Are you a thrifty gardener?
Like most hobbies, gardening can easily cost you a lot of money. All those lovely plants, stylish outdoor accessories and must-have tools can quickly add up, especially if like me you’re always planning your next garden project.
Having said that, gardening doesn’t have to be an expensive pastime, and you can still have a fantastic garden without spending a fortune. There are lots of clever ways to save money on gardening, and most of them involve very little effort.
Gardening on a budget
If you like the idea of gardening on a budget, here are some cheap garden ideas to help you save money and still get the garden of your dreams.
Make your own compost
Making your own compost has to be one of the thriftiest garden on a budget ideas you can embrace.
As well as being a fantastic way to reduce the amount of waste your household produces, homemade compost is a free soil enricher that will reduce the amount of bagged compost you need to buy. Adding compost to your soil will also save you money on plant food.
You can also make your own leaf mould, which is another great free soil conditioner.
Use a cashback site
When you shop for your gardening supplies, make sure you use a cashback site. Every purchase will save you money by earning cashback, and you can also layer up the savings with approved voucher codes.
Cashback sites such as my money pocket are free, and they’re really easy to use. Once you’ve created an account, you can start saving straight away. All you need to do is sign in, then click through to your chosen brand – there are over 4,500 to choose from – and complete your purchase as you normally would. The cashback on your purchase will then show in your account, and once it’s marked as payable you can withdraw it to your bank account. It really is a zero-effort way to save on your online shopping.
Look after your kit
Gardening on a budget isn’t just about saving money on new purchases.
Taking care of your gardening tools and equipment will mean they last longer. Treat wooden furniture and fences regularly, store tools somewhere dry and clean them after use, and water your plants frequently in warm weather. Once you’re in the habit of doing this, it quickly becomes second nature and is a great way to keep gardening costs down.
Saving money on plants
Plants can account for a significant chunk of the money you spend on gardening. The good news is there are lots of ways to save money on plants, so you don’t have to settle for a less-than-lovely garden.
Grow from seed
Instead of buying plants, grow them yourself from seeds. A packet of seeds has the potential to grow a large quantity of plants at a fraction of the cost compared to buying them once they’re growing. It’s fun too, and a great project to get kids involved with.
Make new plants for free
With a little bit of effort, you can make yourself lots of new plants without spending a penny.
You can divide plants that you already have, to make new ones – this works really well if the original plant is already quite large.
You can also take cuttings from your plants, and grow these on to make new plants. If any friends or family members have a plant you’re envious of, consider asking them for a cutting too. This is a great way to introduce new plants to your garden without the expense.
Buy small plants
If you do buy plants, get yourself organised. The bigger the plant, the more it usually costs, so decide what you need well in advance, and buy small plants which you can grow on yourself. These are often labelled as ‘plug plants’.
Buy perennial plants, not annuals
Annual plants grow, flower and die in one season or year. This means you have to keep replacing them with new plants. By contrast, in the right conditions perennial plants will grow year after year, so you don’t need to keep replacing them. Aim to buy mostly perennial plants, and you’ll be well on the way to a low-cost planting scheme.
Don’t impulse buy plants
I suspect we’ve all bought plants on impulse at some point – I know I’ve done it on more than one occasion! But an impulse plant purchase might not be the best value for money, and you may not even have space for it in the garden.
To avoid temptation and save money, have a plant shopping list in mind before you head to the shops, and when you’re there try to stick to it. You might not always manage it, but if the intent is there you’re more likely to think twice before getting the credit card out.
Right plant, right place
Every plant has ideal growing conditions – for example, full sun, partial shade, a minimum temperature, or a type of soil. If you buy plants that aren’t suited to the conditions in your garden, you run a higher risk of those plants dying, which wastes your original investment. In addition, you end up spending more money replacing those plants.
Always try to buy plants that are suited to the conditions you can provide. As well as making your garden look better, this approach will cost far less in the long term.
Don’t assume you have to buy all of your gardening supplies brand new. Repurposing and upcycling household objects is a great way to build up your garden ornaments, planters and furniture without spending lots of money. As an added bonus, you’ll be reducing your impact on the planet – and it can be a fun craft project too.
Use local free sites
Keeping an eye on your local free sites is another great way to get gardening kit for free. People often re-home larger items via sites such as freecycle and nextdoor, so check in regularly – especially during spring cleaning season.
Share with neighbours
Some garden tools are only needed every now and then, which makes their cost per use really high. An alternative approach is to share resources within your local community. There may be a lending programme in place where you live (possibly via the library or community centre), and if not you can always have a go at starting one with your neighbours. Even if you don’t want to go this far, you can still ask around about a loan before making a purchase.
Grow your own
As well as saving money on the actual gardening, you can also use your garden to help you save in other areas.
Growing your own fruit and veg is an easy way to save money on your food bills. Even a small vegetable patch can have a big impact on how much you spend on fresh produce. Focus on growing varieties that you use a lot of, or that cost a lot to buy, and the savings will add up even more.
I hope these ideas for gardening on a budget help you to save money, and have fun making a fabulous thrifty garden. Have you got any gardening ideas on a budget to add to my list?