Gardens – Even small ones- can be expensive!
Gardens of all shapes and sizes can be expensive, but that shouldn’t discourage you from pursuing your gardening dreams! Planning a garden when you’re on a budget is quite a task, but with a few ideas and a bit of imagination it should be not only possible but also rewarding.
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What Do You Want To Achieve In Your Garden?
When thinking about a garden design it’s really important to have clear ideas of what you want to achieve and how to get there within your budget. Take a moment to consider how you want to use your outdoor space. Are you looking for a peaceful retreat where you can relax and unwind? Or perhaps you want to create a vibrant and colourful garden filled with flowers and plants. By identifying your goals, you can make the most of your budget and create a garden that meets your needs.
Get to Know Your Space
Before you start planning your garden, it’s important to get to know your space. Take some time to assess the size, shape, and layout of your outdoor area. Understanding the characteristics of your space will help you make the most of it and come up with creative solutions. Measure the dimensions of your garden and create a rough sketch or map. This will give you a visual representation of the available space and help you plan accordingly. Consider any existing features such as trees, fences, or walls that may impact your design choices. Look at where the sunlight moves through your garden throughout the day. Take note of areas that receive full sun, partial shade, or full shade. This information will guide where you locate the key spaces in your garden and also your plant selection and placement.
Identify any problem areas or challenges in your garden. It could be a patch of dry soil, poor drainage, or a lack of privacy. By acknowledging these issues, you can find budget-friendly solutions to address them and improve the overall functionality of your garden. By getting to know your space, you can make informed decisions and create a garden that maximizes its potential. Understanding the size, layout, sunlight patterns, and challenges of your outdoor area will help you design a beautiful and functional garden that fits your budget.
Garden Patio Ideas on a Budget
For most people, having a patio area or somewhere to sit out and maybe have a barbecue in the garden is a key consideration. To create a patio area in your garden when you’re on a budget, there are several affordable options you can consider. One option, if you already have a patio, is to give your existing patio slabs a fresh look by pressure washing them to remove dirt and grime. This simple cleaning technique can instantly revive the appearance of your patio and make it more inviting. And the best news – it costs virtually nothing!
Another budget-friendly idea is to paint the slabs. Choose a masonry paint colour that complements your garden theme and apply it to the surface of the slabs. This can add a pop of colour and transform your patio into a vibrant and stylish seating area. You can even buy stencils like these from Etsy for the slabs if you fancy making it look like you have patterned tiles:
Stencil in image above available from Nicolette Tabram’s Etsy shop.
If you don’t have a patio or want to create a new seating area, you can opt for a gravelled seating area. This involves clearing the designated space, laying a weed membrane, and covering it with gravel. Gravel in the garden is a great idea as it’s an inexpensive material if you’re on a budget that provides a natural looking and low-maintenance seating area.
Additionally, consider checking out Facebook Marketplace or other online platforms for second-hand slabs. Many people sell their used slabs at a fraction of the original cost, making it a cost-effective option for creating a patio or seating area. By exploring these affordable options, you can create a patio or seating area in your small garden that is both functional and visually appealing, without breaking the bank. Remember to choose the option that best suits your budget and personal style.
Another alternative to create a defined seating area is simply to lay an outdoor rug such as this one from B&Q:
These are cheap, easy and cover a multitude of sins!
How to Create Garden Seating on a Budget
There are lots of good garden seating ideas for if you’re on a budget. One popular option is to repurpose pallets to create a pallet sofa. Pallets can often be found for free or at a low cost, and with a little creativity and DIY skills, you can transform them into a comfortable seating area. Add some cushions and throw pillows to make it cozy and inviting.
Another budget-friendly idea is to build a simple bench seat. You can use reclaimed wood or even cinder blocks and wooden planks to create a sturdy and functional seating area. Paint or stain the wood to match your garden’s aesthetic and add some outdoor cushions for comfort.
The bench in the image above is a sleeper bench by Forest Garden.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy solution, consider buying second-hand furniture. Check out charity shops, garage sales, or online marketplaces for affordable options. You can find chairs, tables, or even outdoor sofas at a fraction of the cost of new furniture. Give them a fresh coat of paint using something like Frenchic or some new cushions to make them look brand new. By exploring these budget-friendly options, you can create a comfortable and stylish seating area in your garden without spending a fortune. Choose the option that best suits your style and budget, and enjoy relaxing in your outdoor oasis. With a little creativity and resourcefulness, you can transform your garden into a stylish retreat.
