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Transform your outdoors with these budget garden ideas

By Ellie Reeves | 6th April 2023 | 6 min read

10 modern garden ideas for when you’re on a budget

Looking for new ways to refresh your garden without breaking the bank? Creating a glorious garden isn’t as pricey as you might think. From collecting rainwater and planting perennials to using recycled materials – there are loads of ways you can transform your dreary garden into a patch of paradise.

We’re all beginning to feel the pinch, but that doesn’t mean you have to put your garden makeover plans on the back burner. With these budget garden ideas, you can transform your outdoors into your favourite spot for hosting, relaxing, and playing with the little ones.

Keep on reading for our pick of the best cheap garden ideas to inspire your next makeover project. Impress your guests (for less) with these creative garden ideas on a budget.

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1. Use recycled materials

Give old materials a new lease of life by transforming them into planters or garden furniture. Use old wooden pallets to create an inexpensive large planter, or you could use rubber tyres to create a quirky planter in your garden. You could paint wooden pallets and affix them to your garden wall to create a flourishing vertical garden. Use old egg boxes as a container for sowing seeds or recycle plastic bottles into unique plant pots. There are so many creative ways that you can recycle and upcycle old items in your garden. Let your creativity run wild!

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2. Collect rainwater to save money on watering costs

Why not take advantage of our great British downfalls and install a water butt to collect and store rainwater? Rainwater contains nitrates and organic matter which helps to feed and nourish your plants. So not only are you saving money on water, but you’re saving money on plant food too! Water butts are quick and easy to install, and they could save you up to 24,000 litres of water a year. Install a water butt in your garden and you’ll save money on bills, reduce water waste, and you’ll even have healthier plants! What’s not to love? Find out how to install a water butt with our easy how to guide.

Top tip: water your houseplants with rainwater

Rainwater is free from salts and chemicals that can be found in treated tap water. So if you always struggle to keep your indoor plants happy, use rainwater on them, you won’t regret it.

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3. Refresh your garden fence with paint

If your fence is starting to look a bit shabby and worn down, don’t replace it – paint it! All you need is a spare afternoon and a few inexpensive tools and materials to bring it back to life. If you want to make a statement in your garden, why not paint a colourful feature on your fence panels? From ombre effect to geometric patterns – your fence is the perfect blank canvas for you to decorate and show off your personality. Need some DIY advice? Check out our step-by-step guide and learn how to paint a wooden fence.

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4. Plant perennials for colour year after year

Want to create a cheap and low maintenance garden? Plant perennials in your beds, borders and containers. Perennials will bloom year after year, whereas annuals die at the end of the season and will need to be replanted. By planting perennials in your garden, you won’t need to fork out as much money on new bedding plants. They may take a year or two to establish themselves, but once they’re settled in – you can rely on them for unrivalled beauty and colour every year. Some of our favourite low maintenance perennials are Coreopsis, Geranium and Asiatic Lily.

Top tip: plant a wide variety of perennials

The perennial flowering season is often shorter than annuals, so make sure to plant a wide variety of perennials so that you’ve got a fabulous show of colour throughout the seasons.

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5. Add ambience with solar-powered garden lights

No garden is complete without the warm atmospheric glow from twinkling garden lights. If you’ve got a large garden, ensuring that it is well lit can be quite an expensive endeavour. Instead of relying on mains or battery powered garden lights, why not opt for solar powered ones? Once purchased, solar powered garden lights don’t require any extra money to run – they’re powered by our free energy source in the sky – the sun. Simply place the sensor in a sunny spot and your solar lights will do a stellar job of lighting up your garden after dusk.

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6. Build a composter and feed your garden for free

When you’re gardening on a budget, there are lots of little ways you can save some cash. Why spend money on compost when you can create your own nutrient rich soil for free? Turn your vegetables peelings and food scraps into food for your plants with a composter. By making your own compost you’re not only saving yourself some pennies, but you’re also helping to leave waste off the landfill. Check out our handy composting guide for advice on what can and can’t be composted. And watch our video to discover how to build your own compost bin.

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7. Plant seeds and bulbs instead of buying mature plants

If you want to create a gorgeous garden full of colourful blooms on a budget, then patience is key. It’s a lot cheaper to buy seeds and bulbs than it is to buy mature plants, so why not sow some seeds and watch your plants grow? There is something extremely satisfying and rewarding about nurturing plants and watching them grow from seedling to fully fledged foliage. If you’ve got the time (and commitment) to spare, then consider growing your garden plants from seed to save on costs.


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8. Create a DIY vertical garden

One of our favourite small garden ideas on a budget is to decorate bare exterior walls with a stylish vertical garden. It’s a low cost way of adding interest to your outdoor space. There are so many ways of creating a vertical planter – you could affix a large trellis to the wall and encourage wall plants such as Wisteria or Star Jasmine to grow up it. Or you could attach separate planters to the wall and decorate with colourful plant pots. You could even upcycle an old ladder into a funky feature! Watch our video guide, we’ll show how you to create a vertical garden using wooden planters and ceramic pots.

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9. Restore wooden furniture

Is your garden furniture starting to look tired and worn out? It’s all too tempting to shop around for new garden furniture, but it can get expensive – especially when you’ve already got some perfectly good furniture sitting in your back garden. Instead of splashing your cash on pricey pieces, why not restore or upcycle what you’ve already got? Watch our video guide to find out how to restore your wooden furniture with a few simple tools and materials.

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10. Create garden paths with mulch or gravel

When landscaping your garden on a tight budget, we suggest you spend some researching different materials and prices before making any decisions. If you want to add some garden pathways, consider using mulch or gravel instead of pricey paving slabs. Not only is it cheaper to buy, but a mulch or gravel garden path will be a lot easier and quicker to install. We have a selection of different stone, gravel and chippings available to choose from in a range of colours.