From fire pits to outdoor kitchens, there are many ways you can breathe new life into a patio or decking space, so you can really make the most of your garden in the warmer months of the year. It’s easy to get used to what you have and not see past the neglected corner, old trampoline or that pile you’ve been collecting to take to the tip.
So, try to take a fresh look at your space to see what’s possible with some of the ideas below.
While it’s easy to spend a fortune on gardens, you can make big improvements on a shoestring too. It just requires some time, a bit of hard work and a dash of creativity.
Here are some ideas for making the most of your patio and outside areas without busting your budget.
Start with a blank canvas
Before launching into your first DIY garden project, focus on making improvements to what you have. That means it’s time to liven up that neglected patio or decking area.
This needn’t mean a big job. Focus on cleaning your decking or patio, cast aside tired old plant pots and junk, and prune back overgrown shrubs or plants.
Now you can take a step back and get creative with that blank canvas.
Start your own garden bar
Imagine sharing a drink with pals in your own garden bar. While you might not be able to afford to create your own fully-formed backyard pub on a budget, there are certainly plenty of ways to create a small garden bar without breaking the bank.
Create a fire pit
A fire pit can make a really cosy garden focal point for you, your friends and family to enjoy on a summer’s evening. Better still, toast some marshmallows and you’ll feel as though you’re sitting around your very own campfire.
While you can buy some fairly chic ready-made designs, a fire pit can be created on the cheap too.
There are plenty of guides to building fire pits available online - such as this super simple one using bricks.
Paint your garden furniture
You might already have the makings for a lovely outdoor space, but things could just need a bit of a refresh and some love and care.
One really simple way to regenerate your patio or decking is to focus on your garden furniture. Giving it a new lick of paint can make all the difference, especially if you go for bold colours to really make it stand out.
Just be sure to make sure the surface is clean and dry first, and use a paint that's suitable for use on exterior wood and metal.
The same can be done for plant pots. If they’re looking a bit tired, instead of forking out on new ones, you could paint them some fresh new colours. Again, be sure to clean them off first – snail trails and all.
Outdoor kitchens come in a huge range of shapes and sizes - and price tags.
But you can create your own outdoor dining experience on a budget. For example, you could have a go at building a pizza oven to create a focal point (or consider buying one; there are many inexpensive pizza ovens are available now). Add some surfaces for food preparation and you have a basic outdoor kitchen – to make you feel like you’re abroad.
Some options, if you want to go further, include adding a sink, cabinets and counters, as well as a pergola or sail for shade. A nice tip is to attach any spare tiles you have, perhaps left over from another project in your house, to a wall or wooden board attached to a fence to give the impression of a kitchen area. This will help delineate it from the rest of your garden.
Repurpose old furniture
Why not bring the inside out and upcycle some old furniture? Some creative souls have done just that with things like an ornate old chest of drawers: add some suitable external paint, line the drawers with heavy-duty plastic linings, drill some holes in for drainage, and then leave the drawers open to display your flowers in the drawers.
A classic way to create your own garden furniture is to use old wooden pallets, painted bright colours, to make a simple table. Or you could fill a ceramic sink with flowers to create a focal point.
Re-home your plants
Plants needn’t live in pots. You can find plenty of alternative homes for them. By doing so, you can save some money and add some extra character to your outdoor space.
Alternatives to traditional plant pots include using old teapots and tableware. Or how about planting up an old watering can - there’s often one knocking about in many gardens - old wellie, an old chimney pot or even a rusting wheelbarrow?
Some thrifty gardeners even repurpose old colanders as alternative hanging flowerpots.
Let it glow
Making good use of lighting can be a great way to spruce up your decking or patio on the cheap. String lights and lanterns can add a pretty glow, or you can save money on electricity - and help make your garden more sustainable - by opting for solar garden lights.