The weather may be confusing us, but we can still make our gardens look great! We have plenty of cheap ideas to make your garden look seasonal, so you’re ready for company no matter the weather.
There are some easy ways to make your garden look nicer in just a short amount of time.
Give your garden some attention by checking what needs to be repaired, painted, or replaced. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to make your garden look nicer.
Budget garden ideas
Updating your outdoor space doesn’t have to be expensive. There are lots of simple changes you can make on a budget that will have a big impact. Whether you have a small garden, a patio, or a balcony garden, there are plenty of cheap garden ideas (or even DIY projects) that will improve your space.
There are a lot of different ways to make your garden look great without spending a lot of money. Some of these include adding simple lighting, inexpensive furniture, or different plants. You could also style your garden for summer parties.
Any garden can be turned into a serene oasis, country getaway, or outdoor dining area with a little planning and some clever tricks, as these budget-friendly garden ideas demonstrate.
1. USE OLD GUTTERING TO PLANT UP STRAWBERRIES
Do not throw away old plastic guttering once it needs replacing, but use it as a cheap container for growing strawberry plants instead. Attach the guttering to the wall of your house or garage and arrange in lengths sat on top of each other. Not only will this make an attractive display, it will also save you from having to bend over low flower beds, and makes the plants more accessible to pick once ripe.
2. MAKE A PLANTER WITH BUILT-IN DRAINAGE
An old metal colander can be re-purposed into a hanging basket by attaching four lengths of chain. Colanders have pre-made drainage holes which will prevent waterlogged roots. Fill the colander with a mix of flowering and trailing plants.
3. BRING YOUR INSIDE FURNITURE, OUT!
Bring your indoor chairs and side tables outside to save money and space. If you live in a high-rise flat, this may not be ideal, but it will save you from having to buy duplicates that spend most of their time in a shed. Wicker chairs work well on a balcony, rattan on a patio, and cane armchairs in a garden.
4. MAKE VEGETABLE TAGS FROM CORKS
You can upcycle wine corks into vegetable tags by slicing off a fifth of the cork to reveal a flat surface. Write each vegetable name on the surface with a permanent marker. To give your tag height, insert a wooden skewer into the bottom of the cork. Plant the tag in the ground next to the corresponding vegetable.
5. MAKE A PALLET PLANTER
Make a planter out of some old pallets, which can also act as a privacy screen. You can fill it with flowers, herbs, or taller plants, depending on what you want. Check out the Mano Mano website for a step-by-step guide.
6. CREATE A CANDLE CENTERPIECE
Choose candles in different heights for an elegant look. Upcycle some old terracotta pots by filling them with sand and sticking in some dinner candles. Different heights will create a more sophisticated look.
Use an odd number of candles for a visually balanced look. Three standard sized candles or seven to nine skinny tapered candles will do the trick.
It can be placed on the table as a rustic centrepiece or along walkways to cast light and create a relaxed ambience. It can also repel insects by using a candle that contains citronella essential to deter pesky mosquitoes.
7. MAKE A PLANT MARKER
Attach the slate labels to your herb pots for a handy way to never confuse your chives with your chervil again.
Using pliers, bend the wire to form rods with curled hooks. On the back of the marker, write how often the plants need watering.
8. CREATE A FREE VEGETABLE GARDEN WITH KITCHEN SCRAPS
Would you like to make your garden more sustainable but are limited on space? Try using a vegetable trug.
Marcus Eyles, Horticultural Director, Dobbies(opens in new tab) Garden Centres, explains that spring onions and celery are two kitchen staples that can be easily regrown from their root base with a couple of inches of stem attached. To do so, he says to slice across the stems and then stand them root down in a shallow glass of water. When new roots appear, he recommends planting them out in the garden to grow on.
To grow chillies and sweet peppers, collect their seeds and plant them in fresh compost. Put them on a warm sunny windowsill and water them regularly.
9. PRESERVE PLANTING WITH 1P COIN TRICK
Celebrity gardener David Domoney was on This Morning and explained that you only need a penny to tell if a plant is alive or dead. He said that people often ask him how to tell if a plant is alive or dead if it hasn’t come into leaf yet, and his response is that you only need a penny.
He demonstrates how to use a 1p coin to scrape away a small patch of the bark on a branch to determine the health of the plant. If the bark is brown, the plant is dead. If the bark is green or white, the plant is alive.
