Recently, we’ve spent a lot more time outside and started to look at ways to transform our garden on a budget. I’ve never been much of a gardener, I always found it a little overwhelming and wanted a minimalist look (probably more due to the fact that it always looked like hard work!)
I just didn’t know where to start when it came to planting flowers and pruning trees so left it well alone! We mowed our lawn and stuck a few plants in some pots and hoped for the best, only to find that most plants had died over the winter and the lawn looked like someone had given it a comb-over!
I started researching gardening on a budget to get some ideas to improve our outdoor space.
Every year I’ve upped my game a little, and this year is no exception. I have plenty of small garden ideas on a budget to share, so read on to see how to transform your garden and save pennies or if you are having trouble selling or getting viewings for your property!
Creating a Garden on a Budget
I never really gave our garden much thought when we first moved into this house. It was a large space and great for our kids to run around in.
However, in 2022 we started spending a lot more time in our garden and we started looking at ways to improve it. We had some glorious weather, so spent a few weeks out in the garden digging, pruning, and thinking of ways to improve our garden space.
From small garden ideas to gardening on a budget, here are some projects to get you started.
1. Clean Your Patio or Decking
Start by removing all furniture, potted plants, and any other accessories from your patio, and use a broom to sweep away leaves, dirt, and other debris. You might also need to pull up any plants or weeds that have grown in between the patio slabs.
Mix a cup of bleach with a gallon of water in a bucket to create a powerful cleaning solution. If you prefer a more natural method, you can use a mixture of white vinegar and water. Always wear protective gloves when handling bleach. Using the same brush, you can then use the cleaning solution to scrub the patio or decking.
Once you are happy you have scrubbed as best you can, rinse the patio with a garden hose or a pressure washer on a low setting, making sure all of the cleaning solution is washed away.
If the cleaning solution has still left stubborn stains, it might be best to use a pressure washer. Stand at a safe distance and point the washer at the surface. Start at the lowest part of the area you’re cleaning if you’re washing a vertical surface. For horizontal surfaces like driveways or patios, you might want to work in sections.
Spray at a slight angle rather than directly head-on, which can help lift and remove dirt. Move the spray in a consistent, sweeping motion, keeping the nozzle at a consistent distance from the surface. Just remember not to let the stream stay in one place for too long to avoid damaging the surface.
2. Spruce Up a Tired Patio or Decking By Painting It!
We had new decking put down about 3 years ago and it did not fare well after a few winters. I looked at many different ways to tidy it up and decided to paint a mosaic pattern on it using Dizzy Duck Designs stencils and Cuprinol paint and was thrilled with the results.
I wrote a blog post on how to stencil your decking last summer and there have been some wonderful creative decking and patio designs since.
You don’t have to attempt to stencil your space, just a lick of paint will instantly freshen up your decking or patio and is a quick way to update your garden on a budget. If you’re passionate about gardening and landscaping, you might consider exploring estate gardener jobs in Scotland to put your green thumb to good use.
3. Tidy Up Flower Beds and Weeds and Add Some Colour
If you are looking for small garden ideas, tidying up your borders and flower beds is the easiest way to spruce up your garden on a budget! Try to pull weeds up from the roots so that they don’t grow back.
If you want to stop weeds or grass from growing in your flower beds, have a go at lawn edging and give them a border with something simple like bricks, sleepers, or concrete blocks.
Refreshing your flower beds can make a huge difference in your garden’s overall appearance. Trim back any dead or overgrown branches on your plants to encourage new growth. Be careful to follow specific pruning instructions for each type of plant, as some plants don’t react well to being pruned at certain times of the year.
To add color, select a variety of plants that bloom at different times of the year, this will provide color throughout the seasons. You can also think about color schemes: do you want a range of complementary colors, or would you prefer a monochromatic scheme? Some plants, like pansies, marigolds, or petunias, are renowned for their vibrant colors.
Also, consider adding some perennial plants, which will return year after year. If you don’t know where to start, there are plenty of online companies that offer a plant service, where they will group plants and flowers into collections and deliver them to your door with instructions!
Once you’ve tidied up and added new plants, regular maintenance will help keep your flower beds looking their best. This includes regular watering, deadheading flowers to encourage new blooms, and keeping an eye out for pests.
If you need to quickly remove waste when transforming your garden, it’s great to invest a small amount of money in ordering a skip bin. This will help free up your time and energy in disposing of no longer-needed items in your garden.
4. Add Color By Painting Your Fence or Shed
A quick and easy way to add impact and color to your garden is to paint your garden shed or fence. Different fence paint colors can make the difference between a garden looking small, or huge! It’s all a matter of perception.
Investing in lighter colors such as beige, pink, and baby blue, gives the illusion that your garden is much larger than it actually is. Darker colors can have the opposite effect, making your garden look more compact due to the distinct change in color compared to the grass.
Why not try something new and give a new fence paint color a go? There are plenty of affordable options out there, so you can find the perfect one for your garden. No longer are the shelves stocked with just brown, light brown, or a different shade of brown. You can find anything from Iris blue to bright pink which is a great idea for gardening on a budget.
We painted our fence dark blue last summer and I haven’t regretted it since, it’s a beautiful shade and really makes the plants and trees pop against it.
