Being Creative And Frugal, How We Transformed Our Outdoor Space

Having a comfortable and productive working space is paramount when working from home and for years I’ve wanted an outdoor space where I could work and soak up some much needed vitamin D. During 2020 like most people, we spent a lot of time in the garden transforming our outdoor space.

Olive dug out and created a bigger pond,
David built a BBQ and outdoor smoker oven,
I grew lots of flowers and veggies.
But our seating area didn’t work for us anymore the Bistro table blocked the backdoor and we had furniture and trees all over the place.  Last summer we decided to create a snug area in the garden directly outside the backdoor which we could use to work, eat and chill in.

Meanwhile, our neighbours were planning on getting a purpose-built garden room constructed which certainly spurred us on to tackle our outdoor DIY endeavours thinking about all the possibilities. Everyone seems to be talking about home offices and garden gyms, I think being forced to stay at home has inspired us to do more with our outdoor space. Some of the buildings look amazing (example).

Being Creative And Frugal, How We Transformed Our Outdoor Space

Being Creative And Frugal, How We Transformed Our Outdoor Space

You can take a man out of Greece, but you can’t take the Greek out of the man. Μπορείς να βγάλεις έναν άντρα από την Ελλάδα, αλλά δεν μπορείς να βγάλεις τον Έλληνα από τον άνθρωπο. In proper make do and mend Greek style David and I (OK mostly David) built two garden benches using both the space we had and the resources available by salvaging, reclaiming, and upcycling discarded items.  David is a hoarder! He literally cannot bear waste and is forever “rescuing” items with no purpose or idea in mind but they always turn into something wonderful. It’s no joke that we literally walked around the garden picking up “things” to use and I appreciate this isn’t the norm!

Equipment and Materials 

Our benches were created using the following;

  • A railway sleeper,
  • Farrow and Ball broken advertising A-frame,
  • Basic 2×4 timbers from a conservatory
  • Same signs from the carboot and tip.

working outdoor space

Planning Your Frugal Garden

The planning stage is really important, take the time to measure carefully and cut your materials to perfectly fit whatever outdoor space you have available.  Both of the benches are propped up on the patio area (which was built from some composite decking offcuts) meaning they are quite low but also means the benches are utilising all of the area as they were built onto the space available. It did take a bit of adjusting to make the back slope of the seats comfortable, again one of the perks of making your own you have control over these aspects.

Our benches aren’t identical for a few reasons

  1. They aren’t flat-pack from IKEA 😉
  2. The Farrow and Ball bench uses the fence to help prop it up the sign one is freestanding.
  3. The Farrow and Ball bench was created using a railway sleeper which gives it that box look.
  4. We like to keep things quirky!

It took a couple of days to build the benches and they pretty much cost us nothing but that time. There’s nothing better than sitting outside in the early evening, radio on, wrapped in a throw with a glass of wine!

A note on good builders merchants

If you’re looking for materials for a new project in your home, whether you’re looking to renovate your garden, your kitchen or your bathroom, be sure to look around for a quality, reliable builders merchant. Builder Depot, for example, is really well-regarded, they only provide the best and they have thousands of products – usually on offer! Check out their site and read their buying guides to learn more.

outdoor space with olive

Photo Credit: Chris Balcombe

Featured in The Sun newspaper

Our benches were featured in The Sun newspaper in an article YOU’LL DIG THIS Tips and tricks to transform outdoor spaces for less – or nothing at all.  We had a wonderful photographer come and take some lovely snaps and Olive was beside herself that she made it into the actual newspaper and a great story to come back from the school holidays with! This opportunity arose after I replied to a Twitter #journorequest so it’s worth checking them regularly!

Have you done anything creative in your garden? 

get blog affiliate

Found this useful wondering how you can show me your appreciation? Well, there are some ways you can say thanks and support my website: ➡

Turning Small Spaces into an Office

Turning Small Spaces into an Office View Post