Whatever the time of the year, it’s always a good idea to get stuck into gardening. We’ve gathered a few affordable ways to keep your garden looking fresh for less.
Sow your own seeds
Buying plants can be expensive – so why not grow them from seed and save in the process. You can buy cheap seeds from supermarkets (Lidl’s seasonal seed selection is worth a look), garden centres and even on eBay. Depending on the size of your garden, you may have more seeds than you need in a packet: wrap leftovers in foil and store them in a dry place until next year – or you could swap surplus seeds with green-fingered neighbours or gardening buddies.
Taking cuttings from established plants is a great way to populate your garden for free. Ask friendly neighbours or family members with gorgeous gardens if they can help you out. If you’ve never taken cuttings before, you can search the Royal Horticultural Society website for tips on taking different types of cuttings, guides on how to make them grow and general gardening advice.
Divide and conquer
If you’re buying in a garden centre, don’t get distracted by the pretty flowers – it’s more important to look for plants with a healthy base. When you’re planting in the spring, you can double your money by dividing a healthy plant. Make sure each clump has roots as you gently pull it away, then plant separately.
Make your own compost
Rather than buying compost, a bit of time and patience is all it costs to make your own. For the perfect garden compost, you’ll need a 50/50 mix of green (grass cuttings, vegetable and fruit peelings, tea bags and old flowers) and brown waste (leaves, cardboard, egg boxes, twigs and shredded branches). We have a great guide to get you started.
Use a water butt
Great for the environment, as well as your water bill, collecting rainwater to use in your garden is hugely efficient. You can buy a plastic water butt from a garden centre or DIY store, and some local councils may sell them. You may even be able to get one for free. If you want the butt itself to be environmentally friendly, look out for models made from recycled wooden barrels.
Find garden furniture for free
One person’s outdated patio furniture is another person’s treasure: look out for great freebies on sites including Gumtree and Freecycle, and join local forums and Facebook groups to snag unwanted goodies for your garden.
Go for gravel
If your garden path or patio needs paving, consider gravel instead – it’s much more affordable and looks good, too. Use a permeable membrane before putting it down, to stop weeds coming through, and look for a trendy pale grey shade to contrast with your lawn and plants.
If you’ve only got a small outdoor space, or you like the idea of having continental-style pots in the garden, consider some upcycling, rather than splashing out on garden centre containers. Old chimney pots, tin cans, dustbins, barrels . . . anything you can stick holes in for drainage can be repurposed as a funky garden pot.
Let’s get digging!