Gardening is a relaxing pastime that puts you in touch with the Earth and has the power to soothe frazzled nerves. It also produces results you can see, touch and even taste, which perhaps explains why it exploded in popularity during the pandemic.

However, it’s easy to start a new project with passion, then let it go as life intervenes. What if your landscaping could use some improvement, but rising costs have your savings tighter than ever? What if you want to get in on the hot real estate market before it cools and need to renovate in a jiffy? Here’s how to transform a garden on a budget.

garden transformation

1. Remove Dead Plants and Weeds

It doesn’t cost you anything to get out the rake and hoe and dig up those unsightly dead plants that give your front yard a neglected, “haunted house” look. While at it, tidy the garden beds to improve your overall curb appeal any time of year, even when flowers aren’t in bloom. If it’s January, hit up the mulch display at your local big box hardware store before spring planting season arrives and prices rise.

Are you considering removing part or all of your lawn to expand your garden? Xeriscaping can save time, money and the planet. Grass needs ongoing reseeding and causes you to spend every sunny Saturday on maintenance. Study up on the best techniques for removing sod and rent the necessary equipment instead of buying it — most big box stores offer this service. Your reward is a beautified landscape with more room for your favourite plants and fewer seasonal chores.

2. Look at Your Native Environment

What is xeriscaping, anyway? It’s the technique of using native plants in your landscape to minimise maintenance and water needs. It’s also fabulous when you want to transform a garden on a budget. Dead plants can cost a small fortune at the nursery and those known to thrive well in your climate zone and local soil increase your chances of success.

You can also draw inspiration from nature when choosing substrate or groundcovers. For example, many homes in the North American desert southwest feature colourful stone lawns interspersed with the occasional saguaro or cholla. Those in wetter regions might prefer blue star creeper or golden creeping jenny for vast swaths of greenery that don’t require a mower.  

house plants

3. Add Repurposed Elegance

Did you know your local hardware store may have goodies you can have for free? Most give away used pallets and you can snag these up to transform your garden on a budget.

For example, you can repaint one and mount it to a wall to create a hanging garden. Place one near your outdoor kitchen and plant it with basil and oregano so you can season your food with a turn and a few snips of your shears. You can also build a low table for working on your project or a stacking set of shelves to showcase larger blooms. Of course, you can also use them to construct a compost bin, saving you money by eliminating your need for store-bought soil treatments.

4. Get Decorative With Rock

Rock isn’t only for southwest lawns. You can use decorative stone to transform your garden on a budget in many ways, although you might have to get a bit down and dirty. Some quarries and brickyards let you pick raw materials up off their slag pile for free and you can sometimes find beautiful garden blocks with only a chip or two.

You can use these to enclose small area gardens. A winding stone or brick pathway makes an attractive feature that can also help direct water away from your foundation and safely into the street.

5. Stock Your Supply on the Cheap

Don’t forget the most crucial thing any garden needs — plants!

If you’re transforming your vegetable garden, why not learn to save the seeds from the fruits and vegetables on your dinner plate? Some species — like peppers and beans — are a snap to master. You’ll only grow what you know your family already loves, reducing food waste.

Another way to get plants that aren’t already in your cooking pot is to swap with like-minded gardening neighbours. For example, you can sprout most soft herbs from cuttings merely by placing them in water and letting time work its magic. You can even use this technique with some house plants like aloe.

seed sprouting

Make Your Garden Flourish on a Budget

 A garden can beautify your home, improve your property value and even put food on your table. What can you do if you let yours get a bit run down but don’t have much money?

Use the above tips to transform your garden on a budget. You’ll smile every time you pull into your driveway and see your beautiful landscape.

Rose Morrison is a home living writer with over five years experience writing in the industry. She is the managing editor of and loves to cover home renovations and decor to inspire everyone to live their best DIY life. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find her baking something to satisfy her never-ending sweet tooth.