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Gardening & Landscaping

11 Amazing Small Garden Ideas on a Budget

5th January 2023

It would be understandable if you are short of budget small garden ideas. After all, a small garden gives you little space to work with, potentially leading you to think that you would need to consult landscape gardeners for help with overhauling it.

However, on the contrary, we bring good news. There are plenty of beginner-friendly, affordable options that you can adopt for your small garden. What’s more, many of these solutions can be achieved on a DIY basis, provided you have the right equipment at a close hand.

Here at HSS Hire, we offer a vast range of garden tools and landscaping equipment for hire. When renting any of these pieces, you can arrange for delivery to your address or collect from one of our branches dotted across the UK.

Just read on to learn about many great-value ideas for a small garden and how we could assist you in giving yours a stunning aesthetic makeover.


Budget small garden ideas that will transform your home

One major advantage of having a small garden is how easily it can be maintained. We can ease your garden maintenance efforts, such as by allowing you to hire a pressure washer or power cleaner for use in ridding a patio of dirt.

It’s easy to underestimate how much simply tidying up a small garden can enhance it. For example, removing weeds from a lawn can leave it looking Wimbledon-worthy, while cutting trees and hedges with gear rented from HSS Hire can save the foliage from excessive growth.

However, for your small garden, you might want to take several steps beyond mere maintenance — all still without blowing a large hole in your budget. Here are numerous budget small garden ideas you could seriously consider: 

  • Placing plants in portable containers 
  • Planting vividly-coloured flowers 
  • Bringing indoor elements outdoors 
  • Allowing garden plants to grow vertically 
  • Using gravel on the ground
  • Buying young plants
  • Decorating the garden with festoon lights
  • Building a DIY garden bar
  • Making a cute signpost
  • Opening a bug hotel
  • Displaying garden art

In this article, we will explain how you can make any of these budget small garden ideas work — and how hiring groundcare equipment from our team can make much of the heavy lifting appreciably easier.

Display your plants in easy-to-move containers

It can often feel as though a small garden overly limits your creative options — unless you design it in such a way that you will be able to easily tweak and revamp it at short notice.

To inject this kind of malleability into your garden’s design, you could plant flowers and trees in pots rather than directly into the ground. That way, you will be able to add natural elements while leaving open the option of picking up and moving them as and when you like.

Using individual pots in this manner can make a small garden more interesting and varied — as can raised plant beds, which were noticeably popular on Instagram in 2021. Like pots, these beds can serve as small, self-contained vessels that make garden plants easier to transport.

Another advantage is that the plants will be within easier physical reach for older and less mobile gardeners, as they would not need to bend and kneel quite as often just to carry out weeding.

Plant bright flowers to make the garden look larger

How can you make your garden space look bigger than it actually is? One simple thing you could do is fill it with bright shades while leaving out dark colours.

Of course, if your garden has a patio or decking area, you could overhaul this in order to introduce more of the right kind of colours. However, you could also add these in a more organic fashion by growing flowers of particularly vibrant colours.

Before you start planting any of those flowers, though, you ought to thoroughly clear and de-weed the specific area intended for them. Fortunately, we have a wide range of garden clearance equipment available for hire

As for what flowers you should plant, keep in mind that ones in golden and pale yellows can help in bouncing sunlight around outdoor spaces and consequently make them appear larger.

Create an ‘inside-out’ look with clever use of furniture

Like the plant pots we mentioned earlier, garden furniture is useful because it can be easily sourced, moved and replaced to the garden owner’s satisfaction. Nonetheless, you do need to be especially careful how you incorporate this furniture into a compact garden design.

As a general rule, when shopping for garden furniture, you should avoid buying too many pieces — and any that are relatively bulky — for your garden. Otherwise, it could end up looking packed like a sardine tin. The key is therefore to go for a more subtle approach.

To this end, opt for smaller furniture — think, say, a table and a few stools rather than a bench or a sofa — in lighter shades like pale greys and beiges.  

