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Thrifty Woman Saves £950 Turning Rotting Decking Into Tranquil Gazebo

ImogenGroome
June 15, 2021, 3:00 PM
  • Louise, 48, needed to replace her rotting decking
  • She saved on professional costs by installing a gazebo herself
  • Overall she has saved an estimated £950 with the DIY build

Increasingly hot weather every summer means plenty of Brits want to create the perfect outdoor space - and a popular choice is a gazebo. However, these constructions can quickly become expensive if you bring in a professional to install it.

One thrifty woman has managed to bypass these issues by creating a huge wooden gazebo herself. Louise Tunstall, 48, a service delivery manager for OCR who is from Cambridge, embarked on the project with her husband after noticing a problem with her decking.

“We already had some raised decking in a corner of our garden which we used for BBQ’s and just chilling, but over the past 12 years it had started to look tired and worn,'' she told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk.

“When we started to look at repairing it, the wooden frame underneath was rotten, so we took advantage of not going on holiday in 2020 (due to COVID) and used that money to redesign the whole corner of the garden. I loved it!

“I tried to make the best use of space and remove as few plants as possible. I wanted the design to blend into the garden and look like it has always been there. That corner also gets the sun later in the afternoon and early evening, so that was also in the back of my mind.”

Sourcing supplies was first on the agenda. Louise picked up fence panels and posts from Earith Timber, decking boards and bollards online and sleepers from UK Timber for a total of £660. Next up was the lighting and electrics, which comprised armoured cabling, a junction box, a slot light and bulbs for £400.

At Dunelm, Louise picked up cushions, shelving and a ladder stand for £100, before heading to Bedfordshire Garden Buildings for their gazebo kit priced at £1400. The plants were sourced from B&Q, the local market and Dobbies for a total of £100, and that’s where the expenses ended. ‘I had some bits already, such as the seating, and we had compost from our allotment. The labour costs when installing the electrics was free, as my husband is an electrician.’

Overall, the project took three months to complete. “Getting hold of materials during lockdown was an interesting challenge, especially as wood was in short supply, but we managed to find everything we needed in the end. While we sourced equipment, I got stuck into preparation and planning - my particular area of interest!

“There was a lot of clearing out and trips to the rubbish tip as we got rid of the rotting decking. We worked on the fence, replacing four damaged panels and concreting in 20 new posts to support the new decking. This was hard work as the ground was very hard and we had to remove a lot of old posts which had been concreted in.

“Laying down the decking was a project in itself, as the total area is 23 metres squared! A lot of digging and manual work was also required to build the new wooden frame of the gazebo using the flat pack kit. This was probably the hardest part as the instructions could have been better!

“The electrics involved drilling in the holes for the lighting and cabling. My husband then stepped in to lay in the electrical cables and connect these back to the distribution board. I also replaced the bollard light bulbs with LED lighting.

“We landscaped the surrounding area with sleepers, designing and cutting them where needed to make each one individual. The soil was transported from the allotment to the garden, at which point I was able to do my favourite part - the planting!

“Finally we added in the soft furnishings and finishing touches. Overall it took a lot of effort but we love the end result. The gazebo gives us privacy and shelter so we can use it all year round, and the area is now really unique. I’m pleased with how it blends into the existing garden.

“I’m happy I managed to do it myself, as this is a career I’d like to get into more, and I wanted the challenge - renovating property and gardens is a real passion of mine.”

Tom Church, Co-Founder of LatestDeals.co.uk, said: “Louise and her husband have completed a truly impressive project. This gazebo could have been installed by any professional and it just goes to show what you can achieve when you put your mind to it.

“The savings on this makeover have clearly been massive. The average price for a professional gazebo installation of this size is £400 or more plus labour, and an electrician will typically charge around £40-50 an hour.

“As Louise provided seats she already owned, this has also saved a lot of money, as seating of this kind comes in at around £500 on average. Overall it’s safe to say Louise has saved at least £950 by completing this project herself!”

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