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Hilary Hart, 58, from Dundee told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk managed to install her own greenhouse base, saving her thousands. The NHS occupational therapist, who has three children aged 33, 30 and 27, said she had ordered a new greenhouse because the one she had was almost 40 years old and the door had blown off. She had temporarily fashioned her own door from a shower curtain weighed down with glass beads but she found it didn’t keep the heat in.

She decided enough was enough and ordered a greenhouse online for £750.

The delivery time for the greenhouse was 18 weeks which meant she had plenty of time to sort out the base.

However, she ran into obstacles from the offset.

She said: “I really struggled to get someone to quote, as a lot of contractors said they were busy doing jobs over the pandemic.

“I did get one professional who came out and quoted £1000 for a greenhouse base and installation – a lot more than the cost of the greenhouse in the first place!”

The professional said it would be a “difficult job” as it was such a “tight space”.

So rather than spending £1000 on the base or being “coerced” into moving the greenhouse elsewhere, Hilary decided to give it a go herself.

To learn how to make concrete and lay a greenhouse base, she watched lots of YouTube videos.

This is when Hilary faced yet another challenge to her project.

She said: “I didn’t realise that there was a cement shortage until I had dug a big hole in the garden…

“Online delivery prices were extortionate, so I asked everyone I knew if they had any idea where I could get some.”

Luckily, she managed to source some from a builders yard 20 miles away.

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She picked up three bags of cement from Travis & Perkins in Arbroath for £17.50, then moved on to B&Q for the rest of my supplies.

She bought three bags of sharp sand for £21 and 20 bags of gravel for £53.

She added: “I also got a plastering trowel for £9 and measuring jugs for £3.50.

“It did take a few journeys, especially for the sand, as I only have a wee Skoda.”

After marking out the area and excavating it, she removed all the debris and compacted it with a roller.

She then laid out the metal base frame using parts she already had and levelled it out with a spirit level.

Hilary then mixed the concrete using a standard mix of one part cement and five parts ballast (sand and gravel).

She said preparing and laying the foundation was “really hard work”.

She filled the area with the concrete once it was ready and used a shovel to spread it around evenly.

The DIYer used a straight piece of timber to compact the concrete and then levelled it out, making sure the corners were filled.

She then left it to set for four to five days.

In total, the base cost just over £100.

She bought a recycled plastic rug for the floor, because she thought it looked a bit like “a conservatory floor”.

Tom Church, Co-Founder of the money-saving Black Friday app, said: “Hilary has done a great job building her own concrete greenhouse base – she has saved on professional labour costs by doing it herself and pocketed £900 in the process!

“Here are my top tips for creating a durable cement greenhouse base.

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“Excavate an area at least 100mm deep, depending on the soil type.

“This will ensure the concrete has a consistent depth once it is laid.

“Use a spirit level when you tamp the concrete. This will guarantee your base is even.

“Cover the concrete with plastic sheeting if you’re working in hot weather. This will prevent it from drying out too quickly. Keep it on for at least 24 hours.

“Use the correct safety equipment when mixing concrete. This includes long sleeved tops and trousers, gloves, boots and safety goggles. Concrete can cause serious injury!

“Pour and level your concrete quickly. It will start ‘going off’ within a few hours of being mixed.”

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