Storage sheds are also an important garden addition as they provide valuable storage space for garden tools, equipment, and supplies. They offer protection and shelter from the elements and ensure your tools and equipment remain in good condition and last longer, saving you money in the long run!
Sheds also look good painted in a different color. If you don’t own a garden shed I highly recommend you build one with this step-by-step guide.
5. Repair and Paint Pots
Painting or decorating tired plant pots and repairing ones that have not made it through the winter can help transform your garden on a budget. I love terracotta plant pots, but you can paint tired pots bright colors to add interest to the garden.
We are trying to move away from plastic pots in our garden, you can create pots out of many things including welly boots, pots or pans, and hanging baskets out of sieves!
6. Add Lighting
Last year, adding lighting to our garden was an absolute revelation and completely transformed our outdoor living. It is such a quick and easy way to transform your garden on a budget.
Not only does it look wonderful at night, but it can also provide a wonderful decorative feel during the day.
Adding wicker and glass lanterns, oversized candles, hurricane lamps, and fairy and festoon lights to your seating space or just wrapped around the tree, can provide an instant uplift to your garden.
There is an abundance of solar-paneled lighting online these days so you don’t have to worry about your electric bill, with some of my favorites being the solar festoon lights from Wilko and battery-powered outdoor fairy lights from Lights4fun.
7. Add Mirrors or Decorative Features
Mirrors are not just for the home! If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to transform your garden on a budget, these are just the thing. You can get a great range of outdoor mirrors online that you can hang up in your garden.
This helps bounce the light around if you have a particularly shady or dark spot in your garden and can make the space appear bigger, as in the home.
If you are looking for simple small garden ideas, you can buy items like multi-colored lanterns and ornamental wooden or rustic stars to hang from the trees or fences. Other ideas include:
- DIY bird feeder
- Painted rocks
- Upcycle old pieces like turning a wooden ladder into a plant stand
- Recycled bottle wind chimes
- Old tire planters
- Mosaic stepping stones
- Garden clocks
8. Paint Your Garden Furniture
Is your garden furniture looking a little sorry for itself after 8 months of heavy winter rain? I know ours certainly was. A bit like your fence or shed, there are so many fabulous paint products out there these days, you can paint your furniture an array of magnificent colors.
Maybe paint a small garden planter a bright pop of pink to add color to your garden, or give your bench or dining set a new lease of life by choosing one of the fab colors on offer from Cuprinol, Ronseal, and Rust-oleum.
It doesn’t even have to be expensive garden furniture, the popularity of using old wooden pallets to create seating and garden tables is on the rise and you could paint these to freshen them up. Gardening on a budget couldn’t be easier!
9. Cosy Up Your Seating Area
Once you’ve spruced up your garden furniture, you can make it a completely cozy outdoor space by adding lots of soft furnishings to your seating area like throws and cushions and perhaps an outdoor rug!
10. Divide the Garden Into Zones.
And finally, if you are like me and find gardening a bit overwhelming and don’t know where to start, divide your garden into zones and tackle each area one at a time.
Start with a seating area so you can make the most of your garden and make sure it is somewhere you want to sit (not like us when we spent a fortune having new decking created in a permanently shaded area)!
Create a divide from the seating area to the lawn with lots of potted plants, bamboo screens, or ornamental grasses. With a seating area created, you can then sit there with a G&T and admire all your hard work in the garden!
So, what garden ideas are you going to tackle first? We are in the middle of creating a new seating zone in our garden and I can’t wait to enjoy it this summer.
Q. How to make your garden look nice with no money?
A. The best thing to do is to reuse and recycle! Find new uses for items you already have such as old buckets, containers, or even pieces of furniture that can be repurposed as planters. Broken ceramics can become decorative mosaics and old bricks can create borders and planters.
You could trade plants with friends, neighbors, or family. It’s a cost-effective way to introduce new plants to your garden while also getting rid of surplus plants. If this doesn’t work, learn how to propagate your plants. Many plants can be grown from cuttings, seeds, or division, it’s a great way to get new plants for free.
Q. How to make a cozy corner in your garden on a budget?
A. Look for a corner or a space in your garden that gets a good amount of shade and sun. You’ll also want some privacy, so a spot that’s a bit hidden is a bonus. You can use anything from garden chairs, and benches, to an old indoor armchair that’s still serviceable but maybe not house-worthy anymore.
You could also consider DIY pallet furniture, it’s affordable and customizable, just add some outdoor cushions for comfort. Adding a small table can be useful, you can repurpose items like an old tree stump, a crate, or a small ladder to serve as a table. It can hold your coffee, book, or some potted plants.
Q. How to make a small garden look bigger?
A. Creating an illusion of more space in a small garden can be achieved through smart design and strategic planting. Utilize your vertical space with climbing plants, trellises, or vertical planters, this draws the eye upwards, creating a feeling of more space.
Divide your garden into distinct areas or ‘rooms’ using a trellis, screens, or planting. This can make your garden feel larger as it gives the impression that there’s more to discover.
Finally, mirrors can make a space look bigger and brighter, and gardens are no exception. Use weather-resistant mirrors designed for outdoor use. Perfect for gardening on a budget!