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Affordable Garden Ideas: Quick and Easy Ways to Spruce Up Your Outdoor Space

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Are you tired of a lacklustre outdoor space but don't have the budget for a complete garden makeover? Look no further! These affordable garden ideas will give your backyard a fresh and inviting look without breaking the bank. From repurposing old paint pots to adding detail to your lawn and hanging solar-powered fairy lights, these quick and easy tips will have your outdoor area looking its best in no time.

In this blog post we will explore in more detail:

  • Affordable garden ideas to spruce up your outdoor space

    • Paint old plant pots

    • Sow seeds into cracks

    • Throw a seed bomb

    • Put up a sun shade

    • Hang solar powered fairy lights

    • Freshen up your garden furniture

    • Add detail

    • Edge the lawn

    • Add cushions

    • Feed the lawn

  • Simple garden ideas on a budget

    • Add flowering plants

    • Cull weeds (sometimes)

    • Create a focal point

    • Grow themed plants

    • Add artwork

    • Add edible herbs

  • How to make your garden look nice on a budget

    • Tidying up

    • Clean your patio or deck

    • Storage

    • Mow the grass and weed flowerbeds

    • Buying in bulk

Easy garden ideas that are cheap and quick!

Affordable garden ideas to spruce up your outdoor space

Simple garden ideas have the potential to transform your space without needing too much time, money, or energy. You might think this is a challenge, but there are lots of simple tweaks and upgrades you can implement, no matter whether you have a balcony, small backyard or a large garden. If you don't have much time to garden or don't have the money to spend on gardening, this is the article for you. I'll share some quick and easy plans that will maximise your time and save you money.

These quick and easy garden upgrades are ideal if you are on a budget, working with a rented garden, or just stuck for time. Renters should try to stick non-permanent changes in the yard. If you don’t want to spend much on your rented space, you can plant in boxes or containers, and bring in bold containers. This will improve the look of your garden, but you can take them with you if you move. 

There are also many health benefits to gardening so get outdoors and implement some of these easy and affordable garden ideas to update your outside for the better.

Paint old plant pots

One of the most cost-effective ways to refresh your garden is to give your old plant pots a new lease of life. Terracotta pots, in particular, can become dull and unappealing over time, but with a little bit of paint, you can transform them into a vibrant and eye-catching feature of your outdoor space.  Painting pots is a great way to liven up the garden and disguise a pot that has seen better days.

The beauty of using paint to update your pots is that you can use any type of paint, including indoor paint, however weather resistant paint will be best if you have some or can buy some. This means you can get creative and use a variety of colours and designs to suit your personal style and preferences. And if you happen to have some paint left over from a previous DIY project, this is a great way to put it to use and save money on your garden project.

Container gardening is a great way to add greenery to your outdoor space, especially if you don't have soil to plant directly into. Containers are versatile and can be used in a variety of settings, such as courtyards, patios, and balconies. They also allow you to showcase your personality and values, for example, if you’re eco-minded you can use an old wellington boot as a container for an eco-friendly touch or opt for bright pots to add some colour and joy to your garden.

large plant pot painted with cat

Plant pot painted with cat

Sow seeds into cracks in paving

Cracks in the paving are unsightly, but you can make a feature out of them if you’re clever.  One of the simplest ways to make use of cracks in paving is to sow seeds into them. Not only does this improve the appearance of your patio, but it also helps to reduce the need for weeding.  If you can't afford new paving slabs and need ideas for gardens on a budget then turn your gardens flaws into a feature instead!

A great option for this trick is to choose a low-growing, hardy perennial like thyme. Thyme is an ideal choice as it is easy to grow, requires minimal maintenance and will produce a pleasant scent as you walk over it. The plant also has small, pretty purple flowers that are beneficial for bees and other pollinators.

Thyme is a hardy plant and can tolerate a range of soil types and light conditions. When sowing the seeds, make sure to clean out the crack to remove any debris and loosen the soil. Then, simply sprinkle the thyme seeds into the crack and press them down firmly. Water the area well and keep it moist until the seeds germinate, which usually takes around 1-2 weeks. Once the thyme has established itself, it will spread and fill the crack, creating a lush and fragrant feature on your patio.

