Thinking of renovating the backyard, only to dismiss the idea because it’s too expensive?
You’ll be surprised to know there’s actually a lot you can do without breaking the bank. The trick is to be creative with what you have, and head to recycling centres or go for a drive during council clean-ups to find extra items to use or repurpose. The possibilities are endless, so wait no more!
Here are our top tips, tricks and ideas to help you revamp your space on a shoestring.
1. Create your own vertical garden using recycled paint cans and a steel reo frame or trellis.
Drill at least four drainage holes in the base of each can, then coat cans with grey paint. Once dry, wet a medium-sized brush in coloured paint and circle the lip of each can, allowing paint to run freely over the sides. Allow to dry. Fill cans with potting mix and plant with herbs or plants of your choice. Attach frame to wall and secure can handles to frame with UV-resistant cable ties.
2. Adding a lovely decorative element to your yard is easy with an outdoor screen, but they can be expensive – especially if you have a large space and need more than one.
To make your own, look out for discarded steel or aluminium doors, panels or screens. When you have what you need, wearing a dust mask and protective eye and ear wear, sand surface to remove paint and to smooth out any bumps.
Wipe surface with a damp cloth and use a roller to evenly apply 2 coats of paint, allowing to dry between coats. Position on wall and hang, ensuring it’s plumb and level.
3. The naturally aged look of steel makes it a popular choice in the garden.
From sculptures to pots, it lends a strong architectural look, without the need for a lot of maintenance. Get a similar look in your garden by installing a few rusty old beams. Find them at your local resource recovery centre, then it’s simply a matter of taking them home and picking the right spot for them in the garden!
Dig a hole at least 600mm deep, position beam in hole, then backfill and compact with soil. If soil is loose, set in concrete. Check for plumb, adjust if necessary and voila! A beautiful work of recycled art.
4. A cement mixer makes a fab pot for plants – just turn it upside down and use an angle grinder to cut an opening inside the border.
Sand down rough edges and position in the garden. Part-fill with potting mix, plant with something striking like a yucca, as here, then backfill. This concept can also be applied to old toolboxes, weathered boots or paint cans – anything that can hold soil.