Cheap & easy gardening ideas

Updated April 17, 2017

New gardeners are often flummoxed by the cost of starting and maintaining a garden. Garden centres and nurseries are filled with gadgets, new varieties of plants and speciality tools. Seasoned gardeners want to spend less time tilling the soil and more time enjoying the fruits of their efforts. If you are looking for easy and inexpensive things for your garden, start with a trip to a discount store or salvage yard, and use your imagination.

Compost Everything

Start a compost pile for your garden. You can buy fancy compost bins at garden centres, but you don't need anything more than space and a rake to recycle kitchen waste in your garden. Collect coffee grounds, tea bags, vegetable trimmings, fruit peels and other organics in an old coffee can with a lid. When it gets full, dump it on a pile in the garden. Add yard waste like grass clippings, leaves and tree trimmings. Turn the pile occasionally, and in time you'll have black gold.

Fence Me In

If you need a garden trellis, visit a salvage yard for a rusty fence material. Your vines will cover the rust. If you need a way to divide space, consider a rustic look with salvaged chicken wire supported by repurposed posts. This type of fence is not for security, but it can define spaces within a garden.


If you watch precious rainwater running into the street, try establishing berms to keep the water in your garden. Start with your Christmas tree or large tree trimmings positioned to hold the water. Check the position by watering it with a hose, and adjust if necessary. Cover with leaves and continue to add trimmings. If you have gravel or dirt, add that too. It will start to settle, and the organics will create compost. Eventually you'll have a little hedgerow.

Seeds or Plants

Planting vegetables and flowers from seeds is often cheaper than buying plants, but seeds are not foolproof. Instead choose sale plants from local nurseries or big-box retailers. You may have to adjust your expectations and choose different varieties or colours, but you can save money and time.

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About the Author

Susan Brockett worked in the computer industry as a technical writer for nearly 20 years at companies including Motorola and Dell Computer Systems. In addition, her articles have appeared in Society of Technical Communications publications. Brockett has a master's degree in English composition and communications from Kansas State University.