You do not need to spend a fortune to give your garden a new lease of life. Your garden contains almost infinite possibilities. No matter how large or small it may be, you can always get more from the space. These budget friendly garden revamp ideas are all about improving your garden – both visually, and in terms of its utility. You can get more from your garden, and often, you can do it without spending much money at all.
1. Grow Your Own
One way to make the most of your garden, of course, is to grow your own food. But you do not have to shell out on any expensive tools or materials to do so. Revamping your garden might be as simple as giving over some of your lawn to a new kitchen garden area. You can make your own ‘no dig’ raised beds by making use of natural materials and placing them, in layers, to compost in place below a layer of compost/ loam.
Remember, you can make simple square or rectangular beds. But you can also think outside the box and make your new growing areas in any shape and form you wish. Circular keyhole beds or mandala gardens, or sinuous hugelkultur mounds are interesting options to consider.
To make the lower layers of a new no dig garden bed, you can use carbon rich materials like woody material, dry leaves, straw, bracken etc.. And green leaves, grass clippings etc. that add plenty of nitrogen and other nutrients to the system. Of course, if you look around you, it often becomes clear that there are plenty of natural resources you can use.
2. Make Your Own Compost
To form the top layer of new beds, to fill containers, and to mulch existing growing areas to improve the soil and maintain fertility over time, compost is essential. But one thing to remember is that in a budget friendly garden you do not need to buy this – you can make your own.
If you do not already have a composting system in place, this is something you should think about starting right away. If you have space in your garden, you can simply heap up brown and green materials and wait for them to break down.
Making your own compost won’t just save you money once. It can also save you a lot of money on buying in material to add fertility to your garden over the coming years. And remember, you are using waste biodegradable materials that would otherwise have been disposed of in a less sustainable way. So you are doing the right thing for the planet as well as your purse.
3. Harvest Rainwater
If you want to improve your garden, water is another very important area to consider. If you have metered water then of course you will want to find ways to save on water costs. But even if you do not have metered water, harvesting rainwater and finding ways to catch, store and use water wisely on your property is the right thing to do.
Setting up rainwater harvesting systems does not need to be hugely expensive. You can use reclaimed barrels or butts to catch the water that comes from the guttering on your home, and on other garden structures.
You could also consider digging a pond or other water features to keep water around. If you are prepared to put in the work yourself to dig one, lining it does not need to cost the earth. In a smaller garden, even a tiny pond in a sunken washing up bowl or other repurposed container can make a difference. Not just when it comes to storing water and making the most of it. But also when it comes attracting wildlife to your garden. A pond or other water feature can also give your garden a visual overhaul, and make it look great.
4. Use Natural Resources
As mentioned above, using natural resources is great for making new beds for growing your own in a budget friendly garden. But natural resources can also be very useful for saving money on a wide range of other projects.
For example, natural branches that have fallen or been pruned from your garden trees and shrubs can often be used to make trellises or other plant supports. They can also often be used to make DIY frames for cloches, mini greenhouses or row covers.
Leaves that fall in your garden can sometimes be composted. But they can also be held separately and used to make leaf mould – a very useful material to enrich your growing areas and improve the soil.
Even weeds can often be very useful. Even when they cannot be composted in a typical composting system, they could potentially be useful in making a liquid plant feed to give plants a boost and provide them with the nutrients they need. Weeds can also be chopped and dropped and simply left as part of a mulch to gradually release the nutrients they contain back into the soil.
5. Upcycle and Reuse
A garden can be both sustainable and eco-friendly and beautiful. One very rewarding avenue to go down in a budget friendly garden is giving old items and waste materials a new lease of life.
There are a huge range of ways that you can reuse items that would otherwise have been thrown away to create an attractive and abundant garden. For example, painting old food containers with eco friendly paints, or wrapping them with organic natural twine, for example, can allow you to create beautiful planters for a container garden. And create colour schemes that allow you to ring the changes in the space.
You definitely don’t have to shell out on new planters for your garden when there are so many things you could reuse or upcycle for the purpose.
6. Focus on New Budget Friendly Paths
Natural or reclaimed materials can also be very helpful in updating your space with new pathways. You don’t need to compromise on ethics when creating new paths in a budget friendly garden. Often, the cheapest options are also the most eco friendly and sustainable.
Using chipped wood/ bark from your own garden is a great option. And investing in a shredder could save you money over time. You might also be able to collect and use stones if you have a stony site. And create a pebble path or rock stepping stones through your garden.
Rather than buying new paving, you could use reclaimed paving – often you can source this cheaply or even for free online. Reclaimed bricks for a new pathway might also be a free reclaimed resource. You could also consider taking on a DIY project and making a mosaic from broken tiles etc… or even constructing a beautiful boardwalk through the garden using reclaimed wood.
7. Or New Budget Friendly Bed Edging
There are also myriad ways to make use of free or cheap natural or reclaimed resources to make new bed edging for existing garden beds. Creating new bed edging on existing beds can be a very affordable way to completely change the look and feel of the space without any significant financial outlay.
Use resources from your garden like wood, rocks or stones. Make log edging, or wattle fence edging for a rustic look. Make a low wall or a simple boundary line around each area, and keep costs down by using materials you have to hand. These can be natural materials, or reclaimed materials that would otherwise be thrown away. There are a huge number of options to consider.
8. Think Vertically for a Budget Friendly Garden
Especially in a small garden, it is important to consider how you use all of the space. Make sure you consider the vertical space as well as the horizontal. By considering vertical gardening techniques, you can make the most of every inch, and enhance your garden by obscuring unsightly walls or fences too.
Again, when vertical gardening, there are a number of natural and reclaimed materials that you can use to keep costs down.
9. Choose a Few Key Trees, Shrubs and Other Perennials
You might be focussed on food production, and mostly grow typical annual or biennial fruits and vegetables in your garden. Even when this is the case, perennials can often offer great value for money. Choose a few key trees, shrubs and other perennial plants and these can form the backbone of a new garden design. They will continue to grow, and grace your garden, for many years to come.
10. Divide and Conquer The Budget Friendly Way
Another interesting thing to consider is how the space is divided. You can completely change the look and feel of your space by creating a series of distinct garden rooms.
Free natural fencing of natural branches woven to make a wattle structure, for example… This could be one way to create partitions. A few key shrubs to create a hedgerow dividing two sections of your garden could also be an affordable choice… And those are just a couple of ideas that could help you zone your garden. And give it an overhaul to make it more usable for you.
Do you have your own budget friendly garden revamp ideas to share? Please do so in the comments below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.
To get in touch, visit https://ewspconsultancy.com.