Ideas on How to Make an Interesting Small Garden on a Tight Budget
How to Make an Interesting Garden for Next to Nothing
Love Your Garden or Yard
I love gardening, but I never seem to have much spare money left to spend on it, so I’ve had to be creative and come up with ways to make my small garden interesting and pretty on a very tight, shoestring budget. My family spends a lot of time outdoors in the garden—eating, playing or simply lounging—and I love creating a great place for us all to enjoy. I love it even more when I know just how little money I've had to spend to get it that way.
I never throw much away; I keep any broken old mugs or interesting jars, glasses, and tin pots as I find they make interesting containers for small plants. Herbs look particularly good in small pots. Keep them just outside the kitchen; fresh herbs are so much better than the dried variety.
You can buy living herb plants from most supermarkets now, and if you pot them up outside, they will grow well and last for years. I have had the same mint, chives and parsley plants for at least five years, and they are still going strong. They have saved me a small fortune over the years. They look pretty, too; if you let chives grow, they produce beautiful purple flowers. Rosemary, too, has a very nice flower stem that is a lovely pale violet colour.
Pots of Herbs Growing on a Patio Table
Save Interesting Old Cups and Glasses
How to Get Plants for Free
Save seeds! All of the flowers in the pictures above have been grown from seed. You can ask friends or family to save a few seed heads if they have interesting plants. When you have grown them, you can always give a couple of seedlings back to the people who gave you the seeds in the first place.
Take cuttings from other people's interesting plants—remember to ask for permission first, though. Many cuttings can be persuaded to grow roots, even if you just stick them in a glass of water on a sunny window ledge. Remember to change the water every two days to avoid the build-up of bacteria, which can stop your cuttings from producing roots.
A Water Feature Adds Interest to Any Garden or Yard
Help Your Garden Surprise People
I scour charity shops and car boot sales for interesting looking things that I can place around the garden. I like to surprise people, children love hunting around in my garden as they never know what they might find.
The fish by the water feature in the above photo cost me 50p in a junk shop. He looks wonderful when the sun shines through his glass scales. The small copper lizards in the photo below were four for a pound at a church tabletop sale—a real bargain. I have them dotted around on walls.
A Great Bargain Find, Looks Almost Real From a Distance
Wall Hanging Container Filled With Plants
Rust Can Be Good
I use old wall hanging candle holders as hangers for wind chimes and hanging baskets.
The sun face wind chime with the bells was given to me by the shopkeeper because it was the last one he had and it had gone rusty!
I happen to think it looks beautiful that way and would have rusted soon enough anyway, as you can tell from the hanging bells that I did buy from him the same day.
Interesting wall mounted pots look good simply filled with any trailing plant, I think my queen's head pot looks best with reds and pinks. You could also try filling something similar with trailing strawberries or cherry tomatoes.
Adding Interest to a Dark Corner
Beachcombing for the Garden
When I take a trip to the beach, I always pick up a few seashells as they make an interesting and practical mulch for pots, they keep moisture in and the weeds out.
Beaches are a great place to pick up interesting looking driftwood too. Never take large rocks or cobbles from beaches it adds to coastal erosion.
The cobbles dotted around can be bought from most builders yards for a couple of pounds a bag. Much cheaper than if you go to a garden centre.
Lighting is an important tool to make a garden more interesting. I use old lanterns and stand them in pots of varying heights filled with soil and sand then top them with shells and pebble.
I make my own compost by saving all the raw vegetable scraps, tea bags, coffee grounds and cuttings from the garden, I have two compost bins on the go at all times so I have a ready supply of nicely rotted compost whenever I need it. I also collect the fallen leaves in autumn and make a leaf pile in a secluded spot at the bottom of the garden. This too makes an excellent compost.
If you group together fun, different things it makes for a much more interesting garden than a very formal one in my opinion. And if you follow these small tips it shouldn’t cost you very much either.
Old Mocking Mask Found in a Charity Shop
Old Cracked Buddha Head and China Balls
Plant bulbs that divide themselves each year, snowdrops are perfect. Chose a shady area of the garden, under a tree or large bush. Plant the bulbs at least twice their own depth and watch them multiply year after year.
After flowering, you can dig up a few bulbs and spread them around the garden for even more flowers next season, or swop them for something else with a friend or neighbour.
Snowdrops in Spring
Simple Tips, But They Do Work
By using these simple tips you should be able to make an interesting small garden or yard on a tight budget too. You can easily adapt these tips for a roof garden or balcony, just use pots and hanging baskets and be careful of weight limits.
Questions & Answers
© 2010 Galaxy Harvey