Green-fingered homeowners spent more time renovating their gardens than any room in the house during lockdown

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 2:18 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th March 2021, 2:18 pm

A poll of 2,000 homeowners found 86 per cent have conducted some form of DIY after a year of coronavirus restrictions increased the time spent at home.

And of those, more than half (56 per cent) did so in order to adapt to the pandemic – including 14 per cent adding a home office.

While 46 per cent completed some form of DIY in their garden area, 36 per cent updated the living room.

The kitchen was refreshed by 31 per cent, while homeowners were more likely to spruce up their main bathroom (25 per cent) than their own bedrooms (24 per cent).

Reason for projects

Reasons for DIY projects included homeowners ticking jobs off their to-do list (41 per cent), to improve wellbeing (15 per cent) and to take their minds off the pandemic (17 per cent).

A further 13 per cent simply wanted to feel ‘in control’ while in the middle of a pandemic and 23 per cent felt a sense of achievement by completing DIY jobs.

Other tasks over the last year included people growing their own vegetables (13 per cent) and building more storage (12 per cent) in order to keep multiuse spaces tidy and clutter free.

The study was commissioned by B&Q, and the need for order and organisation in the home during lockdown was reflected in the brand’s annual sales figures as sales of storage rocketed by 24 per cent in the last year.

Home working and homeschooling put huge pressure on space and privacy, leaving people carving up existing spaces using low cost, no mess fixes which resulted in unit sales of room dividers soar by 51 per cent.

And with the garden being the highest priority renovation, sales of outdoor rugs were up 11 per cent, statement outdoor tiles up 462 per cent and fairy lights up 56 per cent, as people tried to create indoor living outside.

Positivity in renovations

It also emerged that renovations can be a source of positivity, as homeowners felt happy (36 per cent), content (36 per cent), proud (29 per cent) and calm (13 per cent) when thinking about the DIY jobs they had completed.

Paul White, commercial director at B&Q, said:  “Being stuck indoors in lockdown was a challenge for us all but many reaped the benefits of home improvement projects – from small tasks like adding storage to transforming rooms to meet new lockdown living needs.

“These projects delivered both practical solutions throughout Covid but also provided a much-needed distraction from the pandemic.

“We’ve seen how spending more time indoors has led to people falling back in love with their homes and discovering different ways to get the most out of them way after lockdown is lifted.

“With the nation’s confidence in their DIY skills growing from strength to strength, we don’t expect this DIY boom to slow down anytime soon.”

The survey also found the average homeowner took on nine DIY jobs in total over the last year - roughly one new project every six weeks.

Overall, 15 hours a week, totaling 31 days in the past 12 months – the equivalent to around a whole month – were spent on DIY.

More than a quarter (27 per cent) prioritised fixing up their garden so they can spend time in it with friends and family when the ‘outdoor rule of six’ is re-applied.

Skill improvements

As a result, 12 per cent of those polled via OnePoll believe their skills in planting and general gardening have improved over the last 12 months.

And one in five say that during lockdown they have taken on jobs they would have typically hired a professional for.

One couple who renovated their home to adapt to their new way of living and to improve their wellbeing were Sarah, 39, and Dave Alderton, 42, from Sprowston, Norwich.

They said: “When lockdown hit our priorities for our house renovation completely changed.

"All of a sudden our home needed to work as a practical space for a family of four to work and home-school from.

“Lockdown also made us realise just how much we wanted a space where we could entertain and socialise when restrictions finally lift.

“We completely scrapped our original plans for the kitchen and decided to open things right up and have an open plan family area and kitchen which could double as a space to entertain our friends – something which we have missed hugely.

“We also turned what was originally meant to be Dave’s ‘man-cave’ into a multi-use space for both a gym and an office that’s been really great and the kids even did their PE lessons in this room.”

 B&Q Lockdown build. Case study Sarah,39 and Dave,42 Alderton from Norwich Norfolk who have spent lockdown doing DIY and home improvements.

Areas of renovation in order of priority in 2020 were:1. Garden2. Living Room3. Kitchen4. Bedroom5. Bathroom