There are few things more uplifting than a beautiful, productive garden. Watching it change and grow through the seasons, picking your own flowers and produce and welcoming wildlife can create some of the most joyous moments. Gardening can be an expensive pastime, however. So how can you save money in your garden? I’ve got some tips for you.
I could happily wander around a garden centre for hours. If I had the money, I would come out with hundreds of pounds worth of plants. However, this isn’t feasible if you are on a budget and want to stick to it.
Fortunately, there are loads of places to pick up plants very cheaply. Boot sales are great for plants. Traders are often in evidence with professionally grown specimens at a fraction of a shop price, or you might find an enthusiast selling some they have grown themselves for next to nothing. You will sometimes see lovely, healthy plants for sale on driveways too, usually grown by an amateur expert.
Other places for plant bargains to help save money in the garden are Lidl, Aldi, Home Bargains and B&M. They are excellent value.
You can also grow plants like wallflowers, lavender and spreading geraniums from cuttings really easily. They fill a space in the garden in no time. We have quite a large garden at Shoestring Cottage and these plants are perfect for filling flower beds for nothing.
Check out the reduced section
The reduced section in the garden centre is always worth a browse, particularly for perennials. Sometimes they look a little sad, to begin with, but can usually be revived with a little loving care. Almost all of the hollyhocks we have in the garden have self-seeded from one bargain plant in the reduced section.
Grow from seed
It is hard to grow plants more cheaply than from seeds. You can grow a few seedlings and reseal the packets for the following year too, or swap seeds and seedlings with friends.
See how Jo and Leisa come up with free seeds for their garden.
Compost for growing your seeds is often cheaper from the supermarkets and discount stores than from the garden centre. Again, Lidl, Aldi, B&M and Home Bargains are great for this.
You can use any small containers to start your seeds in; just ensure you make some drainage holes. It is a great way to recycle old yoghurt and butter pots, or the plastic containers you buy soft fruit in. I cut up old plastic containers to make plant labels too.
Make your own compost
If you have space, you can save money in your garden by making your own compost. It can be as simple as chucking your lawn clippings, fruit and vegetable peelings and teabags in a pile and turning it once in a while. However, if you want a more scientific approach you can find more detailed information on composting in this ultimate guide, here.
Water tips to save money in your garden
Once you have your garden growing you need to make sure your plants get plenty of water. If you are on a water meter, you will definitely want to invest in a butt or two to help you save money in your garden. You may find that your local council does a scheme where you can purchase both water butts and plastic compost bins at a discount. Have a look at their website.
Because we have a large garden and we both work full time, we tend to steer away from perfection and allow the garden to be a little untidy in places. This allows wildflowers and other self-seeded wildlife friendly plants to flourish. We help this along by having a couple of areas where we sprinkle wildflower seed in the spring.
This approach means lots of butterflies and bees, plenty of secret spaces for frogs and toads to hide and a garden full of birdsong. Best of all, this wildlife-friendly approach costs nothing.
Tools, gadgets and gizmos to save money in your garden
At its most basic level, all you really need in the garden are a spade, a fork, some shears, a trowel, gloves, a hoe, a rake, some pruners, a watering can and, possibly, a lawnmower. You don’t NEED a lawn aerator, a hedge trimmer (unless you have a lot of hedges, shears will do), solar lighting, decking, an automatic watering system, super expensive ceramic planters or designer wellies.
It is easy to get carried away when you begin with a garden, but it is best to buy the basics and add to them as you go if you want to save money in your garden.
Of course, once your garden is looking lovely you will want to sit in it and maybe entertain. Garden furniture can cost thousands of pounds, but it doesn’t need to. We purchased our wooden garden table and chairs from a charity shop. A neighbour was throwing out a bench, which we carted home and upcycled with a few screws and some paint.
You can buy second-hand good quality items on eBay, Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace. If you sign up to your local Freecycle group you might even pick items up for nothing!
This guest post is from Jane Berry, who blogs at www.shoestringcottage.com about all things money saving and living the best life for less.
Have you got a well-manicured garden? Or have you almost given up on it? What would be your top tips for having a pretty garden? I recently saw someone make use of several old tyres to plant both flowers as well as potatoes in! How’s that for frugality? Do share your ideas with us in the comment box below.
Thanks to Jane for putting together such a lovely post for us.