Spring and summer are upon us, even if the weather forecast is resembling cooler autumn days this week. Regardless of this unseasonal weather, we have been busy in our garden prepping it for what we hope will be a long hot summer with plenty of outdoor living and alfresco dining.
We are very lucky to have a 90 foot long garden with plenty of space for Ben’s workshops, a large patio, room to grow vegetables, fruit trees and ample room for the children to run around and play.
Whilst many people dream of having so much outdoor space, it does come at a cost. Maintaining a garden of this size and making it a haven is expensive business.
Whilst we have saved money and been able to buy some items new, we have also had to save money at times where we can, be inventive and use pre-loved goods.
In this blog post I will share my top tips for gardening on a budget.
Planter by handymanben.com
Buy second hand
One tip that has saved us a lot of money in the garden is finding expensive tools and machinery at crazy low prices on Facebook Marketplace. In the 2019 Easter holidays we dug a hole to fit an in-ground trampoline and were left with a mountain of soil. This soil was very clay like and in big clumps. We decided to utilise this abundance of soil by using it to begin levelling out our garden which is on a slope. Only problem was we needed a rotavator to churn up the soil to make it suitable for levelling the ground and planting grass seed. We had a look online and they were pretty expensive pieces of machinery, so Ben checked Facebook Marketplace and managed to find one for £35 that he could collect within the hour that would have cost around £150 brand new! What a bargain!
Join a loyalty scheme
We were a member of The Garden Club which gave us 5% instant discount at Wyevale garden centres. We did find them more expensive than some places for some items, but they often had multibuys on compost and flowers which offer great value. This has closed by us now, but we have signed up to the new garden centres loyalty scheme and hope for more great discounts again!
The B&Q Club is definitely worth joining. They send you a £5 off when you spend £30 upon registering (at the time of writing). They also regularly send money off vouchers. My husband Ben has a card and nearly every time we shop there he checks his emails and will find a voucher for £5 or £10 off a £50 or £75-100 shop. It means we always get an item or two from our shopping for free!
Talking of B&Q, we also find their gardening prices to be very reasonable. We used to think The Range was cheap, but we’ve found several items much cheaper in B&Q such as the same hanging baskets for £6 in B&Q rather than £9 in The Range. They were exactly the same and B&Q had 20% off flowers the day we bought them, so we only paid £9.60 for two hanging baskets - almost the price I was going to pay for one basket in The Range. If you have a few hours spare then it definitely pays to shop around. We usually check our local garden centre, B&Q and The Range to get a good comparison of prices.
Use what you already have
If you can then use what you already have. For example, when we created our outdoor seating area we already had a rug and cushions inside that would be perfect to use outside too, especially as it was a sheltered area. Sometimes you might already have suitable spare items you can use from around your house which will save spending more money.
Check reviews online
Some garden tools can be quite expensive, but they are a must. For example, if you have grass then you will need to invest in a lawnmower. However, there is no need to overspend on something that you don’t need so it pays to do some research and set an appropriate budget. To make sure you are buying high quality and great value tools make sure you check out online reviews at a website such as Garden Tool Box or similar. This will ensure you don’t waste money buying tools and garden equipment that are either no good or are simply too much for your needs.
If you are good at woodwork then making things in the garden yourself can save a lot of money compared to hiring a professional to do it which will double the cost or more due to the price of labour. Luckily my husband loves woodwork and DIY and a challenge! We have managed to save a small fortune by building our own veranda, planters and he even built one of our three sheds from scratch instead of buying yet another flat pack. Plus, doing a lot of the garden work ourselves such as pressure washing the patio, weeding, levelling the grass, laying turf, building sheds, replacing patio slabs, and so on, has saved us a fortune compared to paying a gardener or landscaper to do these tasks for us. Here are some cheap DIY garden ideas.
Maintain your garden furniture
If you want to save money and not keep rebuying garden furniture year after year, then you need to maintain it. We had a garden bench, that cost us £50, for seven years and it would have lasted much longer for us, but we gave it away as we no longer needed it. Every year Ben would sand it slightly and apply oil to protect it for another year. It was left out in the garden exposed to all the elements all year long. Someone else we know had the same bench and didn’t protect it so it was knackered after a couple of years and thrown out! This just shows that you need to look after your garden furniture to ensure they last a long time to not only save you money, but to ensure you are doing your bit for the environment and being sustainable.
Use a discount code website
You can save a small fortune on your garden goods by using coupon websites, especially when buying large items. Sheds and storage solutions in the garden can be pretty costly, but using a Shedstore discount code will help to slash the costs. Check online discount code websites for garden coupons and you could make some big savings.
Buy quality items
The saying goes 'buy cheap, buy twice' and it's so true. If you opt for the cheapest and poorest quality garden furniture then it's not going to last and before long you'll be paying out again to replace it. It's much better to pay a little more in the first place to ensure you are buying something that is a higher quality and will stand the test of time. This will be more cost-effective in the long run even though you will have to pay more upfront in the first place. Some online garden retailers like Two Wests pride themselves on selling quality furniture, so much so that they offer a 12 month guarantee on all items. Shop around for retailers like these so you can be sure the items are of the highest quality and if not then you are protected so you're not out-of-pocket.
Always check for cashback
I’ve said it so many times, but I always say it as I still know so many people who don’t check for cashback and they are losing out on hundreds of pounds of free cash every year from! Always check for cashback at Top Cashback and Quidco for great discounts at lots of garden retailers online. Simply install their browser extensions and then you'll be alerted to cashback offers when you shop on qualifying websites. By comparing this to any online discount codes you find, you can always ensure you are getting the best saving.
These are just some of the ways we save money in the garden. See below for lots more advice and tips when it comes to saving money in the garden or for inspiration on how to utilise the space.
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