Mum-of-three on furlough transformed her backyard for just over £100

Although lockdown measures are changing next month, it’s likely you’ll still be spending a lot of time in your backyard as life won’t return to normality just yet.

And if you’re thinking of innovative ways to revamp your space, then one mum-of-three and grandmother-of-two has shown how you can get creative with just paint and tile stencils.

Dawn Burton, 54, decided to totally overhaul her 117-year-old yard when she was furloughed due to coronavirus.

The office administrator spent just £123 on materials and transformed took her yard from a drab space to a stunning Pinterest-worthy feature.

Dawn told money-saving community : “I have always followed various home accounts on Instagram and love nothing more than to look at various images online for decorating ideas and DIY.

“I wanted my garden to look different and I had noticed a few people who were stencilling paths and patios.

How the Victorian-style stencils work
(Image: Dawn Burton)

“I wanted to take the inside outside and at the same time create a space that anyone would love to sit in.

“Lockdown came and for the first couple of weeks I was just baking nearly everyday to keep myself occupied. The weather became brighter and warmer and I thought ‘right, now is the time to transform my 117-year-old yard’.”

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For Dawn, being on furlough was the ideal opportunity for an intricate project.

“I told my family I wanted to transform my yard, but didn’t go into detail as I wanted to surprise them,” she said.

“I also told a few close friends and shared my ideas with them, and they inspired me to just go for it – they couldn’t have been more supportive throughout the whole process.”

The fiddly project half complete
(Image: Dawn Burton)

Dawn used two five litre tins of smooth masonry paint, one black and one white, from BQ and The Range, which cost £39.98.

She then bought one 750ml tin of Frenchic Al Fresco Dusky Blush from her local stockist Drab to Fab by Janey Home Interiors for £17.95.

Dawn also used Thompsons Patio Driveway Sealer from Screwfix for £27.99, one Victorian tile stencil from for £34.99 plus postage, one stipple brush from BQ for £1.90, and also various makeup and children’s paintbrushes from around the house.

The total cost of all the materials was £122.81.

Dawn’s backyard before lockdown
(Image: Dawn Burton)

Dawn explained: “To prep, I jet washed the walls and floor. I painted the walls using the smooth black and white masonry paint and gave the floor two coats of smooth black masonry paint.

“I then took the edging stencil and went around the wall and across the middle of the yard, stippling the smooth white masonry paint with a brush.

“Once the edging was in place, I measured across the yard to find the top centre point.

“I always remembered the guy who laid my flooring in my kitchen saying ‘you start in the middle and work your way out’.

“I then measured across the yard in between the two edging stencilled tiles and immediately under the top stencilled edging tile to find the centre point. I marked this with chalk.

The total cost of all the materials was £122.81
(Image: Dawn Burton)

“I then placed the top centre point of the main stencil on the middle marked point on the floor.

“I stencilled that tile using the white masonry paint and the Frenchic Al Fresco Dusky Blush, and again stippled this with the brush.

“After stencilling that tile, I did one either side, all the way down, which left the edges on both sides.

“I then went back up to the top right and stencilled all the way down following the pattern, and the same for the left.

“Finally I did the remainder at the bottom. After letting it dry for 24 hours, I then applied the patio sealer with a roller on a long handle and went around the edges with a brush.”

Dawn said that her top tip is to plan what you want to do and draw a rough sketch on paper. Then measure and work out what size stencil is best suited for the job.

She added: “I couldn’t be happier or more proud of what I’ve achieved, especially being the first time I have attempted stencilling.

“I wanted to show and inspire people that anyone can achieve something if they really want to do it. I did!”

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