Garden Planting Ideas on a Budget
For me, working out what to plant where and when is probably the trickiest part of having a garden! Plants can be a really rewarding way to transform your garden. But that said there’s nothing more heart-breaking than seeing the expensive plants you’ve brought back from the garden centre shrivel up and die because they’re planted in the wrong place! So the first and most important tip is to make sure that you buy plants that will thrive where you’re planting them!
There are several ways you can plant up your garden without spending a fortune. One cost-effective option is to grow plants from seeds and bulbs. Whilst this does require quite a bit of patience and planning, it can also be really rewarding. It also allows you to have a wide variety of plants in your garden. You can start seeds indoors and transplant them outside when they are ready, or directly sow them in the garden.
Another budget-friendly planting option is to buy small perennials. Perennials are plants that come back year after year, so investing in small plants can save you money in the long run. It’s amazing how quickly they will fill out and look as though they have been in your flower bed for years. Look for sales or discounts at local nurseries or garden centres. DIY stores with a garden section also often have good deals on perennials too. You can also consider swapping plants with friends or neighbours to expand your garden without spending any money. Supermarkets are also often a great source of plants. Keep an eye out for discounted plants and give them a chance to flourish in your garden.
If you want instant impact in your garden, consider investing in one or two key plants. These could be larger, more established plants that will immediately add beauty and structure to your garden. Look for deals or discounts on these plants to get the best value for your money. By following these budget-friendly planting ideas, you can create a beautiful and vibrant garden without breaking the bank.
Garden areas for kids
Garden areas for kids can be a fun and creative addition, and there are lots of ideas around that can be created even on a small budget. Creating a designated space for your children to play and explore outdoors can provide them with endless entertainment and learning opportunities. Perhaps the simplest and most budget-friendly idea is to create a patch of grass where kids can run, play, and have picnics. Grass is relatively inexpensive to install and maintain, and it provides a soft and safe surface for children to play on. You can also add some colourful outdoor toys, such as balls or a small slide, to enhance the play area.
Another idea is to repurpose wooden pallets to create a garden playhouse for your kids. With a little creativity, you can transform them into a fun and imaginative play space. Add some cushions, blankets, and fairy lights to make it even more inviting. A playhouse is a great option for a small garden as they can provide hours of entertainment for kids in a relatively small area.
The image above is the Tree top Timber Tower slide playhouse by B&Q. Something similar could easily be created with some DIY skills.
If you have a sturdy tree in your garden, consider attaching a rope swing for your kids to enjoy. Swinging is not only a fun activity but also helps develop balance and coordination. Make sure to choose a strong and secure branch and use a sturdy rope for safety. By incorporating these budget-friendly ideas, you can create a garden area that will spark your children’s imagination and encourage them to spend more time outdoors. Remember, it’s not about the size or cost of the play area, but rather the joy and memories it brings to your kids.
Celebrate the Journey not the destination
Gardens are not built in a day, but that’s part of the beauty of it. The process of creating and nurturing a garden is a journey in itself, and it’s important to celebrate every step along the way. Whether you have a small budget or a larger one, there are plenty of ways to create something special in your garden. One way to celebrate the journey is by starting small and gradually expanding your garden over time. Begin with a few potted plants or a small raised bed, and as you gain confidence and experience, you can add more elements to your garden. This allows you to experiment with different garden plants and design ideas without overwhelming yourself or your budget.
Another way to celebrate the journey is by embracing the natural evolution of your garden. Gardens are living and breathing spaces that change with the seasons and over the years. Instead of focusing solely on the end result, take joy in watching your plants grow and flourish. Appreciate the beauty of each bloom and the satisfaction of harvesting your own vegetables. No matter the size of your budget, there are always opportunities to make your garden special. Get creative with DIY projects, repurpose materials, and explore affordable options for plants and decorations. Remember, it’s not about the destination, but the joy and fulfilment that comes from the process of creating and nurturing your garden. So, celebrate the journey and enjoy the beauty that unfolds along the way.
For more garden ideas (on a budget) – you can see how we built our own garden room -saving ourselves a fortune in the process.