Smart ways to create a garden on a budget
Gardening can be an expensive business – but there are lots of clever ways that you can create a beautiful oasis without spending a fortune.
However, when it comes to gardens and landscaping, many people don’t realise that it pays off to invest time, money and effort on the preparation of the ground. What’s in the soil will dictate the long-term health of your plants. So, to avoid the disappointment of seeing your garden fade instead of flourish, you need to put in all the right nutrients, compost, fertilisers, wetting agents and so on into the soil before you even think about planting.
Now for some budget-beating tips on how to create a beautiful garden.
1. Make a plan
However tempting it is to rush to the nursery and fill your boot with beautiful shrubs and flowers, you ought to have a plan first. Define what type of garden you’re after (native, tropical, cottage, resort-style etc) and then draw a plan (to scale) of the whole area that is to be landscaped. This should include placing of garden beds, which plants will be used, where your trees will be placed, what hard landscaping is required (paths, raised beds etc), the irrigation system etc. You may be itching to get going on your garden project, but this is a smart move that you’ll be grateful for down the line – and it doesn’t cost a cent!
2. Source cheap (or free!) plants
The cost of buying plants from a nursery can escalate quickly – especially if you’re buying fairly large quantities. However, there are many cheaper options and your green-fingered friends are a perfect place to start! Ask them if you can have some of their extras when they’re dividing clumps of plants or see if they’re happy to propagate new plants for you from cuttings.
Neighbourhood verges during green waste collection time are another good source of free plants and don’t discount the wilted, sad-looking pots going cheaply at the nursery. Very often, it only takes a little water and TLC before they’re as good as new.
Buying plants online can also be cheaper.
3. Much more mulch
Mulching is good for gardens for many reasons. It helps insulate the soil, provides a buffer against the heat and cold, it retains water and helps keep roots moist and it keeps weeds down. In fact, mulching can reduce watering by up to 60% – so it’s a really good budget-beater too.
It makes so much ‘cents’ to mulch your whole garden, so you should contact your council or local tree lopping contractors to see if they have excess piles of woodchips or mulch which they will give to you for free, provided you collect it.
4. Substitute low-cost materials
If you’re creating pathways in your garden, paving stones or concrete can be very expensive – plus there may be installation costs too. However, loose materials like bark chips, acorn shells, crushed gravel, washed stones or pebbles from your local building supplies merchant are a very attractive alternative and they’ll cost a lot less. What’s more, laying them is an easy DIY job!
5. Simply seeds
Seeds cost a whole lot less than plants – and they’re really easy to grow too. Save on plastic pots by sowing them into egg boxes, toilet roll inners or butter tubs and then transferring the seedlings into your garden.
If you want to create raised garden beds, the humble hollow concrete block is a great budget-beating option. You can lay them standing up or sideways depending on the height of your beds, paint them any colour you like and plant your favourite edging plant in the hollow sections filled with potting soil. Too easy!
7. Search for solutions
You can save a heap of money when you create a garden if you search online for bargains. Websites like Gumtree are a great source for cheap plants, materials, pots and planters, garden tools and even irrigation systems. Don’t be put off by the fact that many items are second-hand. They’re often as good as new or just need a quick spruce-up to look fabulous.
Salvage yards are another great place to look for cheap materials.
8. Lush lawn
Contrary to what many people think, instant lawn isn’t expensive and it can transform a dustbowl into a stunning, green oasis. What is important however, is finding an instant lawn supplier who guarantees that their turf is weed-free and of the highest quality because you don’t want to end up with costly problems down the line.
One such supplier is Greenacres, the largest supplier of roll-on lawn in Perth, who guarantee great value weed-free turf at affordable prices. They also offer expert advice on how to install and care for your instant lawn, so you can save on installation costs too. Have a look at their impressive range of top quality instant lawn varieties at www.greenacresturfgroup.com.au or call them on 08 9525 8822 for a chat with one of their friendly instant-lawn experts.