Ten Hacks to make your garden look great on a budget
Summer is undeniably here, and with temperatures high across the country, most of us will be keen to spend more of our days outdoors, and what better place to enjoy the lovely weather than in your own garden?
A garden renovation can be very expensive though. Whether you are investing in a new outdoor table set, a new patio, or filling your garden with new shrubs and plants, changing the look of your outdoor space is rarely cheap.
However, it is possible to make big changes on a budget, if you are willing to be creative. Here is ten top tips on how you can upgrade your garden space this summer without breaking the bank
Plan what you want to do with your space
You've probably heard this one before, but the truth is that by evaluating your space, you can determine which areas require the most improvement. Possibly some stubborn weeds have taken over your garden, or perhaps your lawn needs some serious attention.
In any case, by making a list of jobs and ordering these by priority, you can avoid spending too much money on jobs that aren't necessarily important or won’t have loads of impact. This is also the step where you should determine your budget, to help you suss out just how much money you can spend on your garden.
Keeping a healthy and tidy lawn
Average price: £31
A well-kept lawn can make all the difference by bringing colour and vibrancy into your garden. However, one of the most prevalent issues I frequently encounter in most gardens is a neglected lawn. If this sounds very familiar, a good starting point is to get rid of all the stubborn weeds you discover across your garden as not only do they make your garden look messy, but they also compete with your lawn for resources.
Hand weeding is the best approach, however if some of the weeds are persistent then you can make use of selective lawn weed killer as a last resort as weed or moss killer may only cause your grass to burn due to warmer weather. Next up, it’s time to pull out your lawnmowers!
Summer provides the perfect condition for your lawn to grow faster, and it’s therefore very likely you will have to mow more and more often as much as once or twice a week. However, warmer days also mean that there is a higher chance of your lawn going a bit brown, so the best thing is to raise the height of your cutter by 5 to 10 mm.
Moreover, as you will be cutting your grass more frequently this may become nitrogen deficient, therefore feeding your lawn with a bit of fertiliser is a great way to help it thrive. If you opt for this, remember to purchase summer fertiliser and when applying it make sure soil is moist, preferably during the evening as fertiliser doesn’t like the sun. Don't forget to edge your lawn as a last touch to give it the cleanest appearance. Edging will give it the ideal neat appearance and make your outdoor space look well-kept.
Price of weed and moss killer: £16-20 Price of summer lawn fertilizer: £6-20
Add low maintenance, perennial flowers that will bloom every year
Average price: £17*
Incorporating flowers into your garden is a no-brainer. Geraniums, peonies, and marigolds are just some of the wonderful choices which bloom during the summer and are great for small spaces or patios without a lawn, as their vibrant colours will unquestionably bring your garden to life. When compared to bedding plants, perennial flowers are more cost-effective because they only need to be purchased once a year. You only need to calculate the total square metres of your planting beds if you choose this option and allow five shrubs or perennials per metre. Foxgloves, daisies, and hydrangeas are a few lovely options. Some flowers like marigolds can be grown from seed packaging for as little as £0.89, however most suggested plants will need to be bought as flowering plants and you’ll have to repot them into your garden.
The price of these can vary anywhere between £6-12 depending on what option you decide to go for.
Average price per seed package: £0.89-2
Average price per flowers: £6-12
Average price for soil: £8-12 for 50 L *Depending on how many flowers you decide to grow and what these are
Make your own compost
Average price: £12-20
Compost allows your plants to have all the nutrients they need to thrive throughout the year and the good news is that you can easily create your own at home! As mentioned before not only does compost help your plants but it’s also a great way to address food waste in the household. To create your own compost some of the best materials you can easily find around your kitchen include fruit scraps, coffee grounds, dry leaves and vegetable scraps.
Whenever you start making your own compost just remember not to add any leftover meat, dairy's, cheese or pet waste as these can not only create unpleasant odours but can also contain harmful diseases.
Small compost bin: £12-20 5.
Add some colour to your garden fence with a fresh coat of paint
Average price for fence: £32, average price for furniture: £37
We have all been guilty of neglecting our fences and outdoor furniture a little too often; letting the weathered outdoor take over our garden fence, giving it an outdated look. However, this is probably one of the easiest fixes you can do in your garden!
When it comes to your fence, I would recommend for you to jet-wash it with some water pressure machine to remove any build up dirt on the woodwork and help it look cleaner. Not only that but it will also help up create the ideal base to re-paint your fence and give it a better finish.
Alternatively, climber plants are another excellent choice for enhancing your fence because they not only do they give you more privacy but also add fullness to your outdoor area. In terms of your furniture, you can give it a fresh look and harmonise your space by painting it in addition to your fence.