This is just one example of many plants that can be used to sow in the cracks of paving, you can also experiment with other low-growing perennials that will thrive in your climate and conditions. This is a great way to add some greenery and colour to your patio area, and it's also an affordable and easy way to make your garden look more attractive and interesting.

wildflower seed bombs uk

Wildflower seed bombs

Throw a seed bomb to grow a wild flower garden fast

Do you want to grow flowers in your garden but aren’t sure where to start?  Want a cheap garden idea that can help attract wildlife and look great at the same time?  Try a wildflower bomb, or a few!

Wildflower seed bombs are a fun and easy way to add a burst of colour to your garden with minimal effort. These seed bombs contain a mixture of wildflower seeds that are designed to grow quickly and easily in a variety of conditions. You simply need to throw or scatter the seed bombs in a designated area of your garden, whether it's on the ground, in pots or in raised planter beds. The seeds will then take root and grow into a beautiful wildflower garden.

One of the best things about wildflowers is that they are low-maintenance and can thrive with minimal care. They only need sun and occasional watering, making them a great option for gardeners who want to create a beautiful outdoor space without spending a lot of time and effort on maintenance. 

Additionally, wildflowers are great for bees and other pollinators. By creating a wildflower garden, you can help to support these important insects and contribute to the overall health of your local ecosystem. There are many different wildflower seed bombs available, you can also make your own wildflower seed bomb by mixing your own seeds, compost and clay. This is a great way to create a bee-friendly garden and to attract a variety of pollinators to your garden.

Triangle sunshade white

Triangle sunshade

Put up a sun shade

A sunshade is a great addition to any garden, providing shelter and protection from the sun's rays. It can be a simple and affordable way to enhance your outdoor living space and make it more comfortable and enjoyable.

There are many different types of sunshades available, from freestanding umbrellas to retractable awnings, that can provide a variety of benefits. For example, a sunshade can:

  • Create a focal point in your garden by drawing attention to a seating area, making it a more inviting spot to relax and entertain guests.

  • Offer privacy by blocking the view of nosy neighbours or busy streets.

  • Improve the aesthetics of your garden by blocking an unsightly view or by complementing the overall design of your outdoor space.

  • When choosing a sunshade, consider the size and shape of your outdoor area, the location of your seating area, and the direction of the sun. This will help you to choose the right size and style of sunshade to suit your needs. Also, consider the material of the sunshade, it should be durable, easy to clean and maintain, and be able to withstand the elements.

You can also get creative with your sunshade, using washable fabrics like canvas or cotton to create a unique and personalised look. Bright colours or patterns can add a playful touch to your garden, and can also help to draw focus to the seating area.

Hang solar-powered fairy lights

Gardens can look so pretty in the evening with little lights dotted around to showcase flowers. But wiring up lights for this job can be pricey and not to mention the additional cost to your electricity bill. So if you want this beautiful effect without any additional costs then consider buying some solar lights instead. This is the quickest update for your garden, but one of the most effective once evening draws in.

Fairy lights or any other solar garden lights will add a cosy, romantic atmosphere to your garden, and distract from any features that are less desirable. Choose solar-powered garden lights for an eco-friendly, fast upgrade; they are easy to fit as many can be pushed into the ground. They collect the solar power from the sun all day and then light up at dusk. Giving you the same effect as other garden lights for a fraction of the cost.

solar lanterns garden ornamental

Solar lanterns

Freshen up your garden furniture

Is your garden furniture looking a little drab?  Garden furniture is an important aspect of any outdoor space, but over time it can become dull, faded, and worn. To keep your garden looking its best, it's important to freshen up your garden furniture on a regular basis.

One way to do this is to paint your furniture. This is a quick and easy way to give your garden furniture a new look and can be done over a weekend. Be sure to use a paint that is suitable for outdoor use, and choose a colour that complements your garden's overall design.

