Student transforms back yard into epic beer garden
A party-mad student transformed his concrete yard into a BEER GARDEN – without telling his housemates.
Henry Debenham, from Bawdeswell, Norfolk, spent the summer turning the disused patio into the ultimate party hub, complete with bar stools, astro turf and a BBQ.
The 20-year-old, who’s in his final year at Lincoln University, splurged £780 decking out the beer garden – including splashing £300 on alcohol.
The International Business student surprised his six other housemates when they returned to their digs at the weekend, who ‘absolutely love it’.
The housemates are now looking forward to hosting parties and celebrating several 21st birthdays throughout the year – and even have their landlord’s blessing.
It took Henry one month to complete the beer garden, having done everything from scratch including building the bar himself.
He enlisted help from fellow housemate Matt Meekins, 21, but confesses the duo didn’t tell anyone else ‘in case it was rubbish’.
Henry said: “I lived in the house last year and it was just a concrete yard that we never used.
“We would store our bikes there, but that was about it.
“I stayed in Lincoln over the summer for work, so decided to build a bar as a bit of a mini project.
“We’re going into our third year and I just really wanted us all to be able to make the most of it.
“I was fed up of the typical house parties and this is something really unique.”
Henry and Matt then set about putting it all together before Freshers’ Week – and lucked out when Lincoln student union bar gave them old equipment for free.
Henry said: “Luckily, our student bar was being refurbished so we were able to take loads of their old stuff like bar stools, lights, beer mats for free.
“We did have a hot tub but it was too big so we returned it, and we’re now looking to get a projector there so we can all watch the football.
“It’s not quite finished yet, we’re still waiting on some beer taps to arrive.
“The most expensive bit by far was the alcohol though.
“I spent £300 at the wholesalers on beer, Sourz, vodka – you name it – then stupidly gave it all away for free.
“If we were allowed to charge people we would, but we’d get in a lot of trouble!”
But the final year’s investment won’t go to waste, as he’ll still be visiting the property after he’s graduated.
The entrepreneurial-minded student runs Student Smart, a business which saves students the hassle of house hunting by checking out properties for them.
Henry said: “We work alongside landlords while helping students find the best student property.
“I’ll be doing it next year once I’ve graduated, so I’ll definitely be coming back to the house to inspect it!”
But even though Henry coughed up the funds for it himself, he insists the bar is there for everyone to enjoy.
Henry said: “One of the girls Hazel works at the student union bar, so she’s great at making cocktails.
“Matt has some speakers from home so he’s the DJ as he has the best music choice.
“We’ll do it as a help yourself type thing though, we won’t have a barman on duty.
“The beauty of it is that so many of our friends turn 21 this year so we’ll be having lots of people round.”
Henry and Matt live with Luke Rock-Hyland, 21, Zoey Allie, 22, Hazel Sadler, Steph Tillman, and Cameron Cullen-Smith, who are all 20.
HOW HENRY TRANSFORMED THE YARD INTO HIS DREAM BEER GARDEN
Astro turf = £180
Plywood for the bar = £180
Bench = £100
Optics = £20
Alcohol = £300
Bar stools, beer mats, lights = free from the student union
Total = £780