Now that the sun is finally showing signs of making an appearance, you might be tempted to create a new outdoor seating area in your garden – but building work costs a fortune at the moment.
With costs higher than ever, one woman decided to take matters into her own hands and build a pergola and decking area using all her own skills – and saving a fortune in the process.
Melissa Preston, 44-year-old mum-of-two from Northampton, was quoted a staggering £3,000 for professionals to build her a new decking area.
Melissa, who owns a cleaning company, decided to build it herself – and managed to pull off the project for just £540.
Her clever money-saving tricks included using a neighbour’s old decking, bannisters and handrails that were destined for the skip, and repurposing old furniture she had bought years ago from Lidl and Aldi.
‘I decided to save the money and do it all myself at a fraction of the price. I was fed up with the girls dragging bark into the hot tub!’ Melissa told Facebook group On A Budget UK.
‘My first task was to decide how big I wanted the decking. Once this was decided I ordered all the decking and the pergola.
‘The longest and toughest part of the project was getting the area cleared and de-weeded. This seemed to take forever. Once it was all up to scratch I was then ready to start the build.’
Melissa says she was very nervous as she has never tackled anything on this scale before, let alone done the whole thing herself.
‘But I do like a challenge, so this spurred me on,’ she says.
‘Once I had made the base I spent hours making sure the posts that it would sit in were completely level. When using cement I will say it’s a great idea to mix it right near where you are using it.
‘I made this mistake and by the time I walked it around it already started to go hard.
‘Once the hard bit was all done I was ready to lay the decking. I found this easy and really satisfying to watch it all come together.
‘I then erected the pergola singlehandedly. I’d say maybe get someone to help with this part as it would save time and your frustration.’
Melissa saw that her neighbour was going to the skip with their old bannisters, decking and rails, so she asked if she could have them – and they agreed.
‘It saved them a trip to the tip,’ she says. I hadn’t originally planned to put a railing up but I thought these would be ideal and really showcase the rest of my work.
‘Then it was onto the staining and painting. I loved this part as my creation was all starting to come together.’
But for Melissa, the most enjoyable part was styling the area.
‘Someone joked last year I’d be building an extension next,’ she says. ‘Not quite, but this was definitely the biggest task I’ve ever decided to tackle, with the help of YouTube.
‘In total, it cost me around £540. The decking came as a kit from Merit Garden Products so everything I needed was supplied.
‘It was £280 and then the pergola again came as a kit so was all supplied for £200. The rest of the money went on decking stain and paint from Screwfix.
‘The hot tub was a special buy from the middle of Lidl about four years ago now. The seating was from Aldi special buys a few years ago now and came with a table. I thought it would look ideal in this area to relax on.
‘I already had an image in my mind before I started and to be honest it turned out way better than I expected. I’m over the moon, and I now enjoy my morning cuppa out there in peace.
‘It was bloody hard work, but I’m so pleased I gave myself the challenge.’
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