Don’t let a hilly area in your yard be left to waste. Due to difficulties…
Who says you can’t have a garden that’s both affordable and attractive? With a little creativity, you can absolutely have a cosy garden for cheap. Whether you’re sprucing up your balcony plants or making the most out of an outdoor space, here are our best gardening hacks on a tight budget.
1. Up and over
Vertical or hanging gardens are great ways to make an impact with limited space and cost. Climbing plants take a lot of space, while dangling plants in hanging containers create a ‘living wall’. Install pots along walls or hang planters from a bar to add an interesting visual dynamic.
For plants, choose fast growers or vines. Flat Mat™ Trachelospermum is a good low-maintenance choice for a climber or if you want something native, try Ozbreed Flat White® Pandorea. The idea is to take up plenty of vertical space to make a garden that looks dense, but costs less. This works for both outdoors and indoors too!
2. Swift spreaders
Go for plants that grow fast and ideally cover a lot of ground. This way, you’ll maximise the space you use while minimising the cost and effort that goes into growing. Double Gold™ Gazania is one good option, as it’s low maintenance but spreads quickly. It also produces plenty of stunning yellow flowers over most of the year, so you’ll have bright colour with little effort.
Another fast-growing ground cover plant is the Royal Rambler™ Grevillea. It’s great for larger gardens, but with regular pruning it works for small gardens too. Better yet, grevilleas are native plants, so they’re well suited for the Aussie climate and growing conditions.
3. Pack it in
Group plants together to make a space look dense and flourishing. By packing together plants, you’ll also shade the soil and help it retain moisture better – lowering your ground maintenance costs. Just make sure you choose plants that grow well together so they don’t compete for nutrients, and don’t put them too close or you’ll crowd out their roots!
If you want to go really low-maintenance, get a bunch of succulents. You can go all-green, or pick a variety of textures and colours. Best of all, succulents require minimal care (but don’t under-water, either!) and look great in any setting. Some great choices are Mighty Coral™, Mighty Gold™ and Sea Urchin™ Aloes, which all flower spectacularly in winter. These can also be grown in pots if you are short on space.
4. Try Tubes
You’ll have to wait a little longer, but growing from tubes will cost you less than growing from a larger pot size. You can use your savings for other garden features or simply get more green for your dollar. Tube stock quickly catches up to more established plants and the cheaper price allows you to buy more plants for a lusher look.
4. Reduce, reuse, repurpose
Plastic bottles can turn into water containers or hanging pots. Bigger bottles or other plastic containers can become planters. You can upcycle used wood planks and pallets into garden beds and shelves. Use broken tile or concrete as decorative accents. Even an old ladder can be repurposed as a display stand for your leaf friends. With a little imagination, your own trash can turn into your new treasure. But don’t go overboard – there’s a fine line between repurposed pieces and a whole lotta junk.
Your local community could also have resources for you to use. Maybe someone has old bamboo poles you can take off their hands and use as stakes and trellises. Your neighbour could have a stepladder they need to get rid of. Anytime you think of something you might want in your garden, see if you can source it somewhere else – and for free!
6. Productive planting
Want to save money in other ways, too? Start an edible garden! It can be anything from herbs to lettuce and tomatoes – and it doesn’t have to be that big, either. You can have a row of herb pots on the kitchen benchtop or a long planter by the windowsill. You can go vertical by stacking planters along a wall, or hanging them from the ceiling. If you have the garden space, DIY a garden bed or try square-foot gardening.
If you normally buy cut flowers, why not plant some in your garden? This is a great way to showcase what you grow and bring the outdoors in (and save money too of course!). Kangaroo Paw flowers are long lasting as cut flowers but are quite expensive to buy. The architectural foliage of plants such as Nyalla® Lomandra can also be used as a cheaper substitute for grass tree foliage in cut flower displays.
Do your plants need a little boost while growing? Instead of buying some commercial fertiliser, go organic and make your own mulch or compost. You can start a bin on your balcony, or section off a corner of your garden for a compost pit. Save your food scraps and plant trimmings to layer on soil and potting mix as mulch. You can even save shredded paper waste, it makes a great mulch to keep the soil moist and weeds out.
8. Helping hands
Whether it’s your local gardening group, a friendly neighbour, or a professional gardening service, asking for help in maintaining your garden will go a long way in saving you time and effort. (And as they say, time is money!) You may be gardening on a budget, but don’t skip out on upkeep either. Otherwise you’ll end up spending more on maintaining and regrowing your plants – not at all what you want when you’re gardening on a budget.
You don’t need fancy walkways and lighting fixtures to create an aesthetic garden. Sometimes a string of fairy lights and some hand-painted, upcycled planters are all you need to make a beautiful home for your plants. Your budget may be limited, but your imagination sure isn’t. Start looking around you and get creative, and you’ll be surprised how far you can go – and grow!