Want to create a stunning outdoor space while working on a budget? Follow GYO’s handy tips for a picture-perfect plot
Start from the beginning
Grow edibles and flowers from seed or choose plug plants instead of mature plants. Growing from seed is much cheaper, and you’ll get a lot of veg for your money with the right patience and care. Alternatively, plug plants ensure seeds have passed the difficult germination stage and stand a much better chance of survival than transplanted mature plants. Either option is cheaper and ensures more bang for your buck. See page 114 for more on the benefits of plug plants.
Choose what lasts
When it comes to selecting the plants you want in your garden, it’s worth considering which will be with you the longest. Perennials are a great investment because they reward you with harvests year after year. They can also be really attractive, with a range of shapes and colours to suit every garden. Globe artichokes, for example, produce ornate flowers which add detail to any flower border, and asparagus can provide delicious spears for over 20 years. Another option to consider is fruit trees
or bushes. If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need to be patient, but it’ll be worth it – after the initial wait for cropping, they’ll produce bundles of fruit for years. Like many other perennials, fruit trees can also bring decoration to the garden – especially when blossoms arrive each spring!
If you’re a keen sower, you might like to save your own seed. You can collect and dry seed from a range of edibles at the end of their growing season, and this will save you the cost of buying new packets the following year. Plus, saving seed from your favourite varieties, particularly those that are heritage or heirloom, ensures you are continuing the lineage of some extra special crops. Just make sure you store the seed correctly, in a paper bag inside an airtight, moisture-free container, so your hard work doesn’t go to waste! Using seed from your own plot will reduce your carbon footprint, too.
Like seed saving, propagating new plants from cuttings can be a really effective way of producing lots of plants at no extra cost. Taking cuttings is one of the most common methods, but you can also graft or divide your plants to create healthy clones.
Make the most of climbers
From an aesthetic point of view, climbers are perfect for beautifying any garden on a budget. Growing edibles like runner beans up trellises means delicious harvests accompanied by delightful blooms. It’s a great way to fill vertical space in the garden with the added bonus of tasty crops. If you’re looking for decoration alone, try wisteria and other attractive blooms that will add interest to walls and fences. They’re easy to grow, and with the right maintenance and care, you’ll have a beautiful budget garden.
Keeping your tools in good condition can save unnecessary expenditure on new ones, and you can keep them looking tip- top in a number of cheap ways. A bucket of sand and linseed oil, for example, can work wonders at preserving the condition of your equipment. Ensuring your tools are stored away, sheltered from the
elements, will also decrease the likelihood of degradation. Keep your tools well-oiled and sharpened if necessary, too.
Consider marking out bark or gravel paths in your garden. This will enable you to access veg beds and other areas of your garden without treading on the soil, and with the range of different shapes and colours available, it can really make an attractive addition to the plot. Plus, it’s a fantastic pest repellent – slugs and snails don’t enjoy trekking across the lumps and bumps of a jagged path, so utilising this material around areas with vulnerable crops can keep them safe from hungry appetites. See if any local garden or building supply centres have cheap or reduced bags available – gravel lasts, and can be moved around the garden, making it a great investment.
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