Just make sure you prepare it before hand and that you choose a paint that will work outdoors for materials like metal and wood, shielding your furniture from outside elements. Also keep in mind that different paint colours will have different effects on your garden.
If you opt to use lighter colours, such as beige or pink, these can brighten and lighten your space, making it appear as though your garden is much larger than it is. However, keep in mind that stains are easier to maintain as brighter colours do tend to get filthy more quickly.
Darker colours, on the other hand, can have the reverse effect and make your garden appear smaller, but they also make the colours of your lawn and flowers more prominent by providing a beautiful background for them.
Painting your fence: 5L Paint Can: £20-34 Sanding sheet to prep furniture: £5 Painting your furniture: Wood primer: £18-23 Paint: £8-25 for 5L can
Clean your patio
Average price: £40*
Another great way to easily upgrade your garden is by giving your patio a good cleaning. If you have a concrete patio, start by pulling up any plants or weeds that have sprouted in between the patio slabs. Once these have been removed you can then sweep away any debris with a stiff brush, and using the same brush, apply some soapy water and scrub the patio or decking.
After your patio is clean you can re-fill the patio slabs by simply spreading some sharp sand or gravel, after you’ve smoothed it out don’t forget to add some sealant to prevent slabs from marking in the future, helping you sabe money and time! If you have stubborn dirt and stains, then using a pressurised washer or a hose would be the best options to remove these! *Average price: This price may increase if you decide to invest on a pressurised water cleaner then this can increase the price up to anywhere between £60-200 Cleaning Brush: £5-10 Sharp Sand: £3 Patio Sealer: £32 Pressurised water cleaner: £65-200
Topping up gravel boarders or paths
average price: £39
If you have a gravel path in your home adding a new fresh layer on top can make all the difference by giving it a fresh new look in a matter of seconds. If on the other hand if you are not using any gravel in your garden remember that in contrast to a slab or stone, gravel is one of the most affordable building materials for your garden and can create a very useful and affordable path. To incorporate a gravel path in your garden all you need to do is define the area you wish to cover, mark this up with some string and dig away! Make sure you remove any grass and excavate at least 13cm deep creating a flat and compacted base for your path. Once this is done create a boarder along the path with timber or bricks to make it easier for the gravel to stay in place. Then, by adding a permeable membrane, which is available from DIY stores, and pinning it to the path you can stop weeds from growing and ensure a nice finish. After you’ve layer out your permeable membrane you can simply add the gravel. The ideal method is to spread the gravel about 1 inch (2.5 cm) deep.
To create a smooth surface, choose small stones (up to 0.6 in. or about 16mm) because they are more comfortable to walk on! Gravel bag: £8-15 Permeable membrane: £6-30 Garden Pegs: £7-12
Incorporating shade into your garden on a budget
Average Price: £32
If your garden is a bit of a sun trap, you might want to add some kind of shade so you can enjoy the outdoors without having to melt away under the sun. Simple sail-like canopies are a terrific way to add some shade to your space, and since they don't take up much room, they're also perfect for compact spaces. These don't have to be expensive though, since you can buy them for as low as £30, but you can also try adding eyelets to an old duvet cover and then put some hooks in your garden to attach them to. Allowing you to easily create a nice DIY element in your outdoor space where you can sit and relax while providing some relief from the sun. Shade sail: £12-30 Eyelets with application tool: £5-10 Hooks: £1.50 per hook x4 = 6
Use crates or pallets to create beautiful planters or low-cost furniture
Average price: £38
Old wooden crates are a fantastic way to decorate your lawn while saving money. You'd be astonished at how inventive you can be when it comes to repurposing and upcycling things; options range from garden storage to tables. Crates that have been turned upside down can be repainted with vibrant, weatherproof paint and then stacked to create fashionable shelving for showcasing plants or just keeping accessories and pots. Additionally, for those who feel comfortable with hand tools, recycled pallets can be used to create one-of-a-kind and aesthetically beautiful tables and seating alternatives for your space or even a unique planter for your favourite flowers or herbs! Used pallets: £6-11 Nails: £2.50-10 Wood Paint: £16-25 per 2.5L
Create beautiful plant pots with unwanted containers from around the house
Average price: £20.5
Utilising a range of various containers as plant pots is another option to utilise recycled items in your garden. There are many household items that you can reuse and transform into the ultimate outdoor planter, from metal buckets to discarded food cans there are a number of items you can go for. If you are looking to go a step further in terms of sustainability you can even, make use of plastic bottles and repurpose them for some new planters. Due to the various hues and textures, they offer, these items can not only give your garden a distinctive aesthetic appearance, but they can also help you save money while being environmentally friendly by giving existing items another use. Paint: £16-25 per 2.5L