How to Make a Garden on a Budget - Top Money Saving Tips

Updated on May 8, 2019
bac2basics profile image

Since I live in an area full of rocks, the planters I built myself cost very little. They are really helping to beautify my garden!

My Own Garden Made on a Budget

This little raised bed section is filled with plants grown mainly from cuttings or seed and is also under planted with cheap bulbs with differing flowering times for year round interest.
This little raised bed section is filled with plants grown mainly from cuttings or seed and is also under planted with cheap bulbs with differing flowering times for year round interest. | Source

Let the Plants Be the Stars of the Show

Despite what all the garden makeover shows would have us believe, you don´t have to have expensive paving and decking, water features, statuary, and state of the art lighting to make your garden a beautiful haven for you and the local wildlife to enjoy. Once upon a time it was the actual plants that were the stars of the show in a garden.

It´s all very well watching a team of experts getting stuck in and transforming a weed-ridden plot into a show garden in 48 hours with no expense spared, but how many of us are likely to have that luxury handed to us on a plate?

Making a lovely garden can be very expensive and the initial preparation can be hard work; it´s not something you can achieve overnight. However, if you have the will to succeed, a little know how, a few ideas, a strong back and patience, it is possible to create your dream garden. I will give you some tips on how to do this and keep within a budget.

Learn the Basics of Gardening Before You Start

If you are new to gardening, it´s important you learn something before making a start to avoid costly mistakes. All the information you need is out there.

Another good way to learn is by joining a local gardening club. Good for learning from experienced gardeners and with the added possibility of some free plants or seeds or cuttings.

Taking on a New-to-You Garden

If you are taking on a new-to-you garden, for example, after moving to a new house, you may be faced with what looks like a jungle or even a building site.

Taking on someone´s neglected garden will probably make you feel like getting the weed killer out, but if you do this you may be destroying some real treasures.

Instead, I would advise that you give the garden a good tidy and cut back anything overgrown, and then sit back and see what the garden produces in your first year, or even just wait to see what pops up in the spring.

Give yourself time to get a feel for the plot and what you think would work well for you, and then start drawing up your plans.

Grow Your Own Plants

Growing from seed, taking cuttings, and dividing plants is not rocket science. Anyone can do it and the beauty is that you can increase the stock in your garden at no or very little cost.

If you really get into it, and I´m sure you will once your first cuttings strike or your first sowing of seeds appear and flourish, then you can start swapping with friends or even sell some.

If you are friendly with other gardeners and you see something in their gardens which really takes your fancy, just ask them if they wouldn’t mind saving a few seed heads or a few cuttings or a portion of the root when they are doing their autumn or spring tidy up.

Of course, producing your own plants does take time, but the whole point of this article is to save you money and growing your own plants will save you a fortune.

Looking For Bargains When Buying Plants

If you are looking for an instant garden (if such a thing does indeed exist...I´ve been gardening for 20 odd years and still haven´t managed one!), then you need to buy large specimens to fill it. This is expensive, and it´s amazing how much bare soil you will still have showing even when you have been out and spent an absolute fortune on plants.

Mighty Oak´s From Little Acorns Grow

Normally plants are priced by the size of pot they are in, in other words a plant in a 3 litre pot costs a lot more than a plant in a 1 litre pot so the 3 litre plant has been grown on until it´s bigger. Hence the increase in price. But once you have bought and planted the 1 litre pot sized plant (and specially if you have done a good job of preparing the planting hole and you keep it watered until it gets its roots established) unless it´s something renowned for its slow growth, such as box hedging for example, it will soon attain the size of the 3 litre pot plant anyway.

Hassle For a Good Deal

Another way to buy plants cheaply is to look around your local Garden Centre or the garden section of your DIY shop. You will often come across plants that have been neglected and therefore the price reduced. Most of the time all these sickly looking individuals need is a good water and feed. If you think the price of these bargain basement plants is still too high, do a bit of haggling with the sales assistants, you never know.

I bought 2 hardy geraniums this way, both looked very sorry for themselves and one had no label so I didn´t know what to expect when it flowered. Both bloomed their hearts out after a little TLC and became real show stoppers.

Sunday Shopping

Car boot sales and gardens open to the public can also yield some great bargains, and you could be picking up some real rarities too.

If you live in the UK look out for a copy of the NGS (National Gardens Scheme) "yellow book of gardens open to the public for charity," not only will you pick up some great ideas for your own garden, but there will be loads of plants for sale too. Many of these gardens contain national collections, so if you are in to a specific type of plant, go along and have a real feast.

