The Easter weekend is upon us and many homeowners’ thoughts are turning towards brightening up the garden, making a few improvements around the house and generally getting ready for spring and summer.
And it’s surprising just what you can achieve in four days. So if you’re stuck for inspiration, or just fancy doing something different this weekend, be inspired by these cracking ideas for an easy home or garden makeover over the Bank Holiday weekend.
Build that shed
Everyone deserves a shed. But many people (let’s face it, we’re mainly looking at the men here) have to lead their lives without a wooden haven in which to craft, plot, hide and generally make their own. If you are one of the nation’s shedless unfortunates, fear not. Help is at hand. Here’s a quick guide to constructing your own shed before the last Easter egg has been demolished.
What you’ll need: 2 people and a prop or 3 people. Shed (obviously). You can buy these flat packed from those slightly bigger DIY sheds. Make sure all those essentials such as felt nails are included! Toolwise, you’ll need: A power drill with driver function or an electric screwdriver, claw hammer, club hammer, spirit level, retractable knife, tape measure, builder’s square, straight edge, pencil. Don’t forget a good pair of safety gloves.
How to do it: The shed should some with clear instructions and it’s usually a relatively simple matter of attaching the four sides together, then adding the roof panel-by-panel. We would recommend using a work platform for the last step if you can for safety’s sake. If you are laying a concrete base, you’ll need to make sure this is done at least a day before. Find out how to do this here.
Time required: Depends on size, but a small 6x 4 shed will take 1-2 days to build. A larger 12 x 8 shed with a concrete foundation will take 2 – 3 days.
Cost: Sheds range from £200 to £1000+ for the VIP model. If you find a local handyman to do it for you, expect to pay around £600 for them to build a small shed or £1200 for a large one (both estimates are labour only).
Raise your gardening game
Raised beds are the growing space of choice for the professional gardener. And for very good reason. They don’t just keep weeds away from your garden soil, prevent compaction and provide excellent drainage. They also help keep the soil temperature higher which encourages growth. Plus, the extra height means weeding and planting is lots easier as there’s lots less distance to bend. Here’s how to raise the bar in your garden and build your beds over one weekend. Thanks to the RHS for info.
What you’ll need: Garden lines and tape to measure out. Saw, drill, woodscrews, corner posts/stakes and mallet. Planks of wood to build beds (reclaimed wood is ideal for this). These only need to be 10-20cm tall. Top soil to fill the beds, wheelbarrow, shovels and rakes.
Time required: It’s a good job to do over two days. Build on one day, then fill and level on day two.
Cost: All depends on the size and depth of your raised beds. Use reclaimed wood or scrap and find your own topsoil and compost and it will be virtually free. Use finest timber and buy topsoil and it will work out a lot more. Topsoil and compost may well be your biggest cost. A raised bed 3m x 1.2m x 30cm deep (right for most root crops) will need around a tonne of topsoil which will cost from around £50, so be sure to factor this in. As a rough guide, creating two beds with a total size of 4m x 1.5m should cost between £200 and £700 depending on your region and the materials used. Or you could always find a good local gardener to build them and save yourself the trouble.
How to do it: Mark out the area of your raised bed. A size between 120 and 150cm wide makes it easy for everyone to reach the middle. Don’t forget to make pathways wide enough for a wheelbarrow.
Clear the site of existing vegetation. Mark out the beds with stakes and string. Put in retaining stakes (5 x 5cm or 2 x 2in timber is ideal) at the corners and then at every 1.5m (5ft). Attach the sides to the retaining stakes with nails or screws. Fill your raised beds with topsoil or garden compost. Get planting!
Let there be light
As the nights get longer, we like to spend more time outside and what better time than now to consider illuminating your outdoor space? With so much to choose from, whether battery-powered, mains or solar, it’s easy to light up paths or patios in a style that suits your outdoor space.
What you’ll need: Lights (of course). Solar lights don’t need wires as all the energy is stored in a battery. So your list of items will depend on what power source you choose. You’ll need fixings and a good drill for all of them, and outdoor cable for mains powered lights.
Time required: One day should be enough to bring light into your garden.
Cost: Solar post lights cost from about £3 with a cheap mains porch light as little as £8. Some modern post lights can add up to lots more and set you back upwards of £100.
How to do it: The same with battery lights. If you’re fitting mains lights, you’ll need cable and a good knowledge of how to install electrical fittings. Better still, find a local electrician to do this for you.
Brighten up your bathroom
Epoxy resin floors are really on-trend right now. They open up a wonderful world of visual possibilities that can transform any bathroom room incredible patterns, textures and images with a 3D effect that makes the floor the focus. To do this properly, you’ll need a flooring professional and a decent budget. But why not try the next best thing and install a photographic mural of your favourite picture or artwork?
What you’ll need: Flat surface. Wall art ordered from online supplier.
How to do it: This is easy. Just take off the backing and apply the self-adhesive artwork to your wall.
Time required: An hour or two, depending on preparation and size of mural.
Cost: All depends on the size of the mural. For a classic 3m x 4m high resolution beach or outer space scene, you’ll be looking a cool £1000. Smaller designs cost a lot less and start at around £30.