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DIYer Quoted £1000 For Greenhouse Base Builds Her Own For £100

November 17, 2021, 4:00 PM
  • Hilary, 58, wanted a new greenhouse as the door had blown off her old one
  • She was quoted £1000 for a greenhouse base and installation so decided to go DIY
  • Sourcing her own supplies only cost £104, and she shopped at B&Q and her local builders yard
  • She learned how to create the base by watching YouTube video tutorials

Building a greenhouse can be a time-consuming task, and getting the right base installed easily adds £100s to your expenses. However, one savvy DIYer has proven it doesn’t have to cost the earth if you set up your greenhouse base yourself.

Hilary Hart, 58 from Dundee who is an occupational therapist for the NHS with three children aged 33, 30 and 27, told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk: ‘I ordered a new greenhouse because the one I had which used to be my mum’s was 39 years old, and the door had blown off. I had done a temporary fix with a shower curtain, weighted down with heavy glass beads, but it looked terrible, and didn’t keep the heat.

‘I ordered one online, and the delivery time was 18 weeks, so I figured I had plenty of time to get the base sorted. I really struggled to get someone to quote, as a lot of contractors said they were busy doing jobs over the pandemic. I did get one professional who came out and quoted £1000 for a greenhouse base and installation - a lot more than the cost of the greenhouse in the first place (£750)!

‘The guy said it was a tight space, and it would be a difficult job. I thought it was a lot of money, and didn’t want to end up being coerced into moving the greenhouse somewhere else. It was a great spot! So, I decided to have a go myself.

‘I watched lots of YouTube videos to learn how to make concrete and lay greenhouse bases. I didn’t realise that there was a cement shortage until I had dug a big hole in the garden...online delivery prices were extortionate, so I asked everyone I knew if they had any idea where I could get some.

I eventually managed to source some from a builders yard 20 miles away, they were really helpful! I picked up three bags of cement from Travis & Perkins in Arbroath for £17.50, then moved on to B&Q for the rest of my supplies. I purchased three bags of sharp sand for £21 and 20 bags of gravel for £53. I also got a plastering trowel for £9 and measuring jugs for £3.50. It did take a few journeys, especially for the sand, as I only have a wee Skoda.

‘After I had marked out the area and excavated it, I removed all of the debris and compacted it with a roller. I then laid out the metal base frame using parts I already had and levelled it out using a spirit level. Next I needed to mix the concrete and I did so using the standard mix of one part cement to five parts ballast (sand and gravel).

‘Overall, preparing and laying the foundation was really hard work. At first I mixed the concrete in my tub trug and that worked well but it knackered the tub trug! It took several days, so I passed the time by listening to John Grisham audio books whilst I was doing it. One of my pals suggested I was burying bodies!

‘I filled the area with the concrete once it was ready and used a shovel to spread it around evenly. I used a straight piece of timber to compact the concrete and then I levelled it out, ensuring the corners were filled. I then left it to set for four or five days and it was ready to be built on once the greenhouse arrived.

‘I’m so pleased with the result. I think doing it myself was just a great feeling. The cost of the materials for the base was just over £100. I bought a recycled plastic rug for the floor, because I thought it looked a bit like a conservatory floor.’

Tom Church, Co-Founder of the money-saving Black Friday app, said: ‘Hilary has done a great job building her own concrete greenhouse base - she has saved on professional labour costs by doing it herself and pocketed £900 in the process!

‘Here are my top tips for creating a durable cement greenhouse base.

‘Excavate an area at least 100mm deep, depending on the soil type. This will ensure the concrete has a consistent depth once it is laid.

‘Use a spirit level when you tamp the concrete. This will guarantee your base is even.

‘Cover the concrete with plastic sheeting if you’re working in hot weather. This will prevent it from drying out too quickly. Keep it on for at least 24 hours.

‘Use the correct safety equipment when mixing concrete. This includes long sleeved tops and trousers, gloves, boots and safety goggles. Concrete can cause serious injury!

‘Pour and level your concrete quickly. It will start ‘going off’ within a few hours of being mixed.’

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