There are plenty of budget-conscious design ideas (or even DIY tricks) to boost your space
Is your garden looking a little lacklustre and in need of more than a little TLC? Well, there’s no time like the present to tackle your outdoor space. If your garden fencing is in need of repairing or painting, or your garden edging seems overly messy it can impact upon the whole of your backyard space. Breathing new life into your back garden (or front garden, for that matter) doesn’t always require a landscape gardener.
There are plenty of simple updates that can be achieved on a budget, and which make a huge difference to the appearance of your outdoor space. Whether it’s a small garden, a patio or a balcony garden, there are plenty of budget garden ideas (or even DIY tricks) to boost your space.
Love your garden? See more of our garden ideas.
From simple garden lighting to inexpensive outdoor furniture ideas, pretty planting to statement outdoor styling for summer garden parties, there are a multitude of smart ways to make your garden great without breaking the bank. All it takes is a little planning and a few clever tricks, and you can turn any garden into a tranquil haven, country retreat or al fresco dining area – even on the smallest budget, as these ten garden ideas show.
1. Brighten a wall with plants in picture frames
Simple but hugely effective, this easy make costs just a few pounds but is a smart way to bring colour to a dull wall. It’s a great Bank Holiday project – you’ll need some frames, chicken wire, paints, and succulents and moss to fill them out.
Here’s how to do it: How to make a wall garden with succulent plants in picture frames
2. Upcycle an old cabinet into a potting table
Here, an old freestanding kitchen unit has been transformed into a place to repot plants with a few easy modifications. Start with a lick of paint, and maybe look to changing the worktop – here, a surface with a lip stops soil dropping all over the floor. Add hooks to the side so you can hang trowels and other tools for easy access. Inside, you can stash compost, pots, seeds and more, freeing up space in your shed.
3. Lay a path with old bricks
Put that pile of leftover bricks to good use and make a path that mirrors the shape of your flowerbeds. Lay them long and sideways in a bed of gravel to create a patterned curve.
4. Add instant colour with bedding plants
A tray of Tagetes or Antirrhinum (snapdragons) will add instant colour to your front garden and bloom throughout the summer. Be sure to feed them weekly with tomato food in the summer keep them well watered in the heat – snip off any dead flower heads to keep them looking top notch.
With the right care they should be packed with flowers until early autumn.
5. Perk up decking with a rug
An outdoor rug and some oversize floor cushions laid over faded decking or a grubby patio will instantly lift your outdoor space and ensure an entertaining area just as stylish as your interior. Go for designs that are patterned on both sides, so you can flip them over if they start to discolour in the sun.
Get the look
Buy now: Nomad Tarifa Rug, from £169, Weaver Green
6. Impress guests with an outdoor bar
Rather than disappear into the house every time another drink is needed set up a bar outside and make cocktail hour an alfresco affair. You can pick up the materials needed to knock up your own Tiki-style serving area cheaply at your local DIY store. Or you could keep it really simple and upcycle and old wooden bar cart, making sure to treat the wood against the elements. Keeping drinks cool is as simple as filling a bucket with ice.
7. Use plastic bottles as containers
It’s only when you look closely that you notice this potted display is actually contained in used drinks bottles. We spotted this trick at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show, and isn’t it genius? Try it yourself by carefully cutting off the top of each bottle, then adding gravel for drainage, followed by soil and the plants of your choice.
8. Hang some baskets
Hanging baskets are easy to make and look stunning. Make sure you use multi-purpose compost and feed regularly with tomato food. For a sunny spot use sun loving Surfinias and Bacopa and for a more shady corner try Lobelia and trailing Fuchsia.
9. Create a mini vegetable garden
If you want to make your garden a bit more about sustainability, but don’t really have space (or the funds) to plant a full-scale veggie patch, why not try a neat vegetable trug instead?
10. Turn your shed into a summer house
If you have a garden shed, but you’re not really using it for anything beyond storing a toolbox and housing some cobwebs, don’t waste the extra space. You can spruce it up pretty easily and turn it into a bright and airy potting shed (if you’re green-fingered) a sunny summerhouse, a neat studio or even a garden playhouse for the kids.
11. Create a cute bird feeder
It’s not always big things that change the feel of a garden – it can simply amount to the sounds you hear. Boost your garden’s atmosphere by encouraging birds in with a DIY bird feeder their song will instantly create a more positive feel. Talk about an idea on the ‘cheep’!
Looking for more garden ideas? READ: Pretty patio ideas for every garden space
12. Paint the fences
Garden fences need more care and attention than we usually care to think about. How come the paint job it needs never lasts as long as we hope it will? So, if you’re looking for garden fence ideas, why not treat it a bit differently next time you give it a coat of wood paint.
Use paint specially designed for outdoor use to add new life to your garden as this will help preserve the wood, meaning the colour won’t fade. Instead of your usual shades of golden or ashy brown, consider a fresh, playful colour instead. Create a bold statement with your trellis or shed by using bright oranges for a hot Mediterranean feel.
To focus attention on the plants themselves use a colour to divert the eye away from fences and gates such as holly green. This will make them melt into the background.
13. Upcycle drawers to create a unique planter
If you have an old, unused chest of drawers knocking about the house, give it a new lease of life by turning it into a unique colourful garden planter! This four-drawer unit is well-balanced with two staggered tiers of plants, that bring a playful touch to your back garden design.
14. Create an easy awning
If you have a compact patio garden that’s a bit of a sun trap, consider hanging a simple sail-like canopy. It won’t take up the valuable space that a parasol would, but still gives you a little bit of safe shade. You can buy shades like this at B&Q and Clas Ohlsen.
15. Opt for a one-colour wonder
In a balcony garden, don’t overcomplicate things; choose slender planters in a rich, summery colour and match your furniture. A lick of metal paint can update an old iron garden chair quite easily and is a cheap update, too. This beautiful blue has a real Mediterranean feel and, together with the slender lines of the plant pots and the chair, the small garden area feels comfortable rather than cluttered.
16. Transform a plain wall with a mural
Here, and old brick garage has been magically reinvented as a mystical pathway through the woods. And all it took was some tins of paint, applied by an expert wall artist. Commission your own work of art, or have a go yourself if you’re really counting the pennies and fancy yourself as the next Banksy.
17. Boost seating with colourful cushions
Enjoy this garden makeover: Before and after: from shabby garden to tropical oasis with tiki bar
Keep a feeling of warmth, even in a shady corner with bright cushions and matching planting. Give your old garden sofa a boost by layering it up with new-season accessories for a modern, budget-conscious look.