DIY savvy gran saves over £5,000 transforming ‘jungle’ garden into an ‘oasis’

Karen Brooke, 67, has created her stunning garden space by upcycling materials as well as scouring selling sites and social media for bargains.

The retired PE teacher first purchased her three-bedroom bungalow in Forest Avenue, in Goostrey, Cheshire, for £267,000 two years ago.

She knew the property would need an internal and external renovation but decided to snap it up as it was close to where her daughter was living.

The gran-of-four said she had first set eyes on her bungalow two and half years ago after finding out that the occupant had sadly passed away.

When viewing the property, instead of being scared off by the abandoned garden, she said: “When I first saw it, I didn’t really see how bad it was – I just saw how good it could be. The actual landscaping – the shape of the garden – was already there as the previous owner had done it at some point.

Karen dug up the soil with a tiller she bought from Aldi to get rid of everything and began to transform the plot over the next year.

After digging up the soil, Karen put up a greenhouse in one corner of the garden and created a makeshift waterfall out of unwanted rocks she got for free online.

The savvy gardener also put up a trellis, which is now covered in pink and white roses, and planted box hedges, lavender, hardy grasses and ornamental conifers.

Karen said she had cut down on her costs by looking for unwanted items that people were giving away for nothing on social media for her garden.

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She added: “I’m a bargain hunter, and I like to find things on freebie sites. I had to pay large sums of money for the concrete base, the greenhouse, and the summer house, but even on the patio, I upcycled what was there.”

Karen revealed that she spent roughly £7,000 making her garden, but saved thousands more by “upcycling” most of the items for her amazing 18 by 18-metre plot. 

The gardening enthusiast now plans to spend the warm nights enjoying her favourite tipple in her summer house, which comes complete with a “gin corner”.

Karen said: “I always wanted to do the garden myself as I like to get my hands stuck in and knew I wouldn’t want to spend what a landscape gardener would have cost. Just thinking about it, it would have set me back around £12,000, so it was better to do it myself.”

After describing the garden as looking like a “jungle” when she first purchased the property, Karen said that it’s now “ended up like an oasis” where it is “very peaceful” and she is able to “get the sun all day in it”.

The savvy gardener said that she particularly likes hearing the burble of her waterfall and listening to audiobooks in her summer house with her cockapoo Marley during the evenings.

Karen also explained that her summer house has three chairs and she’s upcycled them with white chalk paint. She said that she enjoys a nice gin and tonic in there at 6pm.

The savvy gardener said: “It’s actually got a label on it saying ‘The Gin Corner’. I sit in there with my dog for a couple of hours. I’ve also got a beautiful water feature that looks like a tumbled-down mountain, just a rocky waterfall, and that was to disguise an old fish pond that was there.”

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