Your garden is your oasis, and you want it to look as nice as it possibly can. If you’re on a budget, though, you might be overwhelmed by the idea of doing any upgrades.
Don’t worry, though, there are plenty of things you can do for little to no money that can take your garden to the next level.
Here are some things you can do to make your garden look nice with little to no money.
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To make sure you get the garden of your dreams without wasting time or money, planning is key. Here are some of the things you should think about in the early stages.
1. Take your time
When budget matters, you want to make sure you make the most of every penny, and that means careful planning. Take your time and make sure you get it right.
Before you buy anything, take a good walk about your garden and learn as much as you can. What type of soil do you have and what will grow best in it? Is there an area that gets a lot of shade or where water collects?
With careful planning, you can make sure that you know what plants work best so you don’t waste money on those that don’t.
2. Collect inspiration
Take a walk around your neighborhood and look for ideas. Knowing what your neighbors have planted in their yards can help you figure out what works best in your region and determine what are natural species. Ask people what plants have worked best for them and if there’s anything that didn’t do well.
Then, head to the garden center to browse. Make note of who has the best prices and quality as well as who has a bigger selection. This way, when you’re ready, you’ll know where to shop to get the best deals.
3. Don’t make any impulse buys
If you plan carefully and take your time figuring out what you want, you’re more likely to put together a garden that will thrive. Problems arise when you buy things without thinking them through properly.
So, if you’re walking around the garden center and you see something you like, don’t just pick it up and put it in your cart. First, make sure you have a place for it and know how to care for it. If it’s not the right plant, it’s unlikely to survive.
4. Make use of what you already have
The biggest way to save money in your garden is to make use of what you already have instead of buying everything new. Do you have old flower pots in the garage? An old metal wheelbarrow you can repurpose for planting?
Upcycle the things you have. Repaint mismatched flowerpots, use old pallets to build a vertical garden wall, or drill a drainage hole in the bottom of an old mixing bowl and use it as a planter.
5. Shop secondhand
Now that you figured out how to reuse your own stuff, hit up thrift stores and yard sales and see if there’s anything useful. You never know what you might find: plant pots, old garden hoses, benches, stones, and more.
If you go to a secondhand shop or flea market with an open and creative mind, you’re likely to find all kinds of things that you can repurpose. All it takes is a little planning and ingenuity.
6. Prepare your garden thoroughly
One of the best things you can do for your garden is to tackle any weeds before you plant. Weeds compete with your plants and make it more difficult for them to thrive. So, to get the most out of what you plant and the money you spent on it, get rid of the weed first.
If you’re planting in the ground, it’s a good idea to have the soil tested so you know if you need to add any amendments. You can also make your compost to make sure you keep the soil nourished so it’s ready for planting.
7. Stick with native plants
Sticking with native plants ensures that the plants you choose are more likely to thrive in the climate where you live. It’s possible to grow plants from other climates, but it’s often a lot of work. Sticking with native plants avoids extra costs like irrigation or grow lamps, and it eliminates any worries about caring for the plants in the winter.
8. Take advantage of simple things
Sometimes, adding a different color mulch, placing large rocks, or choosing different gravel or stones makes a big impact. Yes, some of these options are pricey when bought brand new, but keep your eye on local buy-sell-trade groups. Some people may be trying to get rid of materials that would work great in your yard.
Buying seedlings can be expensive, but there are some other ways to make the most of a limited budget and get enough plants to fill your garden.
1. Use large container pots
Getting the soil ready to plant can be costly and time-consuming, especially if you have to add a lot of amendments to get the ideal growing conditions. Raised beds are great, but they can be costly.
The easiest way to grow a few veggies or plants without having to invest in too many extras is to use containers. You can find large containers in most stores, but you can also get creative and use what you have one hand. Just add a draining hole to make sure the soil aerates and doesn’t hold onto too much water.
2. Start with seeds
Seedlings are easy because you can plant them right away, but growing things from seeds is much more cost-efficient. If you plan to go this route, start by planting them indoors in the spring. By the time planting season comes around, you’ll have seedlings of your own, ready to go.
3. Divide and propagate
If you have a large perennial that you can split into two plants, do it! You’re essentially doubling the number of plants you have for free.
You can also propagate some plants, snipping off leaves and nodes and placing them either in water or soil until they root.
Décor and More
Now that you have some idea of the plants you want to add and how you’re going to approach your setup, you’re ready to move onto cool and inexpensive projects to take your garden up a notch.
Marking out trails and walkways through your garden is a great touch and really pulls everything together. Use large paver stones, rocks, or bricks to mark paths. You can even fill the area around them with mulch or pebbles to make them stand out even more.
If you’re interested in a more involved DIY project, you can make your cement stones by building a frame and pouring them yourself.
2. Cinder block vertical garden
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to set up a vertical garden, it’s as easy as stacking cinder blocks. Add small plant pots into the openings or stagger the blocks so that there are shelves where you can place larger plants.
Making your own wind chimes is pretty easy, and they add lovely sounds to your garden. You can use just about any type of glass or ceramic, including sea glass, pieces of a broken plate, or any other small trinkets you have around the house.
You can drill holes in each piece if you want to or just wrap some brightly colored string, twine, or fishing line around each piece to secure it. Hang them from a tree branch or hook and enjoy!
If you’ve looked at metal firepits and find them a bit too pricey, you can make your own using things you might already have around the house. All you have to do is place large stones or bricks in a circle and fill the center with sand.
5. Make your own plant stand
Making your own outdoor rustic plant stand is pretty easy. All you need is some sand, gravel, and planks. Spread out some sand, then add a layer of gravel. The sand will stabilize the gravel, giving you a solid base for your shelves.
Then, use two cinder blocks as a base and lay a board across. Add another layer of cinder blocks and another board, and repeat one or two more times. Then, add your favorite plant pots and you’re done!
6. Add a birdhouse
Don’t underestimate how much joy a simple birdhouse can bring. Add on or two to the trees in your backyard and enjoy spotting new friends as the birds figure out there’s a feast to be had.
7. Add twinkle lights
Outdoor lighting adds so much atmosphere to a garden at night. There are many styles of hanging garden lights available, but if you want something cheap, you can always repurpose your Christmas lights.
There are many ways you can make your garden look nice without spending any money. All it takes is a little bit of planning and a lot of creativity.