10 simple tips for creating a garden on a budget

Your options for obtaining plants vary from the most expensive garden centre to the corner variety store but it can be difficult finding inexpensive plants that will last. Follow these ten tips while selecting plants and you can create an incredible garden without spending a lot.

10 simple tips for creating a garden on a budget

1. Savings on the road

Roadside stalls in the country, where an amateur gardener sells off surplus stock, can be great value.

  • Avid city gardeners have been known to sell extra plants at garage sales for next to nothing.

2. Big-store bargains

Check out big-stores in your city — they are great sources for reasonably priced plants.

  • Warehouse stores often stages great bargains, sometimes offering a flat of 24 pansies for less than the standard garden centre price for a flat of 12.
  • Avoid Cracked containers: Don't buy a plant in a cracked container, even if it is reduced, as the roots may be damaged.

3. Reliability costs

Garden centres and nurseries are the most expensive option, but the variety and quality of the plants will be high, so they are less likely to die and need replacing.

  • Purchase trees, shrubs and perennials in the fall at reduced rates.

4. Look out for perennials

Why buy and plant annuals every year when perennials are a one-time purchase?

  • Some can be divided easily, so buy one perennial and divide it into two or three plants.

5. Bulbs for value

The most economical bulbs are ones that multiply yearly in the same position. Daffodils, narcissi, snowdrops and crocuses are good value.

  • Frost kills non-hardy bulbs, so dig them up once they have finished flowering and keep them throughout the winter.

6. Don’t fight nature

Take time to find out about your soil and growing conditions and then select only those plants that will thrive there naturally.

  • Local weeds and wildflowers should also provide clues as to the species of plants that are easy to grow in your garden.

7. Make your own compost

  • Since compost from a garden centre can cost from $4 for an 18 kilogram (40 pound) bag, get into the habit of making your own compost — it is easy, environmentally friendly and virtually free.
  • Allow some of the leaves from the fall to remain in your garden beds. There will be some breakdown over the fall, winter and spring, adding nutrients to the soil, and they may provide some frost protection over the winter.

8. Propagate and save

Propagating your own plants will save you a great deal of money in the long term, and is immensely satisfying.

  • The most common ways to do this are by growing plants from seed or taking cuttings.
  • Grow herbs from seed in a pot and make savings on the cost of repeatedly buying them from the store.
  • Plant herbs such as basil, chives, parsley and sage together in a sunny spot, but grow rosemary on its own as it has a tendency to take over.

9. When to water

Water your garden and lawn early in the morning or at night. Otherwise the heat of the day will cause much of the water to evaporate before it penetrates the soil.

  • This creates shallow root systems that allow grass and plants to dry out too quickly.

10. Swap cuttings with neighbours

Joining a garden club will provide instant opportunities to trade plants.

  • Avid gardeners often like a change and will have mature plants to pass on.  

Consider these ten tips and create a garden you can be proud of, without breaking the budget!

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