Look Out For Plants With More Than One Season Of Interest

It´s also worth considering what seasons of interest your plants, shrubs and trees will give you. E.g. will they just give a nice show of flowers in the spring and that´s all, or will they give you a nice show of flowers, gorgeous autumn colours, and a reasonably good structure when the leaves eventually fall?

Borrow A Neighbours Tree

Another crafty and free trick you can use is to borrow a neighbour’s tree!!!! Figuratively speaking that is. If you find somewhere near your border or even in the distance, a tree you particular like the look of, plant some shrubs at your side of the fence which would look well as a contrast and in time your fence will not be visible and so it will be hard to tell that your neighbours tree isn´t in fact growing in your garden.

Likewise you can also borrow a nice vista.

Grow Some Veggies

Create a vegetable patch or grow some in pots or a green house, or you could go old cottage garden style and just plant some in your flower borders. If you do the latter check up which plants will actually protect your food plants from attack by garden pests. It´s called companion planting.

4 Golden Rules About Planting

  1. Always prepare the planting site well. Make sure it´s been well dug and conditioned. Dig a nice big hole...I once heard it said the best way is to dig a half crown hole for a six penny plant...for those of you too young to remember money before decimalisation..It would equate these days to digging a 50 pence hole for a 5p plant. Sprinkle some plant food on the soil you have removed and this will go into the hole when you in fill. Give the site a good water, puddling it around the base of the plant and then water regularly until the plant has spread its roots a bit and become established.
  2. Always take account of the plants needs and eventual size. Many plants labelled as requiring some shade will do perfectly well in an open sunny position...specially in the UK and cooler climate zones. But there are some plants that will not tolerate the wrong soil conditions so it´s worth investing in a soil testing kit to find out the ph of your garden, and it´s important to do this in a lot of different areas as you could have acid in some places and alkaline in others. Again it´s not rocket science and you don´t need a master degree to carry it out. Don't despair if there´s a particular plant you like but your soil wouldn´t..You can always grow it in a pot..
  3. A common mistake especially when you are new to gardening is to plant things too closely the label and give plants and particulay shrubs the room they need to spread. It will save you a huge amount of hard work in the long run. You can sow annual seeds in the spaces which have been left for the shrub to fill out, or even stick in some cane´s and grow some sweet peas or even runner beans for a year or two. If I wasn´t advocating creating a garden on a budget I may suggest you fill in the gaps with bedding, but this can be a costly way of going about things as they will only last one season and I much prefer perennials anyway.
  4. Make sure you plant at the correct time of year. Some plant´s, for instance trees and shrubs will not do well if planted in summer, whilst other plants will die very quickly if planted in the winter.

Make Your Own Compost and Plant Feed

Making and using your home made compost is easy and a real treat for your soil.

Compost bins can be easily made using fencing posts and chicken wire or an old dustbin perforated with holes, or your local council may provide them free or for a reduced price.

Remember to layer what you are putting on the compost heap, basically just layer it up with woody stems and things that break down slowly followed by vegetable household waste, eggshells, coffee grounds and trimmings from garden plants. NEVER WEEDS THOUGH.

Compost heaps do need turning occasionally and keeping moist...and here´s a money saving tip for those who dare, don’t waste money on expensive compost accelerators, urine does the same job and cost´s nothing !!!

Manure...look out for this, it´s quite often free to those willing to bag and transport it, and one of the best things you can do for your garden is to spread a good layer over your soil in the autumn, letting the worms bury it, or dig it in when preparing a bed in the spring. Be aware that un sterilized manure does carry weed and wild flower and grass seed though and might be more suitable for a veg plot where the soil is regularly hoed. Only use it on a flower bed if you are prepared to spend time weeding.

You can even make your own plant feed out of nettles...subject of another hub!

Money Saving Ideas for Hard Landscaping

Paths and Seating Areas

Decking and paving can be very expensive especially if you also have to pay someone to lay it. Bark chippings or gravel or pebbles bought from a builder’s merchant can be a much cheaper alternative and easily laid.

Another hard wearing solution for these areas is of course concrete.

Plain concrete is rather boring so why not nip along to your local tile shop and see if they have any smashed tiles you could take off their hands for free and design your own mosaics to cheer everything up. Pebbles and stones, pieces of slate etc can look very attractive too and you may be able to find all this actually in your garden.

Make stepping stones with any left over concrete.

If paving is what you really want, have a look in classified ad´s section or even post an ad yourself.

Have a look round a reclamation yard.

Consider fake stone paving. This is much cheaper than the real deal and it´s hard to tell the difference.

