completely, new foundations laying, rebuilding and back filling with cement. As all of the stones were different shapes and sizes rebuilding the wall was going to be a labour of love but I knew it was going to look amazing when it was done so it would be worth it.

After a couple of weeks the wall was up and the wall for our raised patio went up too and it looks so good, I'm really happy with it. The shed also went in which solved our outside storage problem and the garden was really starting to look much better.

Unfortunately due to lots of wet and cold weather over Christmas work in the garden had to grind to a halt but now that spring is approaching work will begin again and the garden will hopefully be completely finished by late spring/early summer. Upcycling and doing it ourselves not only saved us a lot of money but it also gave us the satisfaction of knowing that we did it ourselves and we're proud every time we look at it.

If you've recently moved, are low on funds but want to put your stamp on your new home you may be interested in watching Channel 4's exciting series Phil Spencer: Home Hero which follow's Phil on his quest to help homeowners create a multi-purpose garden, upcycle flatpack furniture, create a stylish work-from-home space and more.

If this sounds like your cup of tea you can watch all of the episodes on All 4 now.

This is a collaboration.

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