10. PAINT THE GARDEN SHED AND GARDEN FURNITURE TO MATCH
Is an ugly shed ruining the look of your garden? Give your garden an instant makeover by painting the shed. You could even paint the fence while you’re at it.
If the fences or shed in your garden look old and neglected, you can brighten them up by giving them a new coat of paint. There are many different colors of wood paint and stain available, so you can choose the one that best suits your taste. It is best to use a wood protective paint to prevent the fences or shed from rotting over time.
Choose your garden color scheme carefully so that you show off your planting more. A more natural color scheme would be pale grey-green paint shades, while a darker one would be blacks and dark blues. Avoid anything garish that would compete with your blooms for attention.
11. ALWAYS NEGOTIATE WITH PROFESSIONALS
An experienced garden designer can be beneficial in a number of ways. They can help with planning the entire garden, managing contractors, and giving guidance on where to best spend your budget. This can save you time and money in the long term.
If you’re trying to improve your garden on a budget, remember that you don’t always have to spend a lot of money to get help from professionals. It’s often possible to negotiate a better price, and you can sometimes just ask for their help for one day to make a big difference if you’re not sure where to start.
If you have to buy new materials for your garden, the best place to buy them is at a builder’s merchant rather than a DIY store, according to Kilpatrick. Most builder’s merchants will negotiate with you on price. Get a written quote from one builder’s merchant and show it to another. In most cases, they will want to beat their competitor’s price.
12. REMEMBER TO KEEP IT SIMPLE
Gardens with complex curved walls, fences, and patterns in paving cost more to create as they are trickier to design. Garden ideas that are cheap are typically simple in design and this also applies to landscaping. Building materials for gardens are usually designed for spaces that are uncomplicated so using them for angles and curves that are different will result in some materials not being used.
Putting in simple, straight runs is much easier and these types of gardens typically look nicer, especially in more urban or suburban areas where it’s important for the garden to complement your home’s architecture.
13. DO THE GARDEN LABORING YOURSELF
Labor costs can be a significant expense when redesigning a garden, so it is worth considering what tasks can be completed without professional help. Planting, laying a new lawn, erecting kit-form pergolas and arches, timber raised beds, simple plumbing – even a deck – can often be completed without professional assistance.
You should be aware of your capabilities and only try to do what you are capable of when it comes to branch out into the rest of your yard space. Paving, brickwork, extensive garden lighting, and features such as dry-stone walls will need specialists. Choose local tradespeople so that you won’t have to spend too much money.
14. MAKE SURE YOU INVEST IN THE RIGHT TOOLS
It’s important to buy high-quality garden tools because they will be more efficient and durable. Low-quality tools might not work well and could break, costing you more money in the long run.
According to Kilpatrick, investing in quality tools pays off in the long run by saving time and money. He advises using sharp, well-maintained tools for the best results, and hiring specialist equipment like cement mixers and nail guns for big projects.
15. USE GARDEN EDGING TO ADD DEFINITION TO YOUR BORDERS
You can create zones in your garden without spending a lot of money by installing garden edging around your borders or flower beds. You can find edging made from recycled materials, like rubber tires or plastic, or use more expensive options like real stone.
16. DIVIDE PERENNIALS AND REPLANT THEM IN CONTAINERS
Vic MacBournie has a great tip for adding some interest to containers and window boxes – use existing ornamental grasses as thrillers! Last year, he divided some of his native Northern Sea Oat grasses and used them in his window boxes. In fall, he pulled them out of the window boxes and planted them in a separate area of the garden.
17. LEARN TO PROPAGATE PLANTS TO GROW MORE FOR FREE
If you learn how to take cuttings from your shrubs and herbaceous perennials, you can reduce how much you spend on plants every year. Most perennial plants that have permanent branches and don’t die back in winter can be propagated by taking cuttings at the right time of year and sticking them in soil.
18. GROW FRUIT TREES FROM SEED
If you love fruit and want an orchard, you can save money by growing fruit trees from seed. Seeds from the fruit you’ve eaten can grow into cherry, avocado, and plum trees. Mango trees are the easiest to grow from seed. All you need is to toss a mango seed in some soil in a warm climate and you’ll have a fruiting tree in about four years.
HOW DO YOU DO GARDENING ON A BUDGET?
The cheapest way to be self-sufficient with your kitchen garden is to grow everything from seed. Buying pre-grown plants is more expensive and also isn’t suitable if you want to try organic gardening. You only need to raise your plants from seeds once for many vegetables and fruit. You can then start producing your own seed for the following year’s harvest.
You’d better put your gardening gloves on!