Deborah Williamson, 49, decided to take matters into her own hands after she was quoted 7,500 pounds (approx. US$10,000) for outside decking.
“I thought it was ridiculous being quoted that much just for some decking,” Deborah said. “I said to myself, I’m not paying that.”
The key worker from Whitehaven, Cumbria, in northwest England, spent 18 months transforming her garden from overgrown plants and an unloved space into a beautiful haven with fairy lights and furniture with the total cost being just 1,490.52 pounds (approx. US$1,990).
The other push to start her DIY project came when she was diagnosed with seven compressed disks in her neck, a mass on her spine, and degenerative diseases of myelomalacia and osteoarthritis in 2019.
“My diagnoses really kickstarted me into doing this project,” Deborah said. “I wanted a place that I could go to, to rest and relax when I become too weak to do anything anymore.”
With a can-do attitude, Deborah began to look for deals on Amazon and buy things that she really wanted. She began to spend her days off working on the garden for an hour or more to create the incredible space.
Explaining the process in detail, Deborah said that she split the garden into four sections so that she could make a rough budget and begin sketching on what she particularly wanted in each area.
“I actually started doodling little pictures that I envisioned in my head for what the garden was going to look like once I had finished,” Deborah said. “I made sure to look for the best bargains, and to get everything as cheap as possible.”
Deborah spent hours at a time looking through Amazon’s online selection, as well as rummaging through the sale items at discount stores such as B&M and Home Bargains.
“The more pages you look through on Amazon, the cheaper you can find the item you are looking for,” Deborah said.
For example, she really wanted a pergola and found one for 350 pounds (approx. US$470), but it was a bit too expensive for her. However, after searching for 15 more minutes, she found a similar one for just 96.32 pounds (approx. US$130), as it had a discount for first-time buyers.
Deborah did the same thing for composite decking tiles and got a 6 percent off each time.
Apart from hunting for bargains, Deborah saved on her garden renovation expenses by upcycling old furniture and pallets of wood.
“I used an old gazebo that we had stored away in the shed to create a cabana,” she said. “I bought some lights and drapes to add on. I budgeted £30 for it and ended up having two pence left.”
Meanwhile, for the flowers and other bits, Deborah tried to support her local garden center as she was aware that they had struggled during the pandemic.
“I got lots of different flowers like lavender and begonias and managed to snag some bags of mixed bulbs that were three bags for £5,” Deborah said.
The biggest expense in Deborah’s garden was made on the 13 metric tons of gravel, and 3 metric tons of sand she put down, totaling 576 pounds (approx. US$770), with the gravel being 36 pounds (approx. US$48) per bag. She bought them from the hardware store B&Q.
Deborah, who did all the work by herself, has received amazing reactions from friends and neighbors for her garden.
“A lot of my friends have said it looks amazing and have even joked that I should come and do theirs next,” she said. “It’s pretty overwhelming just how great it looks now, those four hours spent putting up the pergola and lugging buckets of gravel everywhere have definitely paid off.”
For Deborah, doing the garden up was a “little escape” during the pandemic.
“It helped me escape from everything that was going on,” Deborah said. “To create my own little paradise where I could plant flowers and spend my days.”
Epoch Times Staff contributed to this report.