Frugal Garden Landscaping
On A Thrifty Budget

Garden landscaping has long been overlooked by property owners as something that only the dedicated gardener would do.

However in recent years it has proved to often add value to the price of your home and can make the difference between a quick or slow house sale.

Apart form adding value to your home it is also an excellent way to manage a garden and to give you another useful room outdoors, rather than just a plot of unused earth.

As a frugal gardener myself I have long since realised that garden supply stores are very expensive and so unnecessary.

Most of my garden learning came from my grandmother who had a lovely rose garden that she created all by herself without the need for garden centres.

Everything she created was also done on a very tight shoestring, especially during the war years.

Frugal Garden Landscaping Basics

The secret to frugal garden landscaping is to keep things simple and easy to maintain.

  • Plant only bushes, flowers and trees that grow locally wild. This will mean that they will grow well in your climate and soil and will require minimal maintenance.
  • Plant large plants that will spread naturally. This will mean that you will have to spend much less on plants in the long run but still have a garden full of plants.
  • Buy perennial plants, which will come back year after year. Ask for cuttings from neighbours and friends to get you started.
  • To reduce weeds lay mulch around flowerbeds. For best results put a layer of newspaper under the mulch to reduce weeds further.

Paths and Driveways

Often pathways and drives can be one of the most expensive part of garden landscaping, as well as being unkind to the natural environment.

However there are more frugal and greener options available and ones which can be easily carried out by yourself.

Avoid Asphalt and Concrete for pathways and drives. They are expensive to use and are not rated highly in the being green stakes either. Instead use wood and bark chipping, gravel or glass aggregate.

Driveways - To use these less expensive materials you will have to lay them on top of a hard base to bare the weight of a car. For this hard base, scavenge broken bricks and hardcore from builders skips and sites, or contact your local recycling centre to see if they will allow you take some away, after all you will be recycling it. Hardcore can be an expensive aspect of garden landscaping which may feel like wasting money, so finding rather than buying it is a much better option.

Pathways - Make sure the earth is compacted down and then you could lay a layer of old plastic bags on top to help reduce the weeds coming through.

Now the path can be covered in wood chippings, which is by far the greenest and cheapest option if you make sure that they are recycled from your local forest commission.


Creating borders around your garden can help to add shape and design to a square piece of land. This can be cheap and fun to do if you are prepared to use a little imagination and time to find the right materials.

Don't waste your money on fences and buying stones and rocks from the stores instead find them yourself.

  • The local forest and public country highways are great places to find the odd broken tree branch or large rock. As long as you are not clearing large areas of material then there should be no problem with taking them for your garden (check with your local country code etc).
  • Building sites and skips are great places to find broken bricks and larger pieces of builder's rubble. Ask if it is ok to take them first, usually people are grateful as it creates more space for them.
  • Old car lyres can be cut in half and buried into the ground to make an interesting curvy border. They can also be painted or whitewashed and used as planters.
  • Old wooden pallets can be broken up and the planks can be fashioned into a simple rustic fence, with the use of a few basic nails.
  • Ask around warehouses if they have any old broken ones they no longer want.
  • The best borders I think are natural ones. I like to dig little trenches around my flowerbeds and plant my herbs into them, thus creating lovely green and very useful scented borders. Some herbs are also great for keeping some pests away, so they will be protecting your flowers as well.

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