Angelika Garlej managed to transform an unloved courtyard into a relaxing BBQ space using online and high street bargains. (Latestdeals.co.uk)

While we may aspire to create a garden of dreams, the cost of a makeover can put many off taking on the project. 

But one woman has provided proof that you can create a luxe look on a budget after she totally transformed her bland and unwelcoming courtyard into a chic BBQ area using bargain charity shop and high street finds. 

Angelika Garlej, 26, from Torquay, wanted to create a space for relaxing and hosting, but the part of the garden she hoped to use was cluttered and unloved. 

“I have quite a large garden but most of it is covered in lawn,” she told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk. 

“I wanted to make an area where I can enjoy sunny days or eat my lunch. A place where I can sit down, read a book or invite a few friends for a BBQ and this outside corner was just a perfect place for it.” 

Read more: Bland garden transformed into colourful retreat with £2 online bargains



Garlej, a sales assistant and part-time YouTuber at Simply By A, first set about cleaning and decluttering the area, removing the random chairs, old paints, weights and odd flowerpots with dead flowers in them.

‘I got started with removing all the rubbish and clutter from this space. Using a borrowed pressure washer I cleaned all the walls and the floor,” she says.  

“Next, even though this house was painted last year I wanted to refresh it a little bit and I gave it another coat of white paint.”


The space before was bland and unloved. (Latestdeals.co.uk)

Garlej was then able to better visualise what she wanted to do with the space. 

“Pinterest is my biggest source of inspiration when it comes to designing new spaces,” she explains. “With this outside corner I was mainly focused on making it nice and cosy on a low budget. All I really wanted was to have a table, chairs and plants – so very minimalistic.”

Read more: Savvy student furnishes entire house for nothing, saving herself thousands


Garlej turned to plants to add colour and interest to the space. (Latestdeals.co.uk)

To achieve the look she wanted while keeping costs low, Garlej set about sourcing supplies at bargain prices. 

“I got the outside table and chairs for £35 in IKEA and placed some cushions on them, which has made them super comfortable,” she explains. 

“I got most of the decorations, such as vases, pots and lanterns, from charity shops. I’m a big fan of charity shops and car boot sales and always look for some unique pieces there.”

But the DIY-er is particularly happy with the outside lighting. 

“I bought it on eBay for only £15,” she says. “They are solar powered lights in the shape of small light bulbs. They come on automatically when it is dark, creating a really romantic mood.”


The space is now a welcoming retreat. (Latestdeals.co.uk)

Poundland also became a go-to for the project.

“This year Poundland had such a good selection of garden products,” she explains. “All my wall baskets, the trellis and my new plants came from there. They only cost between £1 and £3 each so it were real bargains.”

Watch: Money-saving garden hacks. 

As Garlej and her partner have been renovating the rest of their house, they had already purchased the power tools they would need to transform the space. 

“It was a big expense at first, but because we are doing a lot of the work ourselves it was a good and necessary purchase,” she explains. 

“I drilled holes in two opposite walls where later I screwed the hooks to be able to hang my fairy lights. I really wanted to add some details on the plain walls so I attached the wooden trellis, wall baskets and then planted flowers to bring more colour to the whole space,” she continued. 

“Last but not least I started decorating, then took all the outside furniture and placed it in the spot where it fit best.”

Read more: A good garden can add over £50,000 to home value- here’s how to upgrade yours

Garlej was able to create a welcoming space on a budget. (Latestdeals.co.uk)

Garlej was able to create a welcoming space on a budget. (Latestdeals.co.uk)

The finishing touches involved decorating the shelves with candles, lanterns and gardening accessories.

While the couple plan on doing more work to the floor in the future, Garlej decided to cover the area with straw mats in order to give the space a cosy feel.

“I enjoyed the whole process,” she says. “It was a really quick makeover without any difficulties along the way. When it comes to all the decorations and jobs I’ve done I’m pretty happy with it so far. 

“Of course I could invest more money to buy a better quality outdoor furniture set but, considering the length of the British summer and the amount of time I’ll be using this space, I think what I have now is absolutely enough for me.”


The lighting helps makes the space a romantic place to relax. (Latestdeals.co.uk)

Now that the makeover is complete, Garlej wants to encourage others to tackle their own garden projects.

“My partner and I are big DIY enthusiasts and we always try to do jobs ourselves,” she explains. “He is also an experienced builder so I can always ask him for help or advice. Having a DIY YouTube channel means I like to do most of the projects myself to inspire people and also show them that ‘if I can do it, you can do it too’.”

Commenting on the impressive transformation Tom Church, co-founder of LatestDeals.co.uk, said: “I love Garlej’s simple yet effective makeover. It proves that sometimes all you need to transform a space is a lick of paint and some bargain decor. No doubt she will enjoy a fab summer in this brand new space!”

Watch: Woman transforms bargain find from Facebook Marketplace into adorable toddler bed. 

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