If you are even remotely green-fingered, the chances are that you consider your garden as a massively important part of your home. Whether you sit out all day or only use the outdoor space on special occasions, it goes without saying that everyone wants it to look as good as it can. However, if your time out there is limited, the garden can often fall to the bottom of the priority list when carrying out home upgrades. Fortunately, a great garden does not necessarily have to be expensive, and while you’re unlikely to find sprawling water features and exotic plants from around the world in a garden on a budget, there is nothing to stop it looking good on the cheap.
Naturally, we have no idea of the current state of your garden, nor your budget, but we have overcome this with some fantastically practical tips that you can implement wherever relevant, or build on for even better results.
1. Grow Your Favourite Plants from Seeds
Plants, flowers and vegetables all require maintenance. The later in their life cycle, you make the purchase, the more you can expect to pay, and this directly contradicts our budget-friendly approach. If you are willing to put in the work in favour of more substantial expenses, we would always suggest that you start out with seeds. You can get hundreds of seeds for the same price as the equivalent starter plant and as well as saving money; you’ll also feel an immense sense of satisfaction when they bloom.
2. Get to Know Local Gardeners and Events
Unless you are the only person with a lawn as far as the eye can see, there are likely other gardeners nearby with similar aims to you, if not identical budgets. As well as exchanging localised tips, you can also help your budget with seed and plant swaps. If you do buy seeds rather than starter plants, you’ll have plenty left over. Swap the extras for something else you’d like in your garden, and you’ll have multiple plants for the same price.
3. Bag Some Freebies with Cuttings
Not all plants benefit from being grown from seeds, and some refuse to take. Fortunately, there are plenty of plants out there that can develop from cuttings. Almost all perennial plants will grow better from cutting than seeds. If you’ve already made local gardener friends, see if you can take cuttings. Even in public places, assume nobody is looking and take a sample home and see what you can make of it.
4. Go Budget-Friendly on Planters, Pots and Accessories
This is probably not your first attempt to accomplish something on a budget, so the concept of recycling and upscaling will not be alien. The best part is that you can make a planter out of just about any container and if you’re willing to put in the work to make it fit the theme and tone of the garden, you can turn trash into treasure at no cost but your own time.
5. Be Open to Alternatives
If you’re ever working in the garden and think to yourself that you wish you had the money for something, take a break, grab a drink and consider whether there are free, naturally occurring alternatives. You may want a particular tree, and we cannot condone going out and chopping one down to take home, but if budget is a consideration, you can always benefit from free alternatives.
6. Create Your Own Designs
Some of the best-looking gardens around were professionally designed – those landscape architects are professional for a reason. Sadly, they also cost a fortune to employ compared to what you might want to spend if you’re budget-conscious. It is easy to say that you could do it yourself, but there really are plenty of options out there. An online design tool can help you think of ideas and position everything where you want it, and garden centres will often freely advise on layouts and setups if you have specific plants in mind.
7. Get Creative with Soil and Fertiliser
The nature of pre-packaged products means that you will pay more than what the materials inside the bag are worth. However, there are often cheap, or free alternatives and most organic matter can be turned into a fertiliser of sorts. Even potato peelings and eggshells can help to provide nutrients to your garden, so stay switched on in the kitchen while you cook and consider whether anything you plan to throw away could actually go to better use.
8. Find Out Where You can find Free Compost and Mulch
Compost and mulch are critical components of any garden whether you’re on a budget or not. The easy option is to go out and buy it, much as you would with anything else in the garden. However, if you take the time to find the right places, there is no doubt that you can get it for free. Get in touch with companies that cut down trees or recycling centres, and they will often have plenty of the stuff on hand that they will be happy to get rid of to anyone that is happy to come and collect it.
9. Browse the Classifieds
If you’re seeking inspiration or something specific, your local classified ads service can be ideal. Following on from the tip above, garden products often fall into the ‘free to collector’ category, and you’ll find everything from slabs and planters to seeds and fertiliser.
10. Stay Organic – Even if you Don’t Need To
Simply put, organic plants and vegetables end up cheaper. They stop being organic when you use treatments, certain pesticides and other products. Not only can they affect the plant, but they also cost money. If you run into problems, find a natural and preferably free solution for lower costs and hugely improved results.