Another way to freshen up your garden furniture is to update your style. If your furniture is still in good condition but no longer suits your taste, you can give your garden a boost with new, modern and colourful pieces. This can be a more expensive option, rather than an affordable garden idea, but it can also be a great way to create a new look and feel in your garden.

When shopping for new garden furniture, consider your budget and your needs. Look for pieces that are durable, easy to maintain, and lightweight. You can also check out local selling groups and marketplaces for a bargain, as well as car boots to keep things affordable.

Add detail

Adding detail to your garden can make a big impact on its overall appearance, even if you don't have much time or energy to put into extensive updates. One way to do this is to use reflective elements, such as a large mirror, to enhance the visual appeal of your garden.

Positioning a large mirror in a strategic location in your garden can create the illusion of more space and depth. It can also reflect the natural beauty of your plants, flowers, and other garden features, making them appear more vibrant and lush.

When selecting a mirror, choose one that is suitable for outdoor use, and ensure that it is protected from the elements. You can also consider adding other reflective elements like metal sculptures, mosaic tile, or glass to your garden to create a similar effect.

Also, you can add detail by adding structures like arbors, trellises, or pergolas, which can provide visual interest and also serve as a support for climbing plants. Adding small garden ornaments like birdhouses, statues, or water features can also bring a sense of personality and charm to your garden.

garden arch mirror

Garden arch mirror

Edge the lawn

Edging your lawn is an easy and effective way to add definition and structure to your garden design. It is a simple task that can be done in under an hour and makes a big impact on the overall appearance of your garden. By creating a clean and well-defined edge between your lawn and garden beds, you can give your garden a polished and professional look.

There are many different materials that you can choose from for lawn edging. Some popular options include metal, plastic, brick, stone, and wood. Each material has its own unique look and can be used to complement the overall style of your garden.

Metal edging is a great option if you want a clean, modern look. It is durable, easy to install, and can be found in a variety of colours and finishes. Plastic edging is lightweight, easy to install and a cost-effective option. Brick and stone edging gives a natural and traditional look to your garden, and wood is an excellent option for a rustic or cottage-style garden.

When installing lawn edging, it's important to prepare the area first by removing any existing grass or weeds and make sure you level the soil before installing the border. Follow the manufacturer's instructions and check the manual for any additional equipment you may need such as the appropriate tools and equipment.

Add cushions to make your outdoor dining area comfortable

Outdoor cushions are a simple and affordable way to add comfort and style to your garden furniture. They can be used to create a cosy and inviting outdoor dining area, perfect for entertaining guests or enjoying a meal with family and friends.

When selecting outdoor cushions, consider the size, shape, and style of your garden furniture. Choose a colour and pattern that complements the overall design of your garden, and look for cushions that are made from durable and weather-resistant materials.

In addition to adding comfort to your outdoor dining area, outdoor cushions can also be used to create extra seating or lounging options in your garden. Large cushions can be placed directly on your patio or deck, creating a comfortable spot to relax or read a book. They can also be used as seating for kids, creating a fun and safe place for them to play.

Outdoor cushions can also be used to add a touch of personality to your garden. With a wide variety of colours, patterns and styles, you can easily find one that matches your taste and garden style.

garden cushion covers

Decorative garden cushion covers

Feed the lawn

Feeding your lawn with the right fertilizer is needed to prevent excessive weed and moss growth. It will also help your lawn to recover from mowing better. A healthy lawn requires regular maintenance, including proper fertilization. Fertilizing your lawn with the right nutrients is essential for preventing excessive weed and moss growth, and promoting strong and healthy grass growth.Find out more about the benefits of fertilizing your lawn on this website.

When choosing a fertilizer for your lawn, it is important to consider the specific needs of your grass. Potassium, iron, and magnesium are all important nutrients that are necessary for maintaining a healthy lawn. Potassium helps to improve the overall health of your lawn, iron helps to promote a deep green colour, and magnesium helps to strengthen the root system.

You can also consider using slow-release fertilizers, which release their nutrients over time, providing a steady supply of nutrients to your lawn, rather than a single, large dose.

