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Have you had a garden DIY disaster?

Brits have been getting in touch to tell us about their garden disasters ahead of the summer months, and some of them are nothing short of downright dangerous!

Lockdown restrictions have eased, and summer is on the way, which means that many of us are looking to get our outdoor spaces and gardens in tip-top shape for the warmer months.

We all think that we know what we’re doing when it comes to DIY, but we suspected that some Brits might have bitten off more than they could chew when preparing their outdoor space for summer.

That’s why we launched a photo competition to discover some of the worst garden disasters in the UK, and plenty of you got in touch with photos of your failed DIY attempts.

The Winner…

Karen Sands has the distinguished honour of becoming our ‘Garden Disasters’ champion after her attempt at building some stairs from her patio door down into her back garden.

As much as we have to admire the effort, a walk down this set of steps looks far from appealing (or safe). By Karen’s own admission the steps are a ‘failure’ and show that some jobs are better left to the experts!

As the competition winner, Karen wins a £100 voucher that she can use to help rectify the problem – hopefully she’ll be able to get a safer set of steps erected.

She said: “So, the story behind these steps, these have only really been in place for just over a month. The reason behind this is we had decking located right at our back patio door (about 4m wide and 8m long), however during lockdown, like many, we decided that our garden was going to be our project for the next couple of years due to not going on holiday.

During the Easter holidays this year we were having a family BBQ, my hubby leaned towards the side of the decking and the side posting collapsed. Upon closer inspection of the decking, we realised that this wasn’t safe anymore, a lot of it was rotten, not salvageable and needed to come down. The problem was that when our house was originally built 15 year ago there were no steps built at the back of the house and it was built in a way that you came straight out onto the high decking. So as a result, we knew we would have to put some form of steps in.

We plan to build four church-style curved steps at the French door and side door where the decking was also, however due to the weather during April and May it has been too cold to set concrete, therefore as a temporary measure my hubby built these wooden, weird, and very creative looking steps, really so the dog can get out and I can get out to hang my washing!

“These have been in place for just over a month now, but I must stress these are not planned on being there long term, can you imagine especially with three kids! Hopefully when the better weather comes we will be able to lay the concrete steps properly and have them looking a lot better, but it’s definitely giving the neighbours something to talk about. They’ve recently moved in and must be thinking what on earth…?!

“The prize will come in so handy in buying the concrete and granite for sure, or even hiring the cement mixer. I never thought in a month of Sundays that our current wacky steps would win any prizes, but we will certainly be able to laugh about it for years!”.

Other ‘Garden Disasters’

Karen wasn’t the only Brit to have struggled with a bit of DIY though, as we received dozens more photos of failed attempted at outdoor renovations. These are just a few of our favourites…

Eirian Parr made a doomed attempt at re-painting areas of their home, and sadly didn’t get the results they were looking for. Amusingly, Eirian said that ‘it looks like Homer Simpson did it’ and we have to agree it’s not exactly blending in is it?


Colin Daniel took on a technical task when he tried to build his own patio. There was one problem though: the frame collapsed…! The damage has apparently been like this for some time, and expert help may be needed to rectify the problem in time for summer.


Karen Howden admits that she made a mess of her garden when she tried to clear some trees. She has some job on her hands to get this garden ready for relaxing in.


Installing a patio is a popular job, but Katherine Cook’s experience is a lesson on how not to do it.

She said that her DIY patio area has sunk, floods and, in her own words, ‘barely fits seating’. What a nightmare!


Questions You Should Ask Yourself to Avoid a Garden Disaster!

Before starting any garden task, it’s vital to have the right tools for the job! Here at SGS Engineering we have a large range of garden tools including lawn mowerspressure washershedge trimmers, and more.

We’d all like to avoid a garden disaster if possible, and there are some questions you should ask yourself before committing to a project. You may find that utilising an expert might be the smart thing to do after all.

  • Do you have enough experience? Many simple jobs are within the capabilities of the average person, but it makes sense to gradually build up to more difficult jobs as your experience and confidence grows. For example, if you have never undertaken a DIY project before, moving straight to a tricky task like installing a patio is probably not going to end well.
  • How much could this cost if it goes wrong? Sadly, we must prepare for the worst when embarking on some DIY projects. Painting a fence carries little risk, as you can always re-paint if you aren’t happy with the job. However, some bigger jobs could cost you hundreds or even thousands of pounds to correct if they go wrong.
  • Will doing this myself save me much money? Sometimes you may find that if you count the costs of materials and the time spent on a project, it may be as cost-efficient to pay for an expert to visit your home - particularly if you may need to later hire someone to fix the mess you made.

Dave Gordon, General Manager at SGS Engineering, says: “When it comes to DIY – whether indoors or outdoors – it’s best to start small, and ensure that you have the right tools and know-how.

“A disastrous DIY project could cost you a lot of money to fix and can be stressful too.

“Be sure that you feel comfortable before starting a DIY project, and if you think that the task may be beyond your skill set, consider contacting an expert that can complete the project for you or at least offer some friendly words of advice!”