We’ve spend the last couple of years investing in our outdoor space to make it a welcoming place to enjoy all year round. If you’re looking for a few inspirational ideas to improve your garden then take a look at my top 5 DIY design ideas. All of these projects have been taken on by myself. I’m no professional, but with a little research and hard work I’ve managed to turn my old, overgrown mess of a garden into a landscaped sanctuary.
You too can take on either of these projects for a high quality finish with my step by step guides. (see below for links). Learn new skills and avoid little mistakes by reading each of these in depth posts. All are easily achievable with a little patience and a willingness to try new things. If like me you have a few handy skills then these should be the perfect challenge.
Here are a few pictures of the projects and transformations we took on.
Project One – Build your own veranda
This was an essential project that would transform our outdoor space to make it accessible all year round. Something to shelter us from rain, or to enjoy a little shade when the sun gets a little hot.
By adding some swinging chairs, a sofa lounging area and some storage this has become one of our favourite locations to enjoy a nice cup of tea, whatever the weather. Hammocks are also a great idea for verandas as you’ll have a sturdy structure to attach them to. We’re looking into getting a hammock that can be quickly put up and down for when we want to snooze in the sunshine.
The project overall cost under £1000 and could easily be completed over the length of a long weekend.
I completed this project in two halves. First I built the veranda (or lean-to) and followed up with a sleek decking area later on. Here are the links to each of these two projects:
Project Two – Laying porcelain tile patio
We saved well over £2k on this project by doing it ourselves and it’s a project that most people can take on themselves. It took about 5 days for myself to complete, with a little help from the wife and the results are stunning.
The old patio was absolutely hideous and we’d lived with it for far too long. The weeds were growing up through all the cracks and it was incredibly wonky. The new porcelain patio is super easy to clean, it looks great and really pulls the whole garden together.
We invested in a cement mixer for £240 (which we sold on afterwards) and the materials cost were about £1200 which was a very worthwhile investment on our garden transformation. Considering the cheapest quotes for this work were about £3500 we did pretty well.
To finish things off we purchased a lovely new dining set, a large hanging umbrella and we’re now on the hunt for the perfect barbecue. Our little slice of paradise.
Project Three – Build a reclaimed wood boardwalk
With a total cost of about £100 this had to be the cheapest project in the garden. And it’s really made a big impact on the overall aesthetic and functionality of the garden.
It was quite hard work removing the turf and preparing the ground for the boardwalk frame but well worth it. Plus it’s a great workout.
We debated for some time about the best solution for a path in the garden and this turned out the be the cheapest and perhaps best looking of all the options. We discussed a patio style path, a gravel path and even a stepping stone path.
Yes, it requires a little maintenance each year or two but this is minimal considering the cost benefits. The reclaimed wood was from old scaffold boards and the frame was from low cost timber that can be found in most DIY stores.
We love how it looks like a boardwalk and you could even make it look like more of a dock depending on your garden design and layout, adding some dock accessories to give it an authentic feel.
Project Four – Decking area
There was one spot in our garden that would always catch the last sun of the day so we had to create a suitable seating area to enjoy this. Another patio was on the cards but to save money we decided to go for a small decking area with cover.
This would act as both a sun trap in the evening and a shaded spot during the day when the sun was high. It also offered some rain protection.
Project Five – Build a garden office
This was probably one of the biggest jobs I’d taken on but totally possible for any competent DIYer. I started this project as a simple shed / workshop and later decided to extend and insulate the whole thing. This transformed it into a functional office space which could be used as an office, gym or relaxation room away from the house.
The total size was about 3.0m x 7.2m and cost a total of about £5000. You’re not really limited by what size or shape you can build as you would be with a flat pack or pre-designed garden office. You’ll also half your build costs by doing this yourself.
I’ve listed a few different options in terms of bases and roof construction within my posts so you can follow the easy step by step instructions for your ideal build.
Some other ideas to get your garden ready for summer
You could also consider a few of these other great projects which I’ve not yet documented.
Thanks for reading. Here are some of my other popular posts