If you have a small lawn, you can also use an alternative method to add iron to your lawn, such as adding rusty nails to your watering can. The iron from the nails will infuse into the water that you pour onto the lawn, providing it with an extra boost of this essential nutrient.

It's important to note that over-fertilizing your lawn can cause more harm than good, so it's important to follow the manufacturer's instructions when applying fertilizer. Also, it's essential to keep in mind that fertilizing is just one part of maintaining a healthy lawn, you should also be mowing, watering and aerating your lawn regularly.

Keep reading as we have lots more quick and easy garden ideas below...

simple garden ideas on a budget

More simple garden ideas on a budget 

Phew, hopefully that's given you a lot of ideas to start, but we're not done yet... Want even more ways to elevate your outdoor space without spending a lot of money? Look no further. Here are some additional simple and budget-friendly garden ideas to enhance your backyard and make it a place you'll love to spend time in.

Add flowering plants

While evergreen shrubs help to keep your garden looking verdant all year round, adding flowering plants reminds you that nature is cyclical. Sometimes, nature is in bloom, and sometimes not.  Flowers come in a wide range of colours, shapes, and sizes, making it easy to create a garden that is unique and personalised to your taste.

When choosing flowering plants for your garden, it's important to consider the blooming period of each plant. This way, you can create a garden that has a continuous display of colour throughout the growing season. For example, you can choose early-blooming plants like crocus and daffodils to give your garden a splash of colour in the spring, followed by mid-season bloomers like roses and lilies, and then late-season bloomers like chrysanthemums and asters to extend the colour in your garden throughout the fall.

Another thing to keep in mind is to choose the right plants for your growing conditions and climate. Some plants prefer full sun, while others do well in partial shade. Additionally, you can choose plants that are suitable for your soil type. This will ensure that your plants will thrive in your garden and will not require too much maintenance.

Flowering plants also offer other benefits beyond their visual appeal. They attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators to your garden, which is essential for the health of your garden and the environment. Additionally, many flowering plants have a pleasant fragrance which can add an extra layer of sensory pleasure to your outdoor space.

Adding flowering plants to your garden is a great way to enhance the beauty and interest of your garden. With a little planning and consideration, you can create a garden that is a feast for the eyes and the senses, and that will change with the seasons.  To save money, keep an eye out for reduced plants in supermarkets and local garden centres, as well as growing from seed to keep costs down. 

Cull weeds

Weeds can be a major problem in any garden, competing with your plants for water, nutrients and sunlight. To keep weeds under control, it's important to use a multi-pronged approach that includes a combination of preventative measures and regular maintenance.

Mulching is one of the most effective ways to prevent weeds from taking over your garden. By spreading a layer of mulch around your plants, you can block out light and prevent weeds from germinating. Mulch also helps to retain moisture and improve soil quality, which will benefit your plants. There are many types of mulch available, from wood chips to straw, each with their own benefits.

In addition to mulching, it's important to schedule regular weeding sessions to remove any unwanted growth from your garden. This can be done by hand or with a hoe, depending on the size of your garden. Be sure to pull weeds out by the roots to prevent them from regrowing.

It's also worth noting that not all weeds are bad. Some, like clover, can actually be beneficial in your garden. Keeping clover in the lawn can help to keep your garden green during periods of drought and requires less mowing than grass. It's also great for bees and other pollinators.

The key is to be mindful of the weeds in your garden and to differentiate between the ones that are harmful and the ones that are not. This way, you can make an informed decision about which weeds to remove and which to keep. By implementing a combination of preventative measures and regular maintenance, you can effectively control weeds and keep your garden looking its best.

riverford new customer offer

Create a focal point

We’ve moved on a lot from the Victorian idea that gardens are just places to wander and enjoy nature. Instead, we now see them more as living spaces: places we can go that aren’t the living or dining room. Creating a focal point in your garden is a great way to turn it into an inviting and functional outdoor living space. A focal point is a visual element that serves as the centre of attention in your garden and helps to define the overall design and purpose of the space.

