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Last updated on: February 6th, 2020
People often look for ways to spruce up their outdoor living space without breaking the bank. With a little time and creativity, you can have a magazine spread-worthy garden or yard. In this post we bring you a few tips to help you build a great garden on a budget.
If you are looking to plant a lot of new flowers, buying planters and pots can eat up a lot of your budget. You may be surprised by how many things you have laying around that can double as a home for your new flowers or plants. Here are just a few things that make awesome planters:
- Old tires
- Toys (like a toy dump truck or drum)
- Wine bottles
- Empty paint cans
- Coffee or tea tins
- Pots or deep pans
If you take the time to look at what you already have, you can probably come up with some even more creative ideas of your own. By upcycling planters, your new garden additions will have stylish homes. The only thing to keep in mind with upcycling is that doing too much can give your space a junkyard feel. Your personal preferences and style will help dictate how much upcycling you can do.
Look for Deals
Did you know that craigslist has a “free” section? This is a great place to find free plants or compost. You may even be able to find some planters or pots this way. Bartering is another way to get the supplies you need cheaply. During the spring and summer, garage sales are another way to find planters at low prices. Flea markets are another place to check and they often happen year round. If compost is what you are looking for, try contacting your local tree-trimming companies. They often have giant piles of mulch that they will give you at no cost.
A packet of seeds will cost you a fraction of what seedlings will cost you. You can get a much bigger variety and fill your garden quickly if you are willing to do the work that comes with planting from seeds. In order to be successful, it may be a good idea to start your plants out indoors. If you are patient, you can skip this step and plant directly into the ground.
If you have several friends who are into gardening or perhaps want to make some, you can throw a seed swapping party. Simply save seeds every fall and then trade them for others come spring. This is a great way for both you and your friends to get a good variety of plants in your gardens at very little cost.
Certain things are hard to grow from a seed. This is where taking a cutting from a friend who already has an established plant comes in. Just take a few pencil-sized sticks from the plant and put them in moist perlite. It may take a few weeks, but you should eventually see roots starting to form. Almost every single perennial can be planted this way, as well as shrubs, vines, and several types of trees.
Did you know that certain perennials can be easily divided into separate plants? Perennials that grow in clumps are great for this. Geraniums would be a good choice for your first time attempting to divide and spread plants. Just take the plant out of the pot and gently pull it into two or even three pieces. Each piece needs to have roots and some stalk attached in order for this to work. Now plant these with a decent amount of space in between. They will naturally grow and spread. Each season, you can dig up your plants and do this process again. Over the years, one plant can turn into dozens and fill your garden!
Make Your Own Fertilizer
If you really want to save some money and don’t mind a bit of a mess, you can make your own fertilizer. Store-bought soil additives can be quite pricey and this is a great way to save some cash. If you have your own chicken coop or other farm animals, you already have your main ingredient. Local farmers may laugh at you but will ultimately be happy to let you clean out their barns as well. Mix the manure you collect with your grass clippings or leaves. To really make your fertilizer potent, crush your eggshells up and add it to your mixture. This will give your soil a boost of calcium and phosphorus.
Make a Cheap Path
One way to make your garden look fancier is to add a path through it. Using paving stones or pouring cement can be extremely expensive. Gravel, on the other hand, looks great and is much more affordable. Decide where you want your path to go and clearly mark it. You will need to lay a permeable membrane down underneath the gravel. Otherwise, weeds will quickly take over. When you pour your gravel, you will want it to be roughly an inch deep. Since gravel comes in different shades and colors, this is a great way to personalize your outdoor space.
Light Up your Lawn
Exterior lighting can be both useful and decorative. Luckily, some of the cheapest lights are also the most beautiful. Search for outdoor “fairy lights” and you will find some great options to choose from. This can usually be purchased seasonally in stores. If it is the off season, you can find them online. These lights can be hung along a fence, patio furniture, or strung in trees, shrubs, or bushes. A long extension cord may be necessary to get your lights exactly where you want them.
One great way to make your yard more visually pleasing is to add a tree or two. This really draws the eye to different heights and areas of your garden. There are several small tree varieties that can be purchased relatively cheaply. Crabapple trees are a popular option for beginners because they are easy to keep alive.
It’s evident that gardening on a budget, when done well can go a long way in forming beautiful gardens. We hope you found inspiration from the points in this post from Gardenknow and we wish you the best of luck in your gardening journey.