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Small garden ideas on a budget

small garden ideas

Always wanted a garden in bloom, but don't quite have the outdoor space for your landscaping project? You're not alone! Having a small (or no) garden means you have to think extra creatively about how to use the space you do have - and limit your dreams of cascading roses and apple trees. As if it wasn't challenging enough to make do with a small space, maintaining a garden can really be quite expensive. So here are our favourite small garden ideas and tips for when you're on a budget...


1. Plan ahead

As is the case with many things, planning ahead can save you money.  Think about what you want from you garden at the end of the season and buy next year's plants at a reduced price. This is also an excellent way of making sure that you compliment what is in the garden already (at a time when you can see it).

There are many ways of saving on the decoration of patio gardens and smaller outdoor spaces too. Which colours and shapes do you want to be highlighted? That way, next time you're at a carboot sale or a flee market, you'll know what you're looking for.

Gransnetters say:

"Wait for the end of season sales to buy plants for the next year. When you get them home repot them and nurture them until the appropriate time to put them in the garden."



2. Save money - bypass the garden centre

You can propagate plants by taking cuttings and replanting them. This is an excellent way of saving money on gardening and 'filling' out a small garden. Don't forget to cut any buds so that the cuttings do not use all their energy on flowering instead.  

Gransnetters say:

"Take cuttings of everything! You'll be surprised how many 'take' and then you will have plenty of plants - and if you're inundated, they'll make lovely presents for the family." 


3. Buy plants locally 

Buying plants that were grown locally means you could cut down the number of 'failed' plants as you know they will survive in your local area and gardening conditions. If you have a little to spend, hiring a gardener with good knowledge of local plants and soils, could improve the health of your garden and save you time and money. 

Gransnetters say:

"Try National Trust or National Trust for Scotland properties for plants. Many are grown on site and they're very reasonably priced."

buying plants locally


4. Keep a reminder of what it looks like in full bloom

Forgetting how your garden looks in full bloom is easily done during wintertime. By taking pictures of it, you will not only be able to remember what is there, but also be able to consider how your taste has evolved. It is likely that you will notice and appreciate different parts of your garden from year to year, so it could be helpful to keep a visual record. 

Gransnetters say:

"Take photos of areas you want to change so in autumn/spring you know what was where and what to remove and replace."

taking pictures of garden 

5. Take the little and often approach

A small garden needs just as much attention as a large garden does, however the focus on quality over quantity is much higher. The little and often approach will help you get a healthy and thriving garden without over-exhausting yourself.  

Gransnetters say:

"Little so that you don't end up with aches and pains and can't face the garden for two more weeks and often so that you keep on top of it."


6. Make a note of any gaps

Is there an area in your garden that feels a little empty? Make note of the gaps so that you know what you need to get, should you come across a good deal.  

Gransnetters say:

"Have a good look at your garden at the end of each season and make a note of where the gaps are. That way you know where to put bulbs or plants to ensure a better balanced display next year."



7. Deadhead religiously

Those of us who have been gardening for a while know that the trick to get a blooming garden is deadheading. Make it part of a daily routine and notice the change for the better.  

Gransnetters say:

"If you can, deadhead every day for continuous flowering. Some plants benefit from the 'Chelsea Chop' too. This is carried out in May, around the time of the Flower Show. To do this, cut or pinch back plants by half. Those which respond well include Sedum, Rudbeckia, Echinacea, Helenium, Phlox and Golden Rod."


8. Include your grandchildren

By including children in the gardening work, you will not only help them to understand the nature of growing and maintaining a healthy garden, but spend some quality time together. Their hands may be small, but their enthusiasm can be mighty - gardening with children is well worth a try.  

Gransnetters say:

"Encourage your grandchildren to enjoy gardening by having a race to see whose sunflower grows tallest or whose tomato plant has the first red one etc. I find gardening to be relaxing and therapeutic, but I know I won't always be able to do certain things. Hopefully my grandson will be interested enough by then to help me."

gardening with grandchildren


9. Have a good snoop

What grows well in your local area? Is there a certain plant or flower that your neighbours are particularly successful in growing - and how do they do it? Ask for advice whenever you see something done well and apply it to your own gardening - and don't forget to pass on the knowledge.

Gransnetters say:

"We have moved to a new area and I am looking around at neighbours gardens to see what grows well in the soil and climate here."


10. Just moved? Pause for good surpises

When you move to a new house, you sometimes forget that you don't know how the previous owners treated the garden. Pausing before you alter or add to the new garden gives you time to see what the garden is really like during the changing seasons. 

Gransnetters say:

"If you move house to a new home with an established garden don't make major changes for a year. Best to wait and see what's there already. Often there are good surprises."


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