Small garden ideas on a budget – maximise your garden space

We’ve found some smart, space-saving tips for you to try…

Small garden on a budget

by Piper Huxley |
Published on

For those of us who struggle to find inspiration to revamp our small outdoor spaces, there are plenty of small garden ideas on a budget to help you nurture your private space. Though we’re often tempted to leave our gardens to run wild, there are things we can do to improve our spaces, to make the most of the limited space we may have. From combining storage with seating to hanging baskets, there is plenty of inspiration for a space-saving outdoor oasis.

By being innovative and smart with your choices, you’ll be able to inject your style into your garden, without compromise. You may even get the chance to pop some garden furniture into a sunny spot, in the hopes you’ll be able to host when days are longer and warmer. Don’t allow your small space to get you down – there are plenty of budget tweaks you can make, to ensure plants are abundant, wildlife feels invited in and you have a space to relax from the pressures of modern life. And, it doesn’t have to be a solitary space, you can open it up to your loved ones.

Small garden ideas on a budget at a glance

Best space-saving herb planter: Stackable Terracotta Herb Planter – view on Amazon UK
Budget seed bumper pack: Pronto Seed Flower Bumper Pack – view on Amazon UK
Budget rain catcher: Wickes Water Butt Kit - 210L – view at Wickes
Stake lights on a budget: 20 LED Mushroom Pathfinder Solar Lights – view at Marks & Spencer

One of our favourite pieces of advice for a small garden is to ditch the lawn, as it can limit garden creativity. If your lawn is small and a little pointless, what’s the use of keeping it? Here, you maximise the possibility for soft gravel, passionately shaped into paths to run alongside flower beds planted creatively, with blooming sweet peas alongside tall veggies such as beans. There’s something so controversial about getting rid of a lawn, but we love the idea.

Below, we’ve written a guide with the best garden ideas to uplift your small space, using every opportunity to maximise its potential. Pack your space with features, high and low – and your loved ones will be impressed by your space’s transformation. Take advantage of your fencing, patio (if you have one) and any established beds – because they’re in for a revamp. Make your ditsy outdoor space feel more like home with our small garden ideas on a budget.

Best small garden ideas on a budget

Plan and design

Assess your space and determine the layout, taking measurements, so you’re making the right purchases. Next, we recommend creating a budget – and doing your best to stick to it. By sketching a garden plan, you have a concrete idea of what your space will look like.

You may be able to squeeze a garden bar in.

Maximise space

When you’d like to make the most of your smaller outdoor space, consider vertical gardening solutions: from hanging baskets to wall planters and trellis. Plus, with green walls and vertical gardens, you’re hitting two birds with one stone (!) ensuring unsightly garden walls are covered.

We’ve hand-picked some of our favourite budget-friendly vertical gardening essentials.

Best hanging basket for small gardens

Thompson & Morgan Natural Garden Hanging Baskets Thompson and Morgan / Amazon

Pop a bracket on the garden wall or fence and let the blooms billow down on the garden below, creating a safe space for insects to thrive - and for you to admire the vibrant colours at arm's length. With a durable metal frame and made from coconut husk, these are perfect for planting.

Customers love how well-made and robust this set is, and enjoy the appearance and quality of the planter, which is promising. This set of two Thompson & Morgan Hanging Baskets is natural and traditional-looking, perfect for any cottage garden.

Pros

  • Robust, durable metal frame
  • Perfect for cottage gardens
  • Good value set of two

Cons

  • Design is a little standard

Best space-saving herb planter

 Amazing Creation Stackable Planter, Vertical Tower Garden PlanterAmazing Creation / Amazon
Price: $39.99

If you want a little herb garden to look after, but, haven't got room in your tiny raised bed, this Stackable Terracotta Herb Planter makes it easy. Space-saving, this set of five stackable pots can hold up to 15 different small plants in a vertical planter, aeroponic format.