There are many ways to create a focal point in your garden, depending on your personal style and the overall design of your outdoor space. One popular option is to use a metal fire pit. Metal fire pits are the outdoor equivalent of a traditional hearth, providing warmth and a cosy gathering spot for family and friends. They also add a sense of drama and ambience to your garden.

Another way to create a focal point in your garden is to use tables or other furniture as the centre of attention. For example, a beautifully designed dining table or a comfortable seating area can serve as the focal point of your garden, making it a functional and inviting space for entertaining and relaxing.

You could also use a fountain, water feature or sculpture as a focal point, They can add a sense of elegance and tranquillity to your garden and can also serve as a source of soothing background noise.

Grow plants according to a theme

While you’re free to plant whatever species you like in your garden, it’s a good idea to grow plants according to a theme. This way, your garden will make visual sense throughout the year. Growing plants according to a theme is a great way to create a cohesive and visually pleasing garden. A theme can be based on a variety of factors, such as colour, species, or style, and can help to create a sense of unity and coherence throughout your garden.

One popular theme is to choose a colour scheme and stick to it throughout your garden. For example, you can choose to use only shades of blue and purple in your garden, creating a serene and harmonious space. Another theme could be based on species, such as a butterfly garden, which will attract different types of butterflies and other pollinators to your garden.

You could also choose to grow plants in beds that keep them neatly contained, this is especially useful if you have a small garden and want to create distinct areas within it. By using different plants in different beds, you can create different moods and styles throughout your garden.

When choosing plants for your garden, be sure to consider factors such as light, soil, and water requirements, as well as the overall design and style of your garden. This will help to ensure that your plants thrive and contribute to the overall beauty of your garden.

metal watering cans

Colourful metal watering cans by welovegardening on Etsy

Add artwork 

Adding artwork to your garden can help to create a unique and personal outdoor living space. Garden art is becoming increasingly popular as people begin to see their outdoor spaces as extensions of their interiors, and a way to express their personal style and creativity.

There are many ways to add artwork to your garden, such as adding ornaments, sculptures, or even outdoor murals that you can hang on your fences. These items can give your garden a more room-like feel, and can also serve as a focal point, drawing attention to a specific area of your garden.

When choosing artwork for your garden, consider your personal taste and style. You can choose to make your garden nature-inspired, by adding sculptures of animals or plants, or you could include abstract sculptures, ornaments, and paintings. You could also add some vintage items like an old bicycle, an old sign or a vintage bench to your garden.

It's important to ensure that the artwork you choose is suitable for outdoor use and can withstand the elements. Consider factors such as material, size, and weight, as well as how the artwork will look in relation to the overall design of your garden.

Add edible herbs

Adding edible herbs to your garden is a great way to add both beauty and functionality to your outdoor space. Not only do herbs provide a source of fresh and flavourful ingredients for your cooking, but they also add a touch of greenery and fragrance to your garden.

Herbs such as rosemary, thyme, basil, and mint are all easy to grow and require minimal maintenance. They can be planted in raised beds, pots, or directly in the ground, and can be used fresh or dried in a wide variety of dishes. You’ll be constantly walking from your kitchen to your herb garden to clip fresh rosemary and thyme to add to your meals!

In addition to herbs, you can also plant fruit trees in your garden for a bountiful harvest throughout the summer and fall. Fruit trees such as apple, cherry, and pear trees can provide a delicious and nutritious source of fresh fruit, as well as add beauty and shade to your garden.

How to make your garden look nice on a budget

How to make your garden look nice on a budget

Don't let a tight budget stop you from having a beautiful garden. As you can begin to see there are lots of easy garden ideas on a budget that can start making you proud of your outdoor space.  But we're not done yet.  We have even more ideas!  Keep reading.  Here are some tips on how to make your outdoor space look its best, without spending a fortune.

Tidying up has a big impact

Looking at your garden you may find toys lying around, old plant pots no longer being used, old furniture that you were going to take to the recycle centre, and just not had the time. Over the winter our gardens can become a bit of a dumping ground. So just giving it a big tidy up can have a big impact on the overall look. If you don’t have the muscle power or vehicles to do the job then considering a service for garden clearance could be the way forward. By decluttering your garden, it gives you a chance to look at what you have to work with and how to make your garden look nice on a budget.  Even just the tify up could make a huge difference. 

