Five Ways to Upgrade Your Garden on a Budget

You want to upgrade your garden with a bit of a refresh, but that doesn’t have to mean busting your budget. Having a beautifully curated garden is a long game—upgrading step by step until you have the garden of your dreams at the price you can afford. With a little bit of planning, you can save money on everything from fertilizer to furniture while still creating an outdoor space that is comfortable, productive and beautiful. We have some tips you can use to upgrade your garden on a modest budget.

1. Choose flowering perennials instead of annuals

Buying annuals can be fun, but it also means you’ll be doing it every year, which isn’t very budget friendly. Instead, choose flowering perennial plants. With only modest effort, they’ll bloom every year, giving you a cultivated and cost-effective flower bed.

“If you have a lot of space you are trying to cover, look at purchasing fast-spreading perennials such as the Daisy, Black-Eyed Susan, Wild Aster or Honeysuckle,” recommends Tammy Sons, owner of Tennessee Wholesale Nursery. “They take up a lot of space, so make sure you plant them in an area where they can stretch out.” They’ll provide ground cover each year without you having to spend another dime. The money saved on buying annuals can then be freed up to spend on other upgrades.

2. Use what you have around

Upgrading a garden on a budget is about stretching that budget as much as you can. One of the best ways to do this is to repurpose items you have around the house or garden.

  • Egg cartons, yogurt or cottage cheese containers can be used to start seeds or grow young plants, which can be more budget friendly.
  • Empty milk jugs can be cut in half and used to protect plants from frost. Or you can pair them with an old ladder and create a vertical garden for small spaces.
  • Have plants that need to be staked? Look around for downed branches or twigs. They can be used to stake plants while giving a rustic look to the garden.

3. Go foraging or ask a friend

Foraging for wild plants and planting them at home in your garden is a great way to build out your garden bed while saving money. Local wild plants are also native to your garden’s climate, so they should be able to withstand and thrive throughout the seasons. Local plants that grow well can save you countless hours possibly spent troubleshooting any problems with non-native species. By using local plants, you can turn your garden into an impressive, yet effortless, native habitat.

Another easy way to stretch your gardening dollars is to trade cuttings, seeds, or plants with other gardeners. You can also check out local plant swaps where you can trade your excess plants for new plants from someone else’s garden.

4. Create your own fertilizer and pest spray

Pests and slow-growing plants can be a budget buster. Not only can pests destroy what you’ve already planted but they also can be costly when trying to remove.

  • Plant herbs alongside other plants in your garden. The herbs will keep pests away from other plants while providing a natural, and delicious, in-fill to your garden.
  • Mix garlic, minced hot peppers, water and a bit of dish soap to create a pest spray.
  • If you drink coffee, those old coffee grinds can be used as fertilizer. If you’re not a coffee drinker, you can ask your local coffee shop to save you some. Add in some ground-up eggshells and potato peelings for added nutrients.
  • 5. Create atmosphere for cheap

It doesn’t take a lot of money to create a little atmosphere in your garden. A quick trip to the store and repurposing some old furniture can transform tired spaces.

  • A little paint can go a long way. Painting planters, tables or chairs can make old furniture look more modern without having to spend a lot of money. Painting an old fence black makes plants and furniture become the focal point.
  • Some waterproof sealant and an old stool or chair can be repurposed for outdoor seating. Even an old tire with a waterproof cushion can be turned into seating for kids.
  • String lights such a globe or fairy lights are fairly inexpensive but create a big impact for hanging out at night.

Tennessee Wholesale Nursery

A bonus tip from Tammy Sons is to buy plants wholesale, like her company, Tennessee Wholesale Nursery offers. Buying wholesale is cheaper than going to a local garden store because you are cutting out the middleman. You’ll also find more variety and the convenience of plants being shipped right to your door!

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