Customers love how clever the concept is behind this product, with many praising its amazing quality and space-saving abilities. It's perfect for small gardens and balconies. One customer finds it easy to move around, due to being lightweight, but smaller than expected. It's a great starter kit - super durable and sturdy, crack and fade-resistant.

Pros

  • Super durable, crack-resistant
  • Space-saving for small spaces
  • Lightweight, easy to move

Cons

  • Some found it smaller than expected

Best wall-mounted planters

living wall plantersCrocus

From Crocus, we love these simple, stackable PlantBox Living Wall Planters are a fantastic way to take advantage of the wall space you may have outdoors. Bump up your planting capacity with these containers, made from recycled plastic - easy to put together and for a lush, green wall. They're available as a mini, medium or large set for your space - balconies, patios, conservatories.

Customers found the instructions clear and accurate. Plus, the wall planter is attractive, eco-friendly, robust and versatile. One customer commented that their large set looked beautiful throughout the summer and winter, without constant watering. It's best for a garden but can be installed indoors.

Pros

  • Made from 100 per cent recycled plastic
  • Available in three sizes for your space
  • Attach to walls, fences, balcony railings

Cons

  • Be careful with watering indoors

Best space-saving planter

Habitat Wood Ladder Planter 148/3750Habitat

Rustic and space-saving, the Habitat Wood Ladder Planter has drainage holes for your special plants. With deep planting boxes and smart copper label holders, this planter is made from eco-friendly FSC-certified wood. It's perfect for growing herbs, fruit and flowers - a burst of colours.

From a handful of reviews, this ladder planter comes 100% recommended with an average 4.8/5 star rating, with the quality and value ratings scoring highly. One customer commented that it's great value, fits together easily, and is a lovely, high-quality item. It's perfect for a small space or balcony.

Pros

  • Made from FSC-certified wood
  • Complete with pre-drilled drainage
  • Handcrafted, rustic and space-saving

Cons

  • Some found it slightly smaller than expected

Budget friendly pick

Forest Garden Smooth Planed Trellis Panel Wickes

Or, consider the Smooth Planed Trellis Panel, courtesy of Wickes. Perfect for making a wall feature by training climbing plants. Constructed using smooth, planed battens with rounded edges, this trellis has a quality finish and has been pressure-treated for a long-lasting feature in your space.

From over 150 reviews, the Trellis Panel from Wickes has been rated highly, with 93% of respondents recommending this product - with an average 4.6/5 star rating. One customer says it is good value for money, thicker than expected and pressure-treated, so should last. Plus, it's easy to install.

Pros

  • Pressure treated to prevent rot
  • Constructed from quality wood
  • Perfect for climbing plants

Cons

  • Some customers disagreed about the quality

Great plant choices

Choosing inexpensive, easy-to-grow plants is the way forward. Invest in plant packs for your hanging features, showcasing various vibrant blooms billowing from chic baskets. Or, consider sowing seeds into available beds or trugs – which are much cheaper than starter plants. With blooming trellises, hanging baskets and beds, gardens will thrive by attracting pollinators.

Budget hanging basket flowers

Mixed Basket Plants: Diverse Harmony, Vibrant Variety, 6 Pack Delight (Ideal for Baskets)B&Q
Price: £15.99

www.diy.com

Selected for their compatibility and visual appeal, this Mixed Basket Plants 6-Pack is extremely low-maintenance, creating dynamic and colourful arrangments in hanging baskets. We adore the harmonious blend of colours textured, for a varied display. However, if you're looking for something a little more uniform and specific, there are packs which aren't so varied.

Offering a long blooming season, this pack will provide ongoing colour and a captivating display.

Pros

  • Planting position in any location
  • A harmonious blend of colours
  • A perfect choice for a hanging basket

Cons

  • You may not like the floral choices - there are other packs available

Budget seed bumper pack

Pronto Seed Flower Bumper PackPronto Seed / Amazon

For all gardeners, we vouch for this Pronto Seed Flower Bumper Pack, which consists of 24 different varieties of flowers, to bring colour and fragrance to your garden, balcony, or windowsill. How amazing is the value? It contains four collections: Butterfly & Bee, Baskets & Containers, Easy Grow, and Sweet Pea, containing over 2700 seeds, from Mairgolds to Petunias to Foxlogves to Lavender.

