Budget Small Garden Ideas
February 22, 2024

Maintaining your garden can have a wealth of benefits: it’s good for wildlife, great for your mental health and it gives you somewhere to relax and enjoy during the summer months. Because what could be better than soaking up the sun while surrounded by lush greenery, flowers and birdsong?

Many people think a gorgeous garden will cost a lot of money but it really doesn’t have to. And if you don’t have much room to play with, there are heaps of budget small garden ideas to help you transform your space. If your garden’s not in the shape you’d like it to be, read our experts' tips on how to give it a makeover without breaking the bank.

Small Garden Ideas on a Budget

If you haven’t got much space to play with, it’s still possible to transform your garden on a budget. Using every inch wisely is key. Here are our top ideas for small garden makeovers.

Use Vertical Space

If floor space is limited, take it higher! Tiered planters or plant shelf units are ideal for small gardens, as are trellises, which you can place on walls. This Forest Garden Heavy Duty Trellis is ideal for those on a budget and will help your garden look beautifully lush. Hanging baskets are also great for adding greenery to a small garden.

Be Clever with Colour

Add lighter plants at the back of your garden to add depth and open out your space, such as climbers with variegated foliage that’s often lighter in colour, or plants with light coloured flowers.

Use colour to add impact too with flowers like stately delphiniums or Larkspur Giant Imperials. Showstoppers like these will easily help to transform a garden into something bright and eye-catching. 

 

Use Corners

A corner sofa set or corner planter will really make the most of the limited space you have, freeing up the surrounding space.

Choose Native Plants

Opting for plants that are easy to care for is key for gardens on a budget as they’re much more likely to thrive, so you won’t have to buy any extras to help them out (like tropical plant food or thermal fleeces for winter). As they’re less likely to fail, this means you only have to buy once because you won’t have to buy any plants to replace them. Avoid tropical plants that need a lot of TLC in the British climate and go for varieties that are as local as possible, like English bluebells, ferns and hardy garden herbs. Native plants are used to the climate and so are much easier to take care of.

Add Mirrors

Mirrors on walls will reflect your garden and create the illusion of it being much bigger than it is. The larger, the better, as more space will be reflected.

Grow Year-round Foliage

Evergreens reward you with greenery all year round, so that’s just one plant to buy for the full year – no need to worry about having a bare garden for most of the year and buying something for every season. Winter jasmine will stay green all year long and reward you with beautiful bright yellow flowers in winter, while a trellis will help you train it to grow higher for some extra privacy. 

Refresh Fences and Sheds

Another of our budget small garden ideas is to give a quick lick of paint to your fences, sheds or wooden planters. It can make a world of difference when revamping your garden.

Be Savvy with Garden Furniture

Garden furniture can really finish off your space and, of course, provide somewhere for you to sit and enjoy your garden. Opt for folding, easy-to-store designs like bistro sets that you can bring out only when you need them.  If you’re not sure which type or material is best for you, check out our Garden Furniture Buying Guide.

Plant Perennials

Choosing perennials is another good idea as you won’t need to plant them annually – they’ll simply grow back again next year. The cost savings all add up! 

Hardy perennials like rosemary and thyme are good choices as they take care of themselves and are also wonderfully aromatic herbs for your cooking. All you need to do is cut them back a little when they get too big for your liking, though this won’t need doing too often. Herbs like these look especially good when planted in pots for a decorative appearance.

Choose a Grow House over a Greenhouse

Want to grow your own veg but can’t afford a greenhouse? A grow house is a fraction of the cost and can even be put away when not in use, making it perfect for small gardens.

Reshape Your Borders

You can fit more plants into relaxed curving edges than you can straight borders and it’ll add a lot more interest. All you need is a few extra plants or seeds and some compost and you’ll have some lovely new flowers and foliage to adorn your space.

Avoid Certain Plants

Avoid plants that have a tendency to take over, like nasturtiums or squashes (if you’re growing veg), or any with explosive seed pods! These plants, like euphorbia, spread seeds like wildfire so they’d be popping up in other areas of your garden, making it look cluttered. 

Water Your Garden for Free!

You may not think of your garden as a place that can rack up bills, but plants need watering and water needs paying for! Unless you have a water butt, that is – in which case, you can water your plants for free. I fyou’re worried you might not have the space, simply opt for a slim designed one. Rainwater is often better for plants anyway, given that it’s natural and unpurified, so it’s a win-win. 

Swap your hose for a watering can to save even more money – they use less water so you’re less likely to have to reach for the tap when your water butt runs dry. 

Reseed Your Lawn

While it may be quicker to lay down new turf, it’s certainly a lot cheaper to sow some grass seed. You can buy fast-growing grass seed that establishes quickly if patience isn’t your strong point!

Grow Plants from Seed

Seeds cost next to nothing compared to established plants. They may take a little longer to grow but it’s well worth the wait. Plus, you can enjoy the satisfaction of seeing your garden grow from scratch. Use a propagator if you want to start your seedlings off early and extend the growing season.

Make Your Own Compost

Why buy compost when you can make it for free? You just need to invest in a one-off purchase of a composter to set yourself up for long-term savings in the years ahead.

Add Wildlife

A garden isn’t a garden without the sights and sounds of wildlife too, and it doesn’t cost much to entice creatures in. All you need is some bird feed to bring in the birds and some simple tricks to attract insects. Sow wildflower seeds and let a patch of them grow tall to encourage buzzing bees and humming crickets which like to hide in long grass.

Use Hand Tools Instead of Power Tools

Power tools can be expensive and they’re often best for larger areas. So save yourself some money and go for hand tools like hedge shears instead of an electric trimmer.

Garden Patio Ideas on a Budget

No grass? No problem. Even with just a patio you can create the garden of your dreams. Follow our tips for a top transformation. 

Cover a Shabby Patio

If your patio’s not looking its best, instead of forking out for a new one, simply cover it up with an attractive outdoor rug.

Create Ambience

Make your patio glow with some inexpensive string solar lights or decorative lanterns. They’ll make a world of difference when dusk falls and make your space feel magical.

Make an Impact with Pots

There are heaps of plants that can thrive in pots, including fruit trees, fruit bushes, vegetables, aromatic herbs and flowers. The garden is your oyster! Herbs like mint, rosemary and thyme are easy to care for in the British climate and can look gorgeous in terracotta or brightly coloured pots, while bay trees or patio roses look stunning flanking doorways.

Use Artificial Grass

If you have a concrete yard rather than a lawn and would like some green grass in your space, avoid calling expensive contractors to dig up the concrete and simply put down some artificial grass. We have lots of different types to help you achieve the look you want within your budget.

Add Trellises

If there’s no greenery on the ground, make it grow on the walls! Green plants make us feel happy and at ease, so the more you can add, the better. Simply add a trellis or two and choose your favourite climbing plants. They can completely transform a space and delight the senses: evergreen jasmine in various forms (white or pink scented flowers in spring, or bright yellow unscented for some colour in winter); sweet smelling honeysuckle with attractive autumn berries that follow summer flowers; evergreen pyracanthas with their clusters of vivid fire-coloured berries in autumn; and gorgeous ivy that grows well in almost any conditions.

Now you’re clued up on budget small garden ideas, it’s time to put the tips into action! Browse our full garden range for everything you need, from plants and seeds to outdoor furniture and garden equipment. We have lots of low-cost options to choose from across all our categories, so you can stick to your budget while giving your garden the makeover it deserves.