Is your garden currently something of an eyesore? Does it make you shudder every time you look out of the window or have to pop into the back yard to out the bins out? Does it look closer to a wasteland, than a lush green space where you want to spend time entertaining friends and family?
If you answered yes to any of the above then you just might have a problem on your hands. Gardens are vital not only for a good quality of life while you are resident in the property but also as a major point of value when you decide to move.
However we all know renovating an outside space can cost a lot of money, which puts many people off getting this particular job done.
There are ways that you can save on your garden overhaul and turn your wasteland into something more appealing without the need for a tree that grows money, here are a few ideas to give you some inspiration.
Have a gardening party
No, not a garden party with cucumber sandwiches, a gardening party! Invite all of your friends and family over together and get them to bring their gardening tools and a plant or two. It’s surprising what progress a lot of people can make on a project like this just through sheer numbers!
Of course, you need to be there to direct them where to weed, dig, or plant but the advantage of doing it this way is that you are spending very little on plants or labour and you can see the result within a day.
It’s also a fun way of getting everyone together. Just provide a few beers and keep everyone topped up with snacks and you’re set. Another advantage of doing it this way is it means you’ll likely end up with a great variety of plants in your garden as different people will bring different things, not to mention their experience and expertise!
One of the most exorbitant costs when renovating a garden area is turfing. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the first things that people notice when visiting, or when you are moving and trying to sell your house.
Even a small garden can run into the hundreds and that is if you are just buying the turf to lay yourself. If you are employing someone to dig out the old grass and lay the new stuff for you? Let’s not go there!
Of course the bigger the space that you have to turf, the further you’ll have to dig into your savings!
So what can should I do instead Marc, I hear you ask? Well, the first thing is to assess whether you really need a new lawn, or whether the one that you have can be saved?
Is it just patches of the grass that are dry, dying, or covered with crabgrass and weeds? If so then it may be worth treating these with a weed killer, and covering with grass seeds to see if this will return them to their former glory.
If there seems to be more bad than good on you lawn at the moment, it may be better to treat the entire thing but even so, forget re-turfing and sow the grass seed yourself. All you need to do is cover over the space with sand and an inch or two of topsoil. Then plant new grass seed over the top.
OK, it might not look gorgeous for the first few weeks, but once it start growing you will have a whole new, verdant lawn for a fraction of the costs of buying turf rolls.
Something that you can end up spending a small fortune on is decorations in the garden. In fact, they are super popular at them moment with just about anything you can image being available for decorative display outside.
Have you ever wandered around a garden centre, looking at some things and thought. “I could make something just as good or better than that?” I know I have. Why not challenge yourself to get a bit crafty instead of buying those decorations ready made?
For example, concrete and metal orbs are quite popular at the moment, as they can give a garden a modern, or Zen-like feel. They’re not the cheapest of items but you can easily make your own.
The simplest way is to use cheap glass orbs around the size of the ball that you want. Mix up some concrete, available cheaply from you local garden centre pour in and leave to set. Then smash the glass to release a perfectly spherical ball. (Remember to use protective clothing and glasses when you smash the glass for safety).
An alternative way is to make a lighter ball, that isn’t solid all of the way through. To do this, you will need a beach ball or any other inflatable ball and some quick drying cement together with a few other accessories which you can read more about here.
The basic idea is that you grease the ball. Then cover with tape and apply the quick drying concrete over the top. Obviously, when it’s dry you can pop the ball, and it also gives you freedom to make the hole in it as big as you would like. Then you can use it to plant flowers; you can even use it as an animal shelter!
Patios and shade
Another element of a garden renovation that can cost an arm and a leg is providing an area for eating and entertaining outside. This is usually because it requires a professional to come and install things like a sun sail, a deck, or a pitched roof patio for you.
Unfortunately, there is a good reason for this. It’s because it can be pretty tricky to get right, and you don’t want to come out with an eyesore, rather than suitable areas that will add value to the sale of your home.
That is why in this particular area it may be best to leave it to the professionals. OK, it won’t be the cheapest option in the short term but you may just be avoiding a false economy in the long term when after all your own efforts and costs for materials you don’t end up with what you want anyway.
A super way of getting a gorgeous and bright garden without spending a fortune is to embrace nature and wildflowers. This means shunning manicured beds and carefully planned levels of planting in favour of a more random and organic look.
Wildflowers are often sold in shaker tubs along with fertiliser, so all you have to do is sprinkle them over the area that you want to be bursting with colour. Then after a short wait and the occasional water you should start to get some beautiful plants such as poppies, daisies, and forget-me-nots springing up in your garden beds.
The great things about wildflowers is they are so cheap to buy in seed form; as opposed to pre-grown plants, and they come in colour selections too, so you can choose the ones you want to go for from yellows, pinks, and blues. Why not put different shades in different areas of texture and contrast?
Reclaim and Upcycle
Something else that is a great idea when you are renovating your garden on a shoestring is trying to use as much reclaimed stuff as possible. The idea being that you upcycle it from what it once was to a useful or decorative element in your garden space.
For example, why not use an old light sconce and add plant pots to it for a chandelier planter? Or take old musical instruments like drums and even trumpets and tubas and plant flowers in the hollow spaces. These make very interesting garden embellishments and a great talking point for anyone that is visiting.
Check out flea markets for broken or cheap instruments.
There are new ideas of this sort of thing coming out all the time, and the only limit is what you can find around that is no longer being used and your imagination. Take a peek at this site or Pintrest for some more inspiration.
Something else that you should consider, especially if you have a very large garden space to transform, is raised beds.
Raised beds are great for various reasons. Firstly they are easier to garden as you don’t have to bend down so far. They can also help to keep your plants away from bugs as they are harder to get to but most of all they look striking, even though the entire floor is not covered with them.
If you do opt for raised bed, you can happily use stone or bark around the beds. This has the advantage of being a lot cheaper and easier to buy and maintain than if the entire area was covered with plants.
Finally, as with any activity that you are trying to save money on, you need to shop around for the things that you need to buy to get the best price.
Don’t just assume that your local garden centre is the best place to go because it might not be. In fact, it can be a lot cheaper to purchase garden materials like slate, outdoor furniture, and even plants online.
Shopping online will also let you compare prices with the minimum of effort, so it’s definitely worth doing when your mission is to turn a garden wasteland into something beautiful.