Customers, from 5,000 global reviews, rate this pack highly - with a 4.3/5 star average rating. Many agree that the value and appearance are top-tier. however, opinions are mixed on quality. That being said, there are a quite few seeds to try from their Baskets collection to Sweet Peas for trellis. They're easy plants to sow, and maintain and are said to produce great results, for borders, beds and more.

Pros

  • Perfect for baskets, containers and beds
  • Butterfly and bee-attracting collection
  • Packed with 24 seed varieties for variation

Cons

  • Opinions are mixed on quality and germination

DIY and upcycling

Have you considered crafting your planters from recycled materials?

By using plastic boxes and galvanised trugs, and drilling drainage, you have a budget-friendly planter for blooms, herbs and more. Put together raised beds from pallets or scrap wood in your garage – that you haven’t found use for. Or, make decorations and water features from scratch.

Take a look at Gumtree or eBay for used garden furniture, or upcycle your existing set with a lick of paint or wood treatment. There are plenty of ways you can DIY your small garden.

Best for touching up furniture

Cuprinol Exterior Woodcare, SeagrassCuprinol / Amazon

Cuprinol's Garden Shades have been designed for sheds, fences and other garden wood, protecting them from the elements for up to six years. How impressive is that? Its special pigments ensure a rich colour, with the wood grain coming through - so, it's perfect for a cared-for rustic garden feel.

Whether terracotta, brick or stone, Cuprinol's Exterior Woodcare range is an easy, safe choice for revamping garden pieces. We love the Seagrass shade, too. Customers, from over 450 global reviews, rate this paint highly - with a 4.6/5 star average rating. Many agree that the quality and ease of use in a top positive for this pick - with a great colour and coverage. However, opinions are mixed on value.

Pros

  • Suitable for wood, terracotta, brick and stone
  • Colour enhances the grain of natural wood
  • With six-year weather protection for furniture

Cons

  • Opinions are mixed on the value

Best for preservation

Cuprinol Wood Preserver, ClearCuprinol

Using a brush, apply this Cuprinol Wood Preserver, Clear for protection for your outdoor furniture and accessories. Though it takes a few days to dry, it is a general-purpose preserver to protect the wood. Providing long-lasting protection, this low-odour formula is a great choice for all spaces.

Customers, from over 400 global reviews, rate this paint highly - with a 4.5/5 star average rating. Many agree that the ease of use, quality and value of this preservative are the advantages. It's easy to apply, good value and reliable against rot. However, some found the can tricky to open.

Pros

  • Actively prevents rot and decay
  • Colourless preserver for exterior use
  • Use as a basecoat before other coats

Cons

  • Some found the can tricky to open

Maintenance on a budget

A small garden on a budget may need a little planning – so, be prepared to be resourceful. Luckily, we’ve got some great products (and cost-effective tips) to keep your garden looking healthy, vibrant and functional. Below, are the basics for your outdoor space - with plenty of ideas, too.

Best composter for budget compost

Garantia 600L Eco King Composter - GreenRobert Dyas / Garantia
Price: £59.99 (was £74.99)

www.robertdyas.co.uk

An ideal solution for budget-friendly compost, you can use this Garantia 600L Eco King Composter - Green to transform kitchen scraps, leaves and other organic matter into compost. It adds essential nutrients to your soil and improves the structure, without any need for chemicals. You'll be saving scraps and using them for another purpose. How cool is that?

