Looking for some cheap garden ideas? It’s easier than you think to give your garden a budget-friendly makeover. We’ve listed some quick fixes to help you save cash whilst making your outdoor space look fantastic, which in turn will enable you to spend more time enjoying your outdoor sanctuary.
Whether it’s painting an old shelf, getting clever with how and what you plant, or repurposing old items, take a look at how you can save money without scrimping on style.
So, are you ready to give your garden a new lease of life? Try these easy garden ideas on a budget, perfect for patio areas or gardens of any size…
1 Grow from seed
Without a doubt the cheapest way to get a thriving garden is to sow seeds. Whether it’s flower seeds or vegetable seeds, remember to check the seed packet size, as some contain far more seed than you’d be able to sow in a year in the average garden.
• You can find seeds at garden centres, online retailers like Thompson & Morgan or Crocus, or home and DIY stores including Homebase, B&Q and Wilko. You can also try online specialists, Seeds4Garden.com.
READ MORE: A guide to sowing seeds
2 Plant and divide
A cost effective way to fill flowerbeds with great looking plants is to buy perennials that you can divide. This may sound like advanced level gardening but really it isn’t. It will work with clump-forming perennials such as geums, astrantia and hardy geraniums.
Simply tip the plant out of its pot and pull it apart into two or three bits, each with some stalks and root. Dig a hole and plant each part in your flowerbed. Next year when they’ve grown and spread, you can dig them up and pull them apart again to gain even more plants.
You’ll get a wonderful display in a couple of years for very little cash. Six geranium plants are usually enough to get going in an average sized garden.
Shop a wide selection of perennial plants at Crocus
4 Use containers for patios
No lawn? Container gardening is a really easy way to get your garden looking beautiful with blooming flowers, and it’s especially ideal for patios, balconies or other paved areas. Remember, containers can restrict root growth, so you need to ensure an even water supply and good drainage, and choose the right compost.
Pictured: Rodborough Planters, Garden Trading
5 Paint effect
You’ll be surprised by how much a lick of paint can transform an old fence and provide a striking backdrop for greenery and jewel-coloured plants. And the colour you should opt for? Black.
‘The depth this colour gives is magical for garden designers; paint a fence black and it disappears, a shed becomes less of an eyesore and that old bench suddenly becomes a chic focal point,’ says Chelsea Flower Show garden designer Andrew Duff.
This is a great garden idea if you want instant impact. Don’t forget, you can give your plant pots a new lease of life by painting them too.
• Head to Homebase, Wickes or B&Q for garden paint.
READ MORE: Why black is this summer’s must-have garden paint colour
6 Reuse old furniture as planters
One of the most cost-effective garden ideas is to simply upcycle! You can give old and tired furniture in your home a new lease of life in the garden. Old sinks and dressing tables can be turned into quirky planters, or you could use pallets.
7 Welcome birds
If you’re looking for garden ideas for wildlife, you could install a bird feeder, bird bath or bird house. More birds attracted to your outdoor space will also mean more chances of listening to the sound of birds singing, which is great for your wellbeing. In fact, research shows that listening to the sound of birds can help lower stress and fatigue, as well as helping to combat anxiety.
You could buy one (shop a selection at the RSPB) or, if you’re looking for a cheaper way, wash out old tin cans (from soup and baked beans), then paint, fill with bird seed, and hang in the garden for your own homemade bird feeder.
Pictured: Bird feeder in Moorland Green Wood Paint, Thorndown Paints
8 Start a vegetable patch
Embrace the Grow Your Own trend, even in the smallest of spaces, and save lots of money in the process. Simply corner off a section of your garden, prepare the soil, and plant some vegetables. Not only will it be a great addition to your garden, but you’ll have your own supply of tasty veg!
The RHS says chillies remain the number one choice owing to their ease of growing, colour and varieties, with names such as ‘Etna’ and ‘Meek and Mild’. Beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils, soya and other legumes are also a staple of the vegetable plot, overtaking more traditional choices such as parsnips and calabrese.
READ MORE: Allotment ideas for beginners
9 DIY garden bar
Want space for entertaining in your garden? Transform your space with a DIY cocktail bar.