Clean your patio or deck

One of the most important steps in keeping your garden looking its best is to maintain the cleanliness of your patio or deck. The overall look of your garden will be hugely affected by the state of your garden paving or decking.  Over time, patios and decks can become covered in dirt, grime, and other debris, which can make them look unsightly and dull. Algae and lichen can also grow on the surface, making the area slippery and potentially hazardous.

This may not be a quick garden idea, but cleaning your patio or deck properly is an easy task that can make a huge difference in the overall appearance of your garden. The process is simple, start by sweeping the area to remove any loose debris. Next, use a good patio cleaner  or decking cleaner that is specifically designed to remove dirt, grime, algae and lichen. There are many different types of patio and decking cleaners available, some are more effective than others, so it's worth doing a little research to find the right one for your needs.

When using the cleaner, make sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully, as some cleaners may need to be diluted before use. Also, it's important to protect yourself by wearing gloves and goggles. Once the cleaning solution has been applied, leave it to work its magic for a few minutes before scrubbing the area with a stiff brush. Finally, rinse the area thoroughly with a hose or pressure washer to remove any remaining cleaner.

Cleaning your patio or deck is an essential step in maintaining the overall appearance of your garden. Not only will it make the area look cleaner and fresher, but it will also help to prolong the life of your patio or deck. Additionally, it will make the area safer by removing any slippery lichen or algae. Regular cleaning is recommended, at least once or twice a year, to keep your patio or deck in top condition. 

Invest in some storage

The problem with our gardens is that we don’t treat them in the same way we do the interiors of our homes. If we needed somewhere to put something in a living area, we would create a storage solution for it. So the same should happen for your garden. This means thinking about investing in a shed or storage box to keep those tools and garden bits tidied away when they are not needed.  We could really do with a shed for garden tools and another shed filled with the children's toys they can access themselves!

Mow the grass and weed the flowerbeds

This can be quite a labour intensive job. But sorting out your lawned areas and clearing up the flowerbeds will make your garden look more presentable. It can take some time initially, especially after the winter months. But once it is done it’s easy to maintain and will keep your garden looking fabulous.  If you're looking for a quick garden idea that could be cost-effective in the longrun, then consider a robot lawnmower!  They can be a worthwhile investment compared to paying for a gardener to mow your lawn or if you think about all the time you'll save each week.  Although expensive at first, it could pay for itself over time.

Buy flowers in bulk 

Buying flowers in bulk can be a great way to save money when making your garden look nice on an affordable budget.  Many garden centres and nurseries offer bulk flower deals, allowing you to purchase a large number of flowers at a discounted price. This can be especially useful if you are planning to create a large flower bed or if you want to add a lot of colour to your garden.  Don’t forget to sign up for garden centre loyalty cards too for extra discounts.

Another way to save money is to buy seeds instead of ready-made plants. While it may take longer to grow, you'll save a lot of money in the long run. You can also check seed companies online or in the local gardening shops. Buying seeds in bulk can be a great way to save money and ensure that you have an even wider variety of flowers to choose from.

heritage tweed green metal watering can

Metal watering can

Final word

Many of these are easy and quick garden ideas that shouldn't take much to implement for a great looking garden next spring and summer.  Even if you have very limited funds, hopefully these ideas to improve your garden on a budget will inspire you!

Your garden shouldn’t be an afterthought: something you consider secondary to your home. Instead, it should be an integral part of your living space: somewhere that you can go to enjoy yourself after a busy day (or even before, for that matter). Gardens should appeal to the senses but, unfortunately, many fall short of the mark. Show yours some more love with these simple garden ideas on a budget.

So there you have it: some of the ways that you can show your garden love on a budget.  Check out our easy garden privacy ideas next to stop nosy neighbours!

For more tips, check out these money-saving ideas for the garden and read all my home and garden blog posts here!