From the reviews on-site, there are plenty of glowing positives about this Composter. With an average rating of 4.9/5 stars, reviews praise the quality and value. One customer commented that it was super easy to assemble, robust and perfect for their needs. For rapid composting, this is a year-round garden accessory (100% recycled plastic) you can’t be without, if you’re planning to open up your garden for veggies. Customers would have liked parts to be clearly labelled for assembly

Pros

  • Year-round, fast composting capability
  • With an easy lock system, no tools are needed
  • Easily filled with waste and emptied

Cons

  • Customers would have liked parts to be clearly labelled for assembly

Best value all-rounder compost

Miracle-Gro All Purpose Enriched Compost 40LMiracle Gro / Amazon

If you're not willing to create your own, this Miracle-Gro All Purpose Enriched Compost 40L is a great pick. A budget-friendly option, Miracle-Gro has been tried and tested by the Yours Digital Team, who admire its great value and effectiveness in helping seedlings germinate and veggie borders to bloom.

Customers love this Miracle-Gro, with a 4.6/5 star rating from over 1,000 Amazon reviews. Many customers like the ease of use, performance and quality. Not only does it work well, but it is easy to store. However, opinions are mixed on value. This compost can be used for pretty much anything – so, is great for gardening beginners, for various jobs.

Pros

  • Caters the needs of all young and mature potted plants
  • 14 vital minerals and nutrients for maintaining health
  • Ensures balance of air and water for healthy root growth.

Cons

  • Opinions are mixed on value

Keep insects away

Habitat Large Citronella CandleHabitat

The Habitat Large Citronella Candle looks lovely. Smart, fruity and fresh, this pick is a budget-friendly way to keep insects away, without committing to nasty chemicals. Poured into a stylish outdoor-friendly holder, this five-wick candle would be a fragrant addition to your space. Sorted.

Pros

  • Perfect choice of scent for alfresco nights
  • A burst of freshness for your next gathering
  • Poured into a natural terracotta holder

Cons

  • May be too big for some

Budget rain catcher

Wickes Water Butt Kit - 210LWickes
Price: £28 (was £38)

www.wickes.co.uk

Collecting up to 210L of rainwater to use in your garden, this Wickes Water Butt Kit - 210L helps you save money on your bills and help the environment, too. Simple to fit – with the easy-to-install stand – it’s a great choice to help save water – or use during a hose-pipe ban.

From over 1,300 reviews at Wickes, 92% of respondents would recommend this to a friend – with an average rating of 4.6/5 stars. One customer commented says its good value and fit for purpose. Not only is it robust, but it fits well with gutter fittings. It won’t break the bank – and will help save you dosh in the long run.

Pros

  • Saves you money on water bills
  • Simple to fit, complete with a stand
  • Environmental - holds 210L water

Cons

  • Some customers found it tricky to use

Budget-friendly garden tools

The Fixmend Garden Tools Set, 9 Pieces can almost solve all the problems you encounter in your small garden space. Proper pruning and planting tools. The premium stainless-steel garden hand tools are made of stainless steel, which is rust-proof, easy to clean, and durable. With an ergonomic design, it can achieve a comfortable user; It’s great for all of us to handle.

Plus, for easy storage, the set comes with a heavy-duty storage bag with a floral design, featuring slots for easy tool access. Customers love the quality and value of the set.

Pros

  • Made from premium stainless steel
  • Ergonomic, comfy handle deisgn
  • Set comes with a vintage storage bag

Cons

  • Some customers are mixed on quality

Budget-friendly lighting

Solar lighting for gardens will inject a little fun into your garden. If you’re looking to host a small soirée in your space, or like to be well-lit in the evenings as you read in a little nook, there are some fabulous lighting ideas for your garden. Solar lights are cost-effective and eco-friendly.

Budget or DIY solutions could involve string or fairy lights along a trellis or in old jam jars. We’ve found a few of our favourite outdoor lights below, from stakes to fence-friendly lighting.

Stake lights on a budget

For cottage, magical-themed gardens, this set of 20 LED Mushroom Pathfinder Solar Lights will be perfect along veggie beds and plant pots. Easily stuck in the ground, these lights are just a dream. They’re solar-powered – so, no need for any pesky batteries or charging up.

