You don’t need to spend a lot to make the most of your garden. Check out these brilliant ideas for creating a flower-filled, relaxing outdoor space without breaking the bank.
Create a path using gravel
A brick or concrete path can be an expensive way to landscape your garden, so create a pathway using gravel instead. Mark the area out with string, then dig up any turf, rocks or plants. Pat the soil to make it compact, then put down a layer of permeable membrane. Finally, scatter over your gravel and spread it out with a rake. In this beautifully landscaped garden, they’ve also added some simple timber slats to the gravel path.
Cover your walls
Stuck with an unsightly wall or fence that you can’t afford to replace? Use your garden’s natural bounty and cover the surface with climbing plants. To keep it under budget, buy small versions of the plant, but if you’re desperate to provide cover quickly, opt for a fast-growing variety. There are lots to choose from, but a good suggestion is Solanum jasminoides ‘Album’, which has evergreen leaves and blooms with pretty white flowers in the summer. Alternatively, go for star jasmine, which has the added bonus of a beautiful scent.
Pop in a table
Garden furniture can be pricey, but if your budget won’t stretch to a large table, you don’t have to do without. A small, circular design like this one is more cost-effective and still provides a place for relaxing. To jazz up a simple wooden table and chairs, add a couple of coats of exterior paint.
Repurpose a pallet
Ever noticed those wooden frames left outside builder’s yards? These pallets are wonderfully useful for turning into garden furniture. There are endless tutorials online, showing you how to turn pallets into tables, chairs, benches and almost anything you can think of. Here, the owners have upcycled their wooden frame into a rather attractive wall planter.
Be generous with pots
If your patio needs a boost, the simplest way to revive it is with container plants. You don’t even have to buy a pot – hunt around for things you can turn into containers, such as pretty tins, old drawers, buckets and even discarded boots. Buy a few inexpensive plants from the garden centre to give some pots an instant boost, but sow budget-friendly seeds or bulbs in others.
Divide your perennials
Want to plump up your flower beds without spending a fortune? Try dividing your perennials. Even a novice gardener can do it, although it does help to know which of your plants are perennials. These are plants that flower every year and are the perfect growers to have in your borders.
Place your shovel deep into the soil around the perimeter of a clump of plants, and pull it up carefully. Try to keep the root ball intact. Carefully pull apart individual crowns, making sure each one has a set of leaves and roots. Plant them out at the same depth as they were before, then water well.
String up some lights
You don’t need a high-tech lighting scheme to illuminate your outdoors. There are solar-powered and battery-operated lights for every budget, and nothing gives a more magical effect than a simple garland of fairy lights. Choose a combination of different cost-effective solutions and dot them around the garden to light up each area.
Lay down a rug
Before you splash out on a new patio or decking area, consider an alternative floor covering instead. Outdoor rugs are a great way to add some luxury to a tired patio, and don’t cost as much as new paving. Go for a natural look, or opt for something bright and summery like this yellow geometric design. Lay one beneath a table, or next to a bench to zone your seating area.
Renew your garden each year for free by including some self-seeders in your mix. These are plants that scatter their seeds around them, which will shoot up as new flowers later on. Plant a few varieties now, or sow them as seeds, and next year your supply should have increased. Every year, you’ll be treated to new flowers without any extra cost.
There are many self-seeders around, but some good ones include borage, forget-me-nots and the pretty Mexican fleablane, shown above.
Purchase plug plants
For the green-fingered among us, there’s nothing more rewarding than growing a plant from seed. However, if you want low cost with a little less effort, you could buy some plug plants instead. These are plants that are in the seedling stage, and are usually bought in a tray of plastic pots. How much care they need before planting out will depend on what stage they’re at, but they should be relatively easy to grow.
A fun annual to plant out as a plug is the sweet pea, which will give you deliciously scented flowers all summer (as long as you keep picking them).
Look around your garden to see what treasures are already there. Runner beans could be grown in a wigwam to make a fun tent, or a large bush might be the perfect place for a children’s hideaway. Use wood and stones for edging lawns and borders, or repurpose tree trunks to make quirky stools, as seen above.
Main Image courtesy of Theydons