For a lot of people, having a flawless and beautiful garden is the dream. Unfortunately, it can often seem expensive and way out of a limited budget. There are ways to get a gorgeous garden cheaply though – and here are ten top secrets about how you too could have the garden of your dreams.
Start Seeds Indoors
Seeds are substantially cheaper than pre-started plants, so you can get a lot more for a lot less money. However, they’re harder to grow and often don’t take to the outside that well. The best way to avoid this is to start them inside. You may have heard that you need fancy seed trays and propagators and all sorts of equipment, but you don’t. A really cheap way to get them started is to plant them in old egg boxes, and cover them with cling-film in order to keep them humid. Since egg boxes are biodegradable, you don’t need to worry about transplant shock as you can just place them straight in the ground.
If you really don’t want to spend a ton of money, you’re not consigned to the depths of having rotting, mouldy furniture. Whether it’s some old pieces lying around in your back yard, or some of the wonders from the free section of craiglist, find yourself some old garden furniture. Buy some sandpaper, some paint, and go to town. It’s a great way to update your gardens look without paying a fortune – and you can redo them whenever you feel like a change!
Look for Seed Libraries
Some cities operate seed libraries for rare or heritage plants, or simply food plants that may be useful in poorer areas. These are well worth investigating, as there’s no cost for seeds this way, and you can get some really interesting types of plant. They work by loaning you seeds, which you then plant and care for. Once the plant is developed enough to create seeds of its own, you collect them and give some of them back to the library for their collection. Simple, right?
Many plants can start from cuttings. You can either take cuttings of your own plants to spread them, or see if you can take some from a friend. Some people report having luck asking neighbours, or simply wandering around a nice area and knocking on doors. This isn’t guaranteed, but if you succeed, it’s a great way to build up a strong catalogue of plants. Just make sure you do your research on how each individual plant needs to be cared for – cuttings can be temperamental, so they need looking after.
Invest in Succulent-Based Furniture
Succulents are a huge trend in gardening right now, and it’s easy to see why. They’re tough, can thrive in most places, and you can plant them anywhere – from rockeries to in your garden furniture! They’re a great way to turn your battered old furniture into something on trend and modern, for very little effort. We recommend air plants too for their ability to grow anywhere – you can put them on your pergolas, the edges of your chairs – anywhere. And if that sounds a bit too much like DIY, it’s such a huge trend right now you can find furniture already adapted for that very purpose.
Make a Recycled Garden
You can make a wall hanging garden out of materials you’ll likely have lying around – from broken gutter pipes to old milk bottles. This is a great way to cover your walls or fences with flowers without too much expense, and if you paint whatever junk you use it’ll look vibrant too! This is great for people with small gardens or no soil, since you can build the system entirely from scratch. If you’ve got some garden furniture that’s more worn down than you hoped, you can use it too. Why not knock out the seat of that old chair, and replace it with a planter? Or perhaps use the table as the base of something new? The possibilities are endless.
The Pallet Trend
One of the biggest themes in garden furniture this past year has been the pallet trend. From pallet tables to pallet rope swings, you can find inspiration anywhere. Many companies will give away old pallets for free, meaning you just need to invest in the paint and cleaning products. Cleaning the pallets is vitally important though – they’ve often had pesticides or other chemicals on them, so bleach them, sandpaper them, and give them a good coat of paint before you do anything. Make sure you were gloves, and maybe a mask if you’re worried!
Choose Hardy Plants
Nothing increases the expense of gardening as much as having to replace plants. Try to avoid plants that will flower once and need neglecting, or those that are delicate. Hardy, long-lasting plants will cut your costs in the long term, so try to fill your garden with things like hosta, cerinthe and conifers. Ideally, you want a combination of floral and leafy plants so that it looks great in every season.
Use Raised Beds
If you have money to invest now but want to keep it running cheaply, try out some raised beds. You can stack them into high pyramids, and control the soil conditions so that whatever you grow in their thrives. These are great for small gardens as they provide tons of space, meaning lots of room for vegetables. If you’re good at DIY, they’re easy enough to make – you just need wood and some joins. Definitely worth a try if you’re in this for the long haul. Most good garden furniture stores will sell either kits or pre-made ones.
Finally, accessorise. Garden furniture is great, but on its own it can look a little sparse. Cover them with soft, outdoor-appropriate fabrics – waterproof blankets and cushions can turn even the blandest looking seats into a hippie-like haven. Placement is important too as you can do a lot simply by looking at which colours you’re placing where.