Savvy mother transforms her courtyard into a stylish patio for £116

Savvy mother transforms her tired-looking courtyard into a stylish bohemian-inspired patio for £116 – using a stencil brush from Amazon and paint from B&Q

  • Nicola French, 38, from London, revealed how she single-handedly created patio
  • She used a £37 stencil and £3.50 stencil brush to complete the tile effect
  • Told how it only took three days and cost £116 to overhaul her empty courtyard 

A savvy mother-of-two has revealed how she transformed her empty courtyard into a stylish boho-chic patio.  

Nicola French, 38, from London, told that she created the ‘relaxing outdoor space’ for only £116 using a stencil and paint – and completed the whole project by hand. 

The single mother, who works as a lunch supervisor at a special needs school, said she’d always liked the bohemian and Moroccan style and used lockdown to build a patio that would combine the two. 

She added that using a £37 stencil and a £3.50 stencil brush took three days and was much more affordable than buying new tiles. 

Nicola French, 38, from London, told how she created the ‘relaxing outdoor space’ for only £116 using a stencil – and completed the whole project by hand (the courtyard before) 

The patio now, with bohemian and Moroccan-inspired influences. Nicola said she had always liked the two styles and wanted to bring them together 

‘I’ve always been into the boho-chic and Moroccan style so I thought I would try and combine the two,’ she explained.  

‘The first thing I did was jet wash the patio, removing any dirt and letting it dry. 

‘Then by hand, using a large paintbrush and the white masonry paint, I painted the patio tiles, waited for that to dry, applied a second coat then placed the stencil at my starting place.’ 

Nicola went on to highlight the importance of taping the stencil using masking tape to help hold it in place – and says she started from the corner of her alleyway. 

‘Taking a little of the black masonry paint, a piece of cardboard to remove any excess paint from the stencil brush and a stencil brush in a stabbing motion, I applied the paint to the stencil and filled in the pattern, then removed the stencil,’ she continued.  

‘I matched up the pattern from my stencil onto the next tile and repeated the process. 

She advised making sure the stencil brush was touch dry in order to avoid any paint bleed.  

‘Once completed, and when the patio is dry, apply a clear paint sealant using a paintbrush to seal the paint and protect it from wear and tear,’ she added. 

The DIY-wiz used white and black masonry paint and used the stencil and the brush to create the pattern  

It took three days of painstaking work to complete the patio’s floor. Nicola also used a patio sealer bought for £30 on eBay 

The mother-of-two decorated the corner of the patio with a selection of flowers and sculptures 

Nicola had been buying and storing furniture in prevision of her courtyard refurbishment (pictured)

Nicola told how she ordered all of her materials online during lockdown.  

What materials did Nicola use? 

– White and black Sandtex masonry paint from B&Q – £46 

– The stencil from Dizzy Duck Designs – £37

– Stencil Brush from Amazon – £3.50

– Patio sealer from eBay –  £30 

– Furniture: bought over time

‘The paint brand is Sandtex, but you can use any masonry paint, and it cost £46 for both black and white paint from B&Q,’ she said. 

‘The stencil was £37 from Dizzy Duck Designs, the stencil brush was £3.50 from Amazon and the patio sealer was £30 from eBay. 

‘I had the outdoor furniture from Next, cushions from Etsy, buddhas from Wayfair and table lamp from eBay already as I have been building up the collection over time. 

‘For a brand new patio, it worked out at £116 – way more affordable than new tiles.

Nicola added she was delighted with her patio’s stunning transformation – and said that despite the challenges of the project, she thoroughly enjoyed the process. 

‘As a family, we do have some challenges,’ Nicola added. 

‘My son has severe autism. I also have a daughter and I’m a single parent, so the garden really has helped provide a lovely space we can all enjoy. 

A closer look at Nicola’s professional looking patio floor. The stencil pattern makes it look like tiles 

Nicola said she and her two children loved the ‘relaxing outdoor space.’ Nicola added the project had kept her sane during lockdown 

Nicola furnished with two round outdoors sofa and items from several online stores collected over time 

She said she took on the project on her own, and that it helped her ‘stay sane during the lockdown, just having something to work on and make beautiful in a time of uncertainty.’ 

‘The painting and stencilling took three days, but that was single-handed – if you can get other people to help, it would obviously be a quicker process,’ she added.   

‘I’ve really enjoyed every moment. Yes, it was backbreaking work but it was so worth it. The kids and I love it! 

‘Anybody could create something like this too – you don’t have to be DIY- minded! Just brave.’

Tom Church, co-founder of, commented: ‘Nicola’s patio looks like it has walked straight off the pages of an interiors magazine – it’s amazing to think it cost her just £116. 

‘There are loads of online tutorials on YouTube and Instagram for copying this kind of look – as Nicola says, you don’t need to be a pro at DIY: just be brave and take the time to give it a go.’

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