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How to save money when designing your garden

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Spring is around the corner, and that means ONE thing (two things, if you count the inevitable hayfever): it’s garden season. Whether you like to create a green-fingered frenzy in the garden or prefer to sit back in the sun, take a look at our tips on renovating your garden on even the smallest budget. 

It’s spring clean time

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Starting any renovation on a blank canvas is always best. The first thing you’ll need to do is clear your garden of any items that you won’t use anymore – donating them to charity or a community garden project – and dispose of broken garden accessories and debris. Make sure to weed your garden, getting rid of any dead plants and trimming back any overgrown shrubbery.

Giving your garden a tidy up before changing anything is a great way to see what you’ll actually need, saving you money in the long run as you’ll be less likely to spend money on things that turn out to be unnecessary.

Get grassy with it

Turn your lifeless lawn into a thing of beauty with a DIY lawn makeover. As the first thing people see when walking into your garden, it’s key to make sure that your lawn is looking healthy. Instead of forking out for a brand-new lawn, fix patchy lawns (caused by your pets or the weather) by investing in some lawn care to give your grass a little boost. A speedy solution is to use quick-release fertiliser, which uses nitrogen to make grass greener and strengthen roots before sprinkling grass seed on the bare patches and watering in.

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Get creative with upcycling

Garden paint

Save those pennies by redecorating items already in your garden. Painting your garden fence can really change the mood of your garden – opt for a light or dark paint for a minimalist look, or go bold with colourful hues like yellow and light blue. Stencilling your patio adds a hint of modern chic to your outdoors, while showing your old garden bench some love with a wood oil and outdoor cushions can make a big difference.

Or, completely repurpose old pieces of furniture into something new. Use the wood from a broken garden bench to create a new planter, for example, or source cheap wooden pallets to make an outdoor sofa. Nothing is better than a BBQ in summer, so why not create a fire pit out of leftover bricks?

For projects that require a small amount of paint, purchase tester pots instead of large tubs to make it more affordable, and use everyday household items to accessorise with. Plant herbs and flowers in used condiment jars and hang them from your fence, or use wicker baskets for storage.

Harness plant power

Garden flowers

Adding plants to your garden can turn a drab outside space into a warm and welcoming area, however they can be pricey depending on the variety. Instead, if you have existing plants that you don’t want anymore, opt for a plant swap with a neighbour or join local gardening groups on social media to organise an exchange. If you don’t have any outdoor plants to give away, try advertising any indoor plants or cuttings you have.

Seek out free or low-cost seeds, plant pots, and soil; while purchasing flowers already potted is the quickest (and prettiest) way to get your garden tip-top, growing them from seeds significantly cuts the cost. Plus you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that your hard work paid off when the flowers bloom! Easy-to-grow plants include lavender, cranesbill, and alliums.

Show second-hand some love

Garden lights

Sourcing thrifted or free items from online marketplaces and gardening groups is a great idea when looking to cut the cost of garden renovation.

Find leftover slabs and use them in your garden to create a decorative stone pattern or patio – which have the added benefit of being extremely low maintenance.

If you’re wanting to create the perfect after-dark hangout space, source pre-owned solar-powered lights to make your garden a cosy night-time retreat. The best part – no batteries required, making this an extremely cost-effective addition.

Using garden accessories – like chairs, benches, and plant pots – helps to inject your own personality into your outside space and plenty of options can be found on second-hand websites and social groups. Or make your garden feel bigger by hanging an antique mirror from a local charity shop - just be sure to place it out of direct sunlight.

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