Tips for Gardening on a Budget


DIY and how-to

A hand planting seedlings in empty toilet rolls in dark soil.

Gardening doesn’t have to break the bank, as long as you use what you have and let nature take its course. From saving water in the garden to recycling and foraging for materials, there are plenty of budget-friendly gardening ideas. Here are top tips on how you can maximise your garden growth and still save money.

Cut your own staking canes

Instead of looking to metal supports to stake tall plants that are susceptible to wind damage, opt for natural, inexpensive alternatives. These could include bamboo or any other straight and sturdy branches from your garden.

Grow seedlings in recycled kitchen items

Using eggshells as planters is a fun activity for both kids and grown-ups, and recycled toilet paper rolls or egg cartons are perfectly shaped for growing seedlings. Once your seedlings are big enough to plant out into a bigger pot or your garden, simply plant them in their containers – the containers are biodegradable and will add nutrients to the soil.

Collect old coffee filters and paper cupcake holders

These are ideal for lining small hanging baskets. They’ll keep the soil in, but will allow water to drain out.

Use wood ash from your fires as a fertiliser in your garden

Wood ash (don’t ever use ash from charcoal) is high in potash and a good feed for flowering and fruiting plants.

Plant propagation

Growing new and healthy plants via propagation techniques such as cutting, seeding and runners is not only a cost-efficient way of growing your existing plant collection, but also a highly rewarding activity. Plants that can be propagated include African violet, impatiens, coleus and most succulents and shrubs. 

Set up a seed swap

Set up a seed swap with the gardening enthusiasts in your life. A seed swap is essentially a party where everyone shows up with seeds they’ve saved from the year before and trades them. It’s a fun way to add variety to your garden while saving money.

Plant smart and save water

Saving water in the garden is not only important to preserve this natural resource, it’s also a good way to cut your gardening budget. Create a water-saving garden with these tips: 

  • Choose drought-resistant plants such as ericas, pincushions, lavender, succulents and kalanchoe.
  • Use low-growing waterwise ground covers – these keep your garden beds moist and cool.
  • Water plants deeply to encourage the roots to grow deeper and utilise the moisture in the ground. This enables the plants to thrive between waterings and in times of drought.
  • Mulching your beds with bark, pebbles or gravel reduces water evaporation from the soil surface, so there is more water for the plants to absorb. Organic mulches such as grass cuttings, compost, straw, nutshells and shredded newspaper can also be used, with excellent results.
  • Collect and harvest rainwater with household containers, rain barrels and rain chains.
  • When trimming your lawn, leave it at a height of at least 3–4cm so the blades of grass can shade each other, reducing water loss.

For more tips on budget gardening, read these blogs: