How to get the perfect garden on a budget
Over the past few months our gardens have had to deal with all sorts of weather, so it’s no wonder they’re in need of a little more TLC than normal. No matter what size your garden is, if you’ve let things go a little bit wild, it’s always going to be hard to find the time, money and let’s face it - the enthusiasm to venture outside and get things back in shape.
But don’t worry, we’re here to get you motivated and give you all the right tools to inject some life back into your garden. First thing’s first, you need to find a few spare hours to give your garden the attention it deserves and whatever you do, don’t be put off thinking it’s a task that’s going to set you back a small fortune. With just a few small, thrifty changes you can transform your garden into a glorious space ready for the summer months ahead.
Let’s start with a plan
Before you get stuck in, have and look and see what tools and materials you’ve already got – it’ll save you shelling out on things you might not need. Then figure out where you’d like your new plants and how many you need for the space you have. This way you won’t overspend and end up with too many. If you do need to make some purchases, try not to always opt for the cheapest option, as they might not last as long as you’d hoped. Spending a little more now could really help you save in the long-term.
Take care of your lawn
Cutting the grass costs nothing and is one of the easiest ways to show your garden some love. Always make sure you don’t trim it too short though, as cutting it too close will leave bare patches that don’t look very nice and take a long time to restore. During the summer months, try and get out with the lawn mower regularly - at least once a week is the ideal, and then each time you cut it, it won’t feel like such a chore. If you think you’ve neglected your lawn, learn how to get your lawn back on track.
Wave goodbye to weeds
If you don’t have one already you should definitely invest in a weeding trowel and the great news is you can pick one up for just a few pounds. It’s perfect for removing the roots, which will deter the weeds from growing back as quickly. Weeds also love to crop up in your plant beds. If you find that yours are getting over-run, simply remove the weeds and sow some more plant seeds instead, so they’ll have less space to grow back.
Keep pruning your plants
If you’ve got some weary looking plants in your garden, they’re probably in need of a bit of attention. Regularly trimming and pruning them to get rid of dead heads and pest-infested branches, helps the air circulate, which in turn encourages them to grow and live for longer. The general rule of thumb is to prune your plants once they’ve flowered, to avoid pulling new buds off by mistake.
Flowers that keep on giving
Perennials such as Geraniums, Dahlias and Astrantia look pretty and are the perfect choice if you’re watching the pennies, because they continue to flower for years to come. What’s more, they’re easy to split apart, so you can spread them all around your garden. The trick is to make sure that when you separate them, check there are stalks and roots in each bunch. Once they’ve grown, you can dig them up and do the same again – it’s a great way to make your money and your flowers go further.
Add a splash of colour
Whether it’s an old iron garden chair, washed out fence panels or tired planters, you’d be surprised how a lick of paint can transform your outdoor space and the things within it. Our top tip is don’t be afraid to experiment with different colours. If you’ve got an old tin of bright paint, be bold and inject a pop of colour throughout your garden and you’ll soon see a huge difference.
Be savvy with small spaces
If your garden is a little on the small side, but traps the sun, then why not try hanging a sail-like canopy to bring some much-needed shade? As well as looking great, it doesn’t take up any valuable space unlike a normal garden parasol. Alternatively, if your garden struggles to catch the sun, try hanging an old mirror on a wall or fence. It’ll reflect the natural light making the area feel much brighter and will also give the illusion that your garden’s bigger than it is – clever eh?
Make your garden glow
Outdoor fairy lights and energy-efficient solar lights are available to buy all year round and won’t break the bank. They’re simple to put up and really versatile. Here are some great tips on where to put solar lights to make sure they actually work. You can use them to border your lawn, drape along fences and even feed them through trees and planters. If you opt for a warm white shade, it’ll add a lovely soft glow to your surroundings. LED lights are our favourite, because they last a lot longer and use less energy compared to halogen bulbs.
Create a focal point with pallets
Wooden pallets are so easy to come by these days and with a bit of searching you can often pick them up for free. If you can get your hands on one, there are so many things you can do with it to create a cheap yet eye-catching focal point for your garden. You could cut it up into small planks to create a wooden walkway that links different parts of your garden. Simply arrange how you like and use the soil to secure them. Or alternatively turn it into a feature wall - perfect for growing flowers and herbs.
Growing your own veg (and save £)
It might not be something you’ve ever considered, but it’s easier than you might think. To get started all you need is some compost, a few pots or small patch of soil. Some of the easiest seeds to begin with are salad leaves, tomatoes, beans and potatoes. When you consider a packet of lettuce seeds could produce 16 bags of supermarket salad, it’s well worth investing the time to start growing and start saving! If you’re new to this, we’d suggest giving anything from the cabbage family as miss as they’re prone to attracting pests.
Welcome the wildlife
Bird-feeders are a great way to encourage wildlife in to your garden. You could go crazy and splash out on something fancy, but why do that when you can make one yourself? Whether it’s a used bowl or something vintage like an old cup and saucer you can create a unique feeder for your garden. The birds will flock to it and hearing them sing will instantly make your garden feel like a more inviting place to be - here’s a link on how to build a bird feeder.
Now it’s over to you…
We hope this handy guide has inspired you to start making the most out of your outdoor space. And remember, you don’t have to tackle it on your own – get your family and friends involved and really make a day of it. All those green fingers will transform your garden into something glorious in no time!