How to Make Compost

How to Make an Easy Gravel Path

I thought these Hollyhocks grown from free seed had been destroyed in a wildfire, but after cutting everything hard back and waiting I am delighted to see they came back better than ever. Mother nature is a wonderful thing.
I thought these Hollyhocks grown from free seed had been destroyed in a wildfire, but after cutting everything hard back and waiting I am delighted to see they came back better than ever. Mother nature is a wonderful thing.

Garden Furniture

It´s nice to have somewhere to sit and enjoy actually looking at the garden you have made. Eating and entertaining outside is a joy, weather permitting of course. Or just somewhere to sit and rest your weary bones and enjoy the fresh air after a long day in a stuffy workplace.

There´s no reason why equipping your garden with seating and eating furniture should cost you an arm and a leg. Once again I am thinking of second hand bargains and skip finds. (Please ask permission before removing anything from a skip). Or you could look in your local DIY store for end of season bargains in the garden section.

Tables and chairs don´t have to be specifically labelled “garden furniture” as a coat or two of external paint or varnish will protect them from the worst of the weather

In my last garden in the UK I needed a small coffee type table on which to place a homemade cake and coffee cups, so I was more than delighted to find a discarded cable reel which I painted with fence paint and made a cover for out of an off cut of pretty fabric. It did the job I wanted it to do and cost me practically nothing.

Make a Pergola out of Wooden Tree Stakes

I wanted a pergola in one of my gardens and couldn´t afford a ready made self assembly one, but wooden tree stakes made a marvellous alternative, and my climbing rose´s and honeysuckle didn´t mind one bit that their support cost a fraction of the price.

Make the Best of What You Have

Work with what´s already in your garden and try to look at the positive aspects.

For instance if you have a garden that seems to grow rock´s... Great !!! Dig them out and use them to make raised beds, which you can then fill with rock free soil, allowing yourself the opportunity of growing things that need an easy and deep root run.

Heavy clay soil... fabulous! Dig in plenty of shingle and manure and you have a good moisture retaining and nutrient holding medium.

After a wildfire destroyed all the trees lining the track leading to my house I built a lot of field stone planters to pretty everything up. They cost very little to make as I gathered all the rock from nearby fields and my own land.
After a wildfire destroyed all the trees lining the track leading to my house I built a lot of field stone planters to pretty everything up. They cost very little to make as I gathered all the rock from nearby fields and my own land. | Source

The Last Word

I hope this article has inspired you to have a go at creating your own garden on a budget. And I also hope that you create your garden within organic guidelines. Wild life comes free if you do and this is an added bonus.

Remember your garden will be unique to you and doesn´t have to have all the latest designer ideas to be beautiful.

Happy gardening to you all!

Your comments and votes are really appreciated so please do leave some..Thanks

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • bac2basics profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Spain

      Nell Rose

      Hi Nell.

      I´m fine thanks but still trying to find a buyer for the villa! Hopefully this year. xx

    • profile image

      Nell Rose 

      3 years ago

      Good to see you! hows everything going?

    • bac2basics profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Spain


      Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment.

      I really do feel that sometimes garden makeover shows concentrate too much on expensive architecture. All that stuff should take second place to the actual design and plants I feel.

    • poetryman6969 profile image


      5 years ago

      Some good tips. Especially on avoiding all the fancy architecture stuff.

    • bac2basics profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Spain

      Hi Marieryan.

      Lovely to meet you and I´m so pleased you found inspiration from this hub.

      Here´s another tip for you, try mixing your bought plants with some wildflowers when you get around to making your borders, I have done this in my own garden and it has worked very well. As you know there are some beautiful wildflowers growing here in Spain and actually they are things you would buy in a nursery in the UK. Beware also of what you buy. I know in some of the garden centres around me they sell plants which are totally unsuited to the climate and conditions here. If you are unsure it´s better to check the labels and then keep these plants in pots so that you can regulate what they need with ease.

    • marieryan profile image

      Marie Ryan 

      7 years ago from Andalusia, Spain

      Thanks so much for this. I am so pleased I found your article which has inspired me.When I first moved into my new house, also here in Spain, but in Málaga, Andalucía, I inherited a jungle and didn't know how to cope. I had it paved over as soon as I could, but now that I have more time I'm regretting that badly. At the moment I am trying to fill the boring, empty space with pots and plants but, it is taking a lot of cash to even just make a small impression! I am certainly going to use some of your money-saving suggestions.

