Looking for budget-friendly ways to garden this year? Here are 39 money-saving tips you should try.
Gardening is a great way to enjoy nature, get physical exercise, improve your mental well-being, and make your surroundings more beautiful.
But it can also cost a pretty penny if you buy a lot of plants, soil, mulch, gardening tools, and equipment.
So it’s a good idea to explore ways to save money so you can enjoy it without it costing you an arm and a leg.
Here are 39 money-saving tips you should try this year.
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Budget-Friendly Gardening Ideas
Gardening is an amazing activity that can bring joy and satisfaction to people of all ages and skill levels. And once you get into it, you may find yourself spending more money than you want. So even the best of gardeners look for ways to cut corners and save money in the garden.
So here are some things to keep in mind as you live your best gardening life.
At the beginning of the season, set a gardening budget for yourself and stick with it. There are ways to stretch to the dollar to help you stay within that budget that we’ll explore in greater detail below.
Invest your time in sustainable gardening practices that will be better for your landscape, the environment, and your wallet. Plant more native plants and grow lawns that are more drought-tolerant and resistant to more pest and diseases.
Grow your own food and cut your own flowers for home decor. There may be an investment upfront but it will pay off in the long term.
Find ways to conserve water while still caring for your garden. Rain barrels, using drought-tolerant plants, and watering earlier in the day are great ways of reducing water consumption.
Also reuse and recycle things you already have like plastic pots, buckets, crates, bins, etc. There are so many things we have that work well in the garden. So think outside the box at ways to use what we have instead of tossing them.
39 Money-Saving Tips for the Garden
To help keep your garden looking amazing and stick to a budget, here are some great money-saving tips to try this year.
Ways to Save Money on Gardening Tools, Supplies, and Containers
Every year, I like to stock up on supplies, tools I don’t have, and more containers to grow more plants. Here are some budget-friendly ways to keep your costs down.
How to Look for Deals
- Thrift for garden decor and other garden supplies. Here is a list of garden treasures you should never leave the thrift store without.
- Shop Facebook marketplace for old garden tools, equipment, supplies, and containers.
- Shop at the dollar store and look for things like garden gloves, plant clips, and containers for harvesting food or flowers.
- While thrifting around, look for ways to repurpose unique items as I did with this thrift flip for the front porch.
Reuse and Recycling Ideas
- Use toilet paper rolls to start seeds instead of purchasing seed cell trays. The TP roll can be planted directly in the soil. And as it breaks down, plant roots can grow into the soil.
- Cut up old plastic bottles to make plant labels.
- Make cloches from old plastic soda bottles.
- Use old milk jugs, rotisserie chicken containers, and plastic soda bottles as seed starting containers for indoors or winter sowing.
- Start your garden season earlier by making a cold frame using an old window that sits on old bricks, pavers, or wood.
- Look for old plant pots that are being discontinued at garden centers.
- Reuse wood pallets to make a potting bench or other garden furniture.
- Regularly clean and oil your tools so they last longer.
- Reuse plastic plant labels for seed starts.
- Keep plastic nursery pots and use them at the base of larger planters to keep those containers light AND use less soil.
Ways to Save Money in Garden Beds
Now that we know how to save money on supplies, here are some ways to reduce your costs in the garden.
Before You Shop
- Plan your garden ahead of time so you don’t purchase more than you need while shopping at the nursery.
- Write a list before you shop at the nursery so you don’t impulse buy (says the person who impulse buys every time).
- Join a gardening group to meet other gardeners so you can trade plants, supplies, and other knowledge.
- Shop online and look for deals. They are out there.
Healthy Gardening Tips
- Instead of purchasing bags, buy soil and compost in bulk to save money.
- Or better yet, make your own compost. Learn how to make the best compost recipe here.
- Ask the nursery or garden center for discounted bags on soil – sometimes bags were ripped open that they will sell at a discount.
- Call a local tree service to see if they have free mulch from cutting down and mulching trees.
- Collect fallen leaves and make your own leaf mold. Learn about the benefits of how leaf mold benefits the garden here.
- Ask your municipality if they sell or provide mulch – sometimes it’s less expensive.
Seed Starting Ideas
- Start plants from seed to save money purchasing plants. You can even sow seeds outdoors in winter for free.
- Don’t over-sow your seeds. If you purchase from a high-quality grower, they will more than likely sprout so don’t do more than 1-2 seeds in a cell or pot. Save some for later!
- You don’t have to finish a whole packet of seeds when sowing. You can save them for later.
In the Garden Tricks
- Buy transplants or divisions from plant sales, colleges, or master gardening groups. Reach out to your local cooperative extension that would have information on local events.
- Maximize your garden space and grow vegetables vertically with a DIY support system.
- Hand pick or hose off garden pests instead of purchasing pesticides. A bucket of soapy water or a shot of a strong water nozzle can be enough to control some pests like Japanese Beetles and aphids.
- Pay attention to the last frost date so your summer-loving annuals and tender perennials don’t get zapped by a late frost.
- Propagate and divide plants every few years so you can grow your garden for free!
Plant Shopping Tips
- Buy smaller plants than larger ones at the nursery. They are easier to establish and cost much less.
- Buy bare root plants where possible. They are easier to establish and cost less.
- Split larger perennials that you purchase. Some larger perennials can be split immediately after purchasing so a $20 plant might give you 4 plants at $5 each.
- Buy plants from the sale section that may not look amazing. You can buy them at a discount and nurture them back to good health. Note: avoid bringing home any plants that look like they have a pest or disease problem. You don’t want to bring that home to the rest of your garden.
- Buy perennials and shrubs at the end of the growing season when nurseries start selling their stock off at 40-60% off in preparation for winter. As long as the ground can be worked, you can plant. So wait for the sales!
- Buy summer annuals that will look good in both late spring, summer and fall so you don’t have to buy more annuals in fall. Choose a color palette that will bring you spring through fall instead of one season only.
- Use more native plants in beds as they will thrive and last longer in your climate without assistance from you.
More About Budget-Friendly Gardening
Do you have a favorite money-saving tip you’d like to share? I would love to know more in the comments below.
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Enjoy a beautiful day! xo
Want to learn more about me?
I’m a master gardener who’s been gardening and growing things for over 25 years and author of the best-selling book, The Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide to a Beautiful and Easy-Care Flower Garden. With a deep passion for gardening, I enjoy helping others find their inner green thumb with all things plants and flowers, as well as finding ways to bring the outdoors inside their homes.
Get the inside scoop about my background as a master gardener, education, and experience, as well as why I started blogging here.