‘There’s no need to invest in a pricey readymade bar when you can update a cheap and cheerful potting bench by day into a chic drinks station by night with a simple, purse-friendly lick of paint,’ says Wayfair’s Resident Style Advisor, Nadia McCowan Hill.
‘A good quality primer & undercoat will remove the need for laborious sanding, so all you need to think about is selecting your go-to hue. Miami pink will add a retro flavour to your bar, whereas cornflower blue is the perfect tone for an English garden spritz and pistachio tones will blend seamlessly with spring foliage. Don’t forget to seal your bar with a waterproof finishing wax to keep the sundowner sessions flowing summer after summer.’
And, of course, don’t forget to style it: Add a drinks dispenser, coloured glassware and your favourite beverages – and finish off with succulents and greenery.
10 Create a cosy outdoors
As extensions of our homes, our outdoor spaces are becoming ‘rooms’, and so there’s a need to bring that cosy feeling into the garden. An easy way to do this is to invest in an outdoor rug. Inject some personality into your space with a pop of colour or bold pattern – and it will help to zone your space, too. To accessorise, add some garden lanterns and outdoor cushions
Pictured: Patio Flatweave Rugs in Deco Ivory, The Rug Seller
11 Hanging baskets
Want instant colour in your garden? A really easy and inexpensive way to do this is to plant up some hanging baskets. Choose plants such as fuchsias, verbena or petunias, or you can even grow vegetables like tomatoes.
READ MORE: The best hanging basket plants for a vibrant display
12 Transform your space with lights
Outdoor lights offer a quick, simple and cheap way to bring a pretty glow to a patio and beyond – and there are so many styles available. Solar garden lights are popular, or you can opt for outdoor battery lights which include string lights and lanterns.
If you’re using fairy lights or festoon lights, you can style them through trees or shrub branches, attach them to fences and furniture, or suspend them from canes stuck into the ground. Stringing fairy lights across a pergola or arch or even around a parasol, always looks wonderful and creates a perfect setting for alfresco dining.
Pictured: 80 LED Battery Operated Parasol Lights, Lights4Fun
13 Use stake lights to illuminate plants
Buy stake lights to scatter amongst shrubs, place on your lawn, or stick into window boxes for instant wow factor. These are pretty inexpensive and they add a wonderful decorative touch to your garden, however small it is.
With solar lights, just place it within a sunny spot in your garden to enable a full day’s charge. As evening falls, the lights will automatically shine bright.
Pictured: Flower, Bee & Butterfly Solar Stake Lights, Lights4Fun
14 DIY pond
Another great way to attract wildlife to your garden is with a pond – and it won’t cost much at all. Simply collect pebbles and stones, dig a hole in the garden, protect the bottom with a pond liner and hide it using the pebbles and rocks. Then fill with water to create a pond.
READ MORE: 8 steps to creating your own garden pond
15 DIY outdoor cinema
Create an outdoor cinema using materials from your home. Transform your space in an instant for movie night using a white sheet, pegs and some string. Then all you need to do is buy a projector (shop a range at Amazon to suit all price budgets).
Interior stylist Kel Harmer created this fabulous outdoor cinema in her garden. ‘To create the DIY Movie Night we used string, pegs and a kingsize white sheet to create the screen and a projector which we placed on a garden table and ran the leads underneath the seating to prevent hazards,’ she explains.
READ MORE: Kel Harmer’s garden makeover
16 Reuse plastic bottles
Plastic water bottles take an average of 1,000 years to biodegrade, so avoid throwing them away altogether and reuse them. They’re ideal for the garden as they make great alternative planters. Just cut open one side, fill with compost and plant seedlings, then hang with heavy duty string.
18 Gravel paths
When it comes to paths and patios, gravel is a much more affordable surface than paving. To lay it in place; mark out the area, then scrape away loose soil or grass, pin down a permeable membrane to stop the weeds coming through and spread the gravel over it. Aim for a depth of 2.5cm. You can choose a pale gravel, like Honey Stone, to contrast with your lawn and planting. A large bag will cover around 20 sq metres.
• Head to Homebase, B&Q or Wickes for all your gravel needs!
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