    • bac2basics profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Spain

      Hi Ignugent. I hope your garden gives you pleasure this year too, and you have good weather in which to sit out and enjoy it. Lovely to hear from you and many thanks for taking the time to read and comment :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I always admire beautiful gardens. I do hope this year I will have a good one. Thanks for the ideas your shared. :-)

    • bac2basics profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Spain

      Hi Daffodilsky and many thanks once again for linking this to a hub of yours, I really appreciate that. Have a fantastic day, I know you are enjoying some much needed sunshine :)

    • DaffodilSky profile image

      Helen Lush 

      7 years ago from Cardiff, Wales, UK

      Great hub - voted up! Will link up with my own garden hub as promised. This is full of sensible and useful advice :)

    • bac2basics profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Spain

      Hi Better yourself. It´s good that you have had time to think before making a start, planning is crucial in the garden to avoid costly mistakes and save yourselves back breaking work at a later stage. Check out my hub on field stone planters for more low cost ideas. I hope you enjoy getting stuck into your gardening work and it gives you pleasure for years to come. Many thanks also for taking the time to read and comment, I really appreciate that. Happy gardening :)

    • Better Yourself profile image

      Better Yourself 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Great hub! Our yard has been a blank canvas since we moved in and we've been planning ideas for a while and are excited to finally get started. This is great info you've shared!

    • bac2basics profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Spain

      Hi Deborah. Thank you for your great comments, much appreciated. I know you love gardening too and hope you have had a good summer in yours :)

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 

      7 years ago from Iowa

      What a comprehensive hub full of great gardening tips! It's a great resource for anyone who wants to tackle a garden project. Good job.

    • bac2basics profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Spain

      Hi Red, Thank you so much for your support. Along with some other people who Iam following I feel I have a real connection with you and all support is vital at this time, and very much appreciated. I am going to make some changes to the garden after the clean up, I need to make it lower maintenance anyway.

      Good job I know what I'm doing lol xx

    • Redberry Sky profile image

      Redberry Sky 

      8 years ago

      Oh my God, Annie, that's utterly terrifying for you and the thousands evacuated from the city. I had no idea until I just read this from you, and went to look at the BBC coverage - you're right, they had nothing on it as far as I could see (though most of the newspapers have picked it up). I hope you're all right - your lovely garden will grow back in no time, don't worry - as long as you're not hurt, that's the main thing. I hope you're getting over the shock. Thinking of you, Red x

    • bac2basics profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Spain

      Hi Red. Thank you so much for dropping by, sorry I took so long to get back to you, but we have suffered a terrible forest fire where I live ( Valencia) and I have been really badly hit. My garden now is burned and so is the surrounding countryside which was really beautiful ,It now looks like a scene from hell. I will pick up though and the garden will be back to it´s former glory at some stage.I know there has been no coverage on British TV about this major disaster, but information is on canal nou 24 hour news channel on the internet. Your praise for my hub came at a good time. Thankyou.

    • Redberry Sky profile image

      Redberry Sky 

      8 years ago

      This is fantastic information, Annie, I can't believe I've not spotted this Hub before - I've been looking for ideas and help with gardening because my own has become incredibly wild and unruly. I think I'll have to call in a professional to clear the first haul (it really does look like a magical haunted forest right now!) but when it's a little more under control I'll be back to get all your gardening secrets from you! :)

    • bac2basics profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Spain

      Hi Tillson. Many thanks for dropping by, and your great comments and votes. Glad you enjoyed this hub. Happy gardening to you :)

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      8 years ago from New York

      You really packed this hub full of information, all of it good! You surely don't have to break the bank to start a garden and if you think ahead in a year or two you'll have a lovely flower garden you can be proud of.

      Your own compost is not only inexpensive but always accessible.

      I enjoyed reading this as I am a gardener through and through!

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • bac2basics profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Spain

      Good for you...with those kind of ethics your business will surely bloom !!

    • DS Duby profile image

      DS Duby 

      8 years ago from United States, Illinois

      ME neither even as a contractor, I've always tried to find my customers value and beauty without spending the big money.

    • bac2basics profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Spain

      Thankyou so much DS Duby. I´m so not into buying into what I call " designer mentality"

    • DS Duby profile image

      DS Duby 

      8 years ago from United States, Illinois

      awesome garden and you are so write about letting the plants be the stars, there's no reason to buy into all of the expensive landscaping accessories when a natural living look is so much more beautiful. Up vote with an awesome, great writing.

    • bac2basics profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Spain

      Thank you so much for your comment. I am new to all this and you are the first person to give me some positive feedback on-line. wow. Thanks also for your tip.

    • Georgina_writes profile image

      Georgina Crawford 

      8 years ago from Dartmoor

      You created a very pretty garden. Nice writing and I like the visuals too.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)