Customers rate this highly, always happy to see them light up at night. Rated high for great value and quality, these unusual pathfinders are great picks for your small space.

Pros

  • Perfect for using as a path-finder
  • Ideal for a cottage, magical space
  • Solar-powered means no batteries!

Cons

  • Some customers are unsure about the way they light up

Best lighting for fences

Waterproof and shatterproof, these JEYMORKEY Festoon String Outdoor Lights provide a warm, cosy ambience to outdoor parties. Not only that, but they’re easy to install – with a long cable for an outlet and a hook for each bulb – easy hanging. Plus, all bulbs work independently.

According to Amazon reviews, customers love these lights, with an average 4.5/5 star rating. Customers love how easy they are to install, what great quality they are and how much they glow. They make us feel instantly cosy. However, some complain about performance.

Pros

  • A warm outdoor light for al fresco parties
  • Waterproof, shatterproof and low voltage
  • Complete with a hook for easy installation

Cons

  • Some complain about performance

Waterproof, these whimsical Honey Bee Fairy String Lights provide a warm, cosy buzz to soirées and private nights outdoors. Not only that they have eight modes when in use, with a memory for next time – with easy switch on/off. The copper wire adds flexibility when installing them.

According to Amazon reviews, customers love these bee lights, with an average 4.5/5 star rating. Customers love how easy they are to install, their various modes and how stylish they are. They make us feel instantly happy. However, some complain about battery life.

Pros

  • Suitable for indoor or outdoor spaces
  • Copper wire adds installation flexibility
  • Complete with eight modes to choose from

Cons

  • Some complain about battery life

Attracting wildlife

Attracting wildlife may be a goal for you. If you have the budget, you can grab a bird feeder, bath or bug hotel to keep little critters coming back to your space. This can be done by planting pollinator-friendly plants, which certainly keep bees returning to your blooming borders. You can even craft bird feeders from recycled bottles or fashion a simple bird bath from a shallow terracotta plant saucer.

Bath and drink spot for all

Wildlife World Aristotle Oasis Bird Bath & DrinkerWildlife Community / Amazon
Price: $45.00

Super space-saving, just pop this flat bird bath into borders or beside a gravel path. It doesn't take up much space and has been developed from some recycled materials. At a decent price (without compromising on style), this Wildlife World Aristotle Oasis Bird Bath & Drinker has been proven to be ideal for wild garden birds, bees, beneficial insects and small mammals to safely drink and bathe.

From a handful of customer reviews on Amazon, this marbelised bird bath clocks in at a respectable 4.6/5 average rating. Reviewers praise the size, shape and appearance - which is super chich, stripped back and perfect for cottage gardens. They add that it's the perfect size for all garden visitors.

Pros

  • Marbelised effect for a touch of elegance
  • Low-down, accessible to small mammals
  • Made from recycled plastic and clay

Cons

  • Some customers found it smaller than expected

Budget bird feeder

RSPB Hanging Seed Feeder for BirdsRSPB / Amazon
Price: $25.51

Made from a tough UV-stabilising polycarbonate utube - which is UV-resistant and durable, too. Providing a little secluded place for your garden birds to snack - and some squirrels, too - the RSPB Hanging Classic Seed Feeder for Birds has been treated against the weather elements. You're all set.

From over 1,800 reviews, customers love this pick - with a 4.4/5 star rating. Though customers adore the quality, size and appearance, it doesn't keep away the squirrels. It's constructed well (durable and resistant) and sturdy, too. Some customers add that it's easy to clean, too. However, mixed opinions are had about the waterproofness.

Pros

  • Treated against the weather elements
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Budget-friendly pick from the RSPB

Cons

  • Will not keep away squirrels

Budget bug hotel

Wood Insect Hotel And Bug Habitat For GardenThe Happy Place / Not on the High Street

This Wood Insect Hotel And Bug Habitat has been handmade by an independent British seller from Not on the High Street. Shaped like a house, it provides shelter from the weather and predators. The piping, mesh and slots can make a warm, dry place to dwell. We love this budget-friendly solution to the gigantic bug hotels you seem to see everywhere.

