5 budget garden ideas for a cheap (and chic) garden update

Low cost doesn't have to mean low on style, so try these budget garden ideas for size and give your garden an affordable makeover

budget garden ideas
(Image credit: Cuprinol)

Cutting costs and using budget garden ideas can often bring out the creativity in us, helping us to design a more interesting and character-filled outdoor space without having to spend a fortune to achieve it. 

There are so many fabulous ways to show your garden a little extra love. It can be as simple as giving it a good tidy up, repurposing old items to create interesting and unusual planters, or getting handy with some basic DIY to design a stunning garden feature. Keep scrolling for five quick ways you can update your garden on a budget. 

1. Include unusual materials

dining area with corrugated fence in the background

(Image credit: Kagu Interiors)

We often fall into a trap of thinking there are certain products or styles we 'must' have to complete our perfect garden, but occasionally some creative thinking can allow us to explore different materials and ideas that look good and save you money in the long run. We really like the way this corrugated iron fencing has been used to great effect in this outside space. It's a modern yet rustic alternative to traditional wooden fencing, adding character and interest to the garden. Check out local builders merchants and reclamation yards to bag some for your update. 

2. Use a spot of elbow grease

weeding tool

(Image credit: Annabel James)

Believe it or not, a good tidy up works wonders when it comes to giving your garden a budget update. Whether it's an afternoon following our top tips on how to weed a garden, jet washing your patio with a pressure washer or clearing leaves and debris, it will make a huge difference to the overall appearance of your garden, whatever its size. Try your best to keep on top of it all year round – after all, those weeds don’t stop growing for love nor money!

3. Give your pots a refresh

plant pots upcycled with outdoor paint

Plant pots updated with Garden Shades by Cuprinol 

(Image credit: Cuprinol)

Are your favourite planters looking like they've seen better days? Instead of buying new ones, simply give your existing pots a smart and inexpensive update with a lick of paint. All you need to do is give them a good clean, removing any bits of baked on soil, slug and snail trails before you start. There are plenty of fabulous paint finishes available that allow you to paint on pretty much any surface, so you can be safe in the knowledge that your pots will look amazing when they’re completed. We love how a vibrant lime green paint makeover allows this pot to take centre stage in the garden. 

4. Create your own outdoor kitchen

WWOO Outdoor Kitchen by Garden House Design

(Image credit: Garden House Design)

If you love alfresco dining and entertaining, why not design an outdoor kitchen area in your garden? If you're handy at DIY it can easily be done on the cheap using wooden pallets, some worktop offcuts, an old Butler’s sink and a few reclaimed buys to make a practical space. Alternatively, if your DIY skills aren't up to the job, you could hire a carpenter to craft an outdoor kitchen from the same inexpensive recycled materials and offcuts. Even taking into account the cost of the labour, it will still be a cheaper option than buying a brand-new outdoor kitchen from a specialist company. 

5. Recycle and re-use

upcycled wheelbarrow used as a plater

(Image credit: Sandtex)

Giving a new lease of life to a much-loved item is great for the soul. That old wheelbarrow that Auntie Rosie used in her garden for decades might have a wonky wheel and is heavy to push, but it would look amazing spruced up and planted with some beautiful colourful blooms. Other bits and pieces to look out for are galvanised animal feeding buckets, old tin baths and even chimney pots – they will all look great used as unusual planters in your garden. Head over to our guide to how to use salvage for garden upcycling ideas for more inspiration.  

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