How I built a heated pool for just £400: Don’t ditch all your junk… upcycle it into something you want to keep
- Upcycling involves turning worthless junk into something of value
- This can help consumers save money and develop new, practical skills
- Paddy Lennox spent £400 transforming a plastic pool into a luxury spa retreat
Some households might not be travelling much further than their garden this year, but by ‘upcycling’ you can transform yours into a place worthy of a staycation.
Upcycling is a modern craze that involves turning worthless junk into something of value. It is not just about saving money but also recycling and developing new practical skills.
Start now, say the experts, with a few simple projects and by the time summer arrives, you will be guaranteed a great garden-based staycation (weather permitting).
Cassie Fairy, who runs website My Thrifty Life, says: ‘Upcycling is the next step on from recycling – using old items to make something new and breathing fresh life into secondhand junk.
Making a splash: Upcycling enthusiast Paddy Lennox enjoys the fruits of his labour
‘Spending a summer at home can be an opportunity for a wide range of gardening projects – starting with outdoor furniture.’
Outdoor wooden furniture often dries, splits and falls apart with age. A couple of coats of teak oil at this time of year can turn something fit for the rubbish tip back to life. A litre of Liberon teak oil will cost you just over £10.
Alternatively, you can sand down tables and chairs and paint them pink, blue or green with a £20 pot of outside paint, such as Cuprinol Garden Shades.
If you are struggling to find furniture, then go indoors for pieces you may be thinking of discarding and use the same skills to get them garden ready.
You could even consider old bathroom furniture. With the aid of an angle grinder, a cast iron bathtub can be transformed into an outside sofa. Websites such as One Krieger Chick can provide inspiration.
Once you have the garden furniture sorted, you may want to lie back and reach for a drink – at which point you should consider an outside bar.
Upcycling website ManoMano provides a range of outside project ideas – everything from making swing chairs to building a drinks bar with planks of wood from a pallet.
The bar can be made from three wooden pallets, bought from auction websites such as eBay. They will cost as little as £2.50 each if you collect them in person.
Fairy says: ‘The DIY bar is perfect for a small get-together and should add a touch of glamour to your garden.
‘Mind you, it is not just about the finished product, but also having lots of fun constructing it – it only took me a day.’
A HEATED POOL FOR JUST £400
A luxury heated swimming pool in the garden is not just the preserve of the super rich. Just ask Paddy Lennox.
Upcycling enthusiast Paddy spent just £400 transforming an unwanted 15sq ft metal frame plastic pool into a luxury spa retreat.
It involved using a £200 second-hand wood burner to heat water pumped to the pool via central heating pipes that he dug under the ground.
Water passes through a cylinder that gets heated by the burner.
The 48-year-old comedian, from Bishop’s Stortford in Hertfordshire, says: ‘Taking inspiration from the Romans, I decided that an old wood burner would create a great focal point under a gazebo to keep the family warm on long summer nights – and during the daytime it could be used to heat the pool.’
Paddy adds: ‘A key part of the rewards of upcycling is being creative with your ideas – and building something original that’s not found in any shop.’
Owner of the Laughing Bishops Comedy Club, Paddy admits it took a day of planning followed by a couple of weekends digging to install the pool.
The central heating pump and piping cost £200 so the total bill including wood burner was about £400.
Details on building swimming pools and heating tubs with a wood burner can be found on websites such as Instructables, wikiHow and YouTube.
Further help and inspiration is available from websites such as wikiHow and YouTube, which also have other project ideas – from hammocks to pergolas.
For those keen on a barbecue, upcycling can transform an old washing machine drum into an ‘ugly drum smoker’ using instructions on YouTube.
The websites of Gardeners’ World and DIY Doctor provide guidance on building a brick barbecue. These typically re quire at least one hundred bricks.
Trading websites such as Gumtree give details of where you might pick these bricks up for free in exchange for taking them away.
Otherwise budget at least £75 to buy new bricks – plus a further £20 for sand and cement rendering.
The garden shed can also be turned into an idyllic retreat if a new home for the garden tools can be found.
Seek inspiration and practical guidance by visiting websites such as WhatShed, DIY Doctor and The Shed Builder. They also provide plans for constructing a garden gazebo.
Joel Bird, author of The Book Of Shed, says: ‘You can build a shed without planning permission within basic guidelines. The height must be no more than 2.5 metres at the eaves and the total area taken up not more than half the garden space.’
You can turn a shed into a fabulous summer space for all the family to enjoy. But do not skimp on the preparation – which should include a four-inch concrete foundation.
Building materials can be picked up from trading websites if you want to use recycled items – the likes of Freecycle UK, eBay, Etsy and Gumtree.
Camping out in the garden is possible via the purchase of a pop-up tent costing from £30.
But in the spirit of recycling a second-hand tent will cost less. Even better, ask family and friends if you can borrow their camping equipment. A £10 inflatable airbed and duvets add a touch of luxury.