Customers rate it very highly. One customer said it was perfect and as expected. Recipients are delighted by the well-made, cute design. It’s perfect for all gardens, propped up against the garden wall or fence, allowing bugs to come and go from this makeshift shelter.

Pros

  • Handmade from a small UK business
  • With multiple sections for all insects
  • Safe shelter from the rain and predators

Cons

  • May not be big enough for some gardens

Vegetable gardening

Starting a small vegetable garden may be a challenge – as it requires some space. If you’re desperate to cultivate ingredients for your mealtimes, there is a workaround. Some veggies can be planted in containers, which is a creative solution for beginners. Adding colour and greenery to patios, balconies and smaller spaces can be achieved by planting up containers.

The Royal Horticultural Society have a Container Gardening Guide, which is informative and introductory. According to the RHS, the best plants to fare well in containers are beetroot, broad beans, carrots, dwarf French beans, herbs, peas, potatoes, radishes, rocket, runner beans, chillies and peppers, salad leaves, salad onions, salad turnips, tomatoes.

Budget friendly vegetable seeds

 Grow Your Own Vegetable Seeds - 20 PacketGarden Pack / Amazon

These Grow Your Own Vegetable Seeds, 20 Pack provides over 8,000 veggie seeds for a great yield. Perfect for beginners, this set will help you tap into your green thumb – and have a go at DIY-ing your salad favourites, from cucumbers to tomatoes to onion to beetroot.

Customers, from over 1,800 global reviews, rate this set highly, with an impressive 4.5/5 star rating average. Reviewers love the quality, selection of seeds, budget-friendly value and clear instructions for planting novices. It’s the best kit for home veggie gardening.

Pros

  • Perfect for beginner veggie growers
  • Budget-friendly veggie bundle
  • Proven to produce a good yield

Cons

  • You may not be able to grow all in containers

Compact Wooden Vegetable GardenThe Department Of Gifting / Not on the High Street

From The Department Of Gifting, we love the Compact Wooden Vegetable Garden, primed for container gardening in the UK. Here, you can quickly and efficiently add some extra green to your outdoor space, especially if it’s a balcony. You can grow produce no matter how little space you may have. Easy to assemble, it’s equipped with a liner to keep weeds away.

Pros

  • Grow in your small space
  • Slots can be individually filled easily
  • Liner will keep weeds away

Cons

  • May not be enough for some plants

FAQs

How can I create a low-maintenance small garden on a budget?

Below, we have written some low-maintenance small garden ideas on a budget:

Choose low-maintenance plants – such as perennials (lavender and hostas), plants native to the local climate, and drought-tolerant succulents and ornamental grasses.

Simplify lawn care – by considering ground covers (with creeping thyme or clover). And, if you can’t bear the thought of getting out a lawn mower, artificial turf can work for small areas.

Vegetable gardening - when you want to spend as little time on your hands and knees, this should involve a nutrient-rich soil mix. We’d recommend some raised beds, DIY if you can.

Hardscaping – involves paths and patios. For a low-maintenance and budget-friendly garden, consider stylish gravel or stones to reduce planting areas. You can fashion lovely walkways.

Container gardening – is all the rage – and best suited for smaller spaces, with old buckets, tires and trugs. Self-watering planters are ideal if you struggle to remember to water plants.

Self-sustaining features – can range from recycled kitchen scraps for composting to bright flowering plants and bug hotels to keep pollinators coming back. They’ll help you out.

Piper Huxley is a Homes, Garden and Wellness Product Writer for Yours, an all-rounder who will write on anything from décor to wellness. When not scouring the net for the best home bargains, Piper is listening to a musical soundtrack and tending to her houseplants.

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