The sun has finally got his hat on, which means it's time to break out the garden furniture, hose down the patio and prepare for a summer of al fresco living. Or is it?
A recent study shows that 40 per cent of Britons admit to having shabby and overgrown back gardens and 7.4 million of us are so ashamed of the state of our outdoor space that we never use it.
If this sounds familiar, it may be time for a garden makeover especially if you are stuck on the property ladder and short on space. Research conducted earlier this year reveals almost one in ten homeowners have been splashing out on their gardens because they can't afford to move house.
On average, UK householders spent £894 on outdoor furniture and decorations in the past year but if you are among the 10 per cent who consider a hot-tub a garden essential, turning your back yard into part of your home could cost considerably more.
These five money saving tips could help you makeover your garden - without digging yourself into a financial hole.
1. Start right
Plan what you want to do and cost it so you know how much you need to spend then work out how you're going to fund it. Buying on a whim may leave you forking out on lots of things you don't really need.
2. Quick fixes
It's amazing what a bit of elbow grease can achieve. If you don't already have one, hire a pressure washer to hose down your patio and decking, weed borders and cut the grass. If you're feeling adventurous, a mural is great fun and can transform a tired garden.
3. Get DIY-ing
Bring out your inner construction worker by creating a funky new fence or an outside room. A small, three-sided pavilion will give you somewhere to sit in inclement weather and is relatively easy to construct from old boards just make sure they are well-weathered so they don't buckle.
4. Be patient
Don't expect to get everything done in a couple of days part of the pleasure is watching plants develop over the years. Once you have the basics of your new garden, you can pick up bargains at the garden centre and in sales when you see them.
5. Know your budget
If you're already using a budget planner like Money Dashboard then make sure all your gardening purchases are categorised under the ‘Garden' tag. Most of the time this will happen automatically, and you'll be able to quickly and easily see how your gardening spend is affecting your finances overall.
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