Before and after: see how a smart gardener saved £1000s on this country garden-inspired makeover

This beautiful makeover proves you don't always need to get the professionals in to create a stunning garden

garden courtyard with string furniture
(Image credit: Rebecca Vincze)

Instead of opting for an expensive landscape gardener, a smart gardener saved thousands by giving her run-down small backyard a country-style garden makeover herself.

If you are looking for small garden ideas, look no further than this transformation. Rebecca Vincze from Halesowen in central England, moved into her new home in 2018. It was her first garden after years of living in an apartment. 

'The property is a terraced house in Halesowen situated on the main road so I wanted to make the garden something that I could use as a space to escape but also have a country feel,' she explains.

'The garden is split into three levels, and when I moved in the top-level was bare and what should have been a lawned area was just overgrown with weeds. Both of the other levels were slabbed and very dull and the fencing was broken and in need of replacing.'

Rebecca looked into hiring a landscape gardener, however, after receiving quotes of between £7k to £9k for the work, she decided to have a go at doing it herself. So with the help of her Mom, she started sourcing materials to transform her garden on a £3,500 budget.

Before

before

(Image credit: Rebecca Vincze)

Rebecca wanted to transform the lower level of the garden into a place she could relax with a cup of tea in the morning. It already had a small flowerbed filled with mature flowers, but the old brick wall needed to be replaced. 

'The wall wasn't stable so I decided to remove the wall and replace with wooden log roll panels, this gave a softer finish and would complement the gravel that I was going to add on top of the slabs,' explains Rebecca.

After

country garden with string chairs

(Image credit: Rebecca Vincze)

She painted them with Cuprinol paint in Golden oak. She then covered the slabs with gravel. 'I had the small gravel instead of the larger gravel just to give a softer effect and the colour was golden,' she adds.

To finish the area she painted the wall with Sandtex masonry paint in ivory to freshen up the original paint. She then planted a wisteria which would add an additional focal point, and give a country feel to the space. Our guide on how to grow wisteria is packed with useful tips if you'd like to add one to your space too. 

Before

before

(Image credit: Rebecca Vincze)

For the middle level, Rebecca wanted to transform it into a place she could entertain. She started by giving the old patio a makeover by covering it with decking tiles instead.

'I was originally wanting to have the area decked but this didn't fit in with the budget so I sourced companies that offer an alternative but with the same look,' she says.

Rebecca opted for some decking tiles from Webbs in Hagley. By using decking tiles she could lay them on top of the slabs, saving her from having to hire a skip to get rid of them. 

Take a look at our decking ideas for more inspiration.

After

garden courtyard with pineapple cushions

(Image credit: Rebecca Vincze)

'To make sure they lay flat and even, I lifted and leveled the original slabs and I also put a membrane under them to stop any weeds. I painted them in the same finish as the lower level with Cuprinol Golden oak.'

To finish she added solar spotlights to the area as clever outdoor lighting ideas for the evening. She also added faux ivy trellis along the walls with string solar bulb lights as the final flourish. The furniture came from a  company called SKLUM and was in the sale for £300.

Before

before

(Image credit: Rebecca Vincze)

'The upper level was the hardest area,' confesses Rebecca. 'This was very overgrown and even though it was lawned the lawn was full of weeds.' 

Keen to include some low-maintenance garden ideas in the space, Rebecca decided to remove the lawn completely. Instead, she decided to go for a country feel and use flowers and a neat new fence.

After

multi-level garden

(Image credit: Rebecca Vincze)

'Prior to planting I had the fence replaced. The fence was the most expensive part of the project, I wanted something that would last the test of time so thought that I would invest more of the budget into this. I also wanted the fencing to match all the way around the garden so required 13 fence panels and also new gravel boards in some areas.'

country-style garden

(Image credit: Rebecca Vincze)

The fence and installations cost just shy of £1,900 but came with a 10-year guarantee so was worth the money. Once the fence was in place, Rebecca filled the space with perennials that would come up every year and suit the cottage garden ideas she was so keen to create. 

'I also wanted to have something for the birds so decided to circle an area in the middle where I continued the look from the bottom sections and used log role and gravel to help continue the flow.'

The total transformation actually came in under budget at around £3,200. It just goes to show what a little hard work and DIY can save you a lot. 

Rebecca Knight
Rebecca Knight

As the News Editor on Gardeningetc, Rebecca covers everything from the common mistake your making when pruning your roses, to handy tips about how to keep your houseplants alive. She has been covering all things gardening for two years across Homes & Gardens and Ideal Home. There isn't a single gardening trend that passes without her knowing about it. 


She's currently the proud owner of a thriving container garden on her small city balcony and a jungle of houseplants. Small gardens and container plants are her specialties.