Another benefit of this strategy is that it can discernibly blur the boundary between the garden and your residential building. You could go even further down this route by assembling a timber pergola from decking — and HSS Hire can provide you with tools for this home DIY project.

Start looking up — as that’s where your next garden plants could be

If you were striving to make the best use of space in a small kitchen, it probably wouldn’t take long for you to start attaching things to walls rather than just focus on the floor. You can follow a similar strategy when optimising the usage of your small garden space.

In the latter scenario, the walls can consist of not only your home’s external wall adjacent to the garden but also fences that line this outdoor space. Hence, you could attach pots to walls and let climbing plants — like Clematis armandii or wisteria — grow quickly up fences.

You could even create a ‘living wall’ consisting of ornamental or edible plants. To get started with this, you can buy one of the several ‘living wall’ modular systems commercially available — some of which gardening expert Mark Lane has described as coming with ‘individual pots for plants so you can swap and change them around to get maximum sunlight’.


Be grateful for gravel

Though garden landscaping costs can be high, it is possible to reduce them simply by utilising garden design ideas that would make your outdoor space easier to maintain in the long run. 

For example, in parts of your garden other than seating areas, you don’t need to be too fussy about how solid the ground is. Here, relatively cheap gravel would suffice — especially as it can be laid with ease across landscape fabric, where it can prevent weeds from poking through.

In preparation for gravelling over a section of grass, you could use a lawn mower to trim that grass and make sure the soil is both compacted and reasonably level. Other than that, though, there really isn’t a whole lot of groundwork required for a gravelling project.

‘When planning to pave, you can reduce the cost by infilling with gravel,’ Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) judge and award-winning garden designer Paul Harvey-Brookes have advised in a Real Homes article detailing an array of budget garden ideas.

Go young with the plants you buy

When seeking to decorate your garden with plants, you could be tempted to buy some already sporting the kind of look you know you want. After all, when you source a fully grown plant, you can see for yourself what visual effect you are actually getting.

However, perhaps one of the most cost-effective ideas for a small garden is to pick up smaller, younger plants instead. In doing so, you can save money but still give yourself a plant that, if looked after as it should be, remains capable of reaching the same size as a mature plant.

Horticulture and landscaping lecturer Julie Kilpatrick has told Real Homes readers that young plants also ‘adapt far quicker to the environmental conditions specific to your garden.’

She further explained: ‘Mature plants look great in the short term but they might take so long to settle that younger plants will catch up and may even overtake them.’ These words of warning are a good reason for you to think twice about simply relying on starter pots from a garden centre.

Weave festoon lights into your garden design

How much time can you spend in your garden in one go? This can largely depend on what you actually do in that open-air space — and here are just some activities you could pursue there: 

  • Watering plants 
  • Painting the fencing 
  • Barbecuing 
  • Playing with the kids 

However, the fun would have to end for the day as the night hours beckon… unless, of course, this garden is sufficiently illuminated through artificial means.

While you have many different options when it comes to how you light up your outdoor space, you could particularly benefit from renting these LED festoon lights from the HSS Hire team.

These lights present an effective option for low-level lighting and can easily be strung out along fences. Since it might only be on the occasion that you want to use your garden at night, it could financially work out better for you if you rent garden lights rather than buy them.

Assemble a DIY garden bar

You might not exactly have had ‘garden bar’ on your ‘budget small garden ideas’ bingo card. However, a garden bar can actually prove a surprisingly practical feature if you opt to build it yourself, as you can make sure it follows specifications accounting for what little space you have.

This bar can essentially comprise a wall-mounted wooden pallet to which a drop-down platform is attached with a steel chain. Ideal Home has posted in-depth instructions on how to build a DIY pallet bar, for which you will need a few supplies — including: 

  • 3 wooden pallets 
  • Assorted sandpaper 
  • 1.5m length of steel chain (4mm x 32mm)
  • Screws
  • Eye hooks 

You will also require some installation equipment — but we can help you there. Since drilling will be involved at various stages, we will be happy to provide you with the means of renting not only a drill but also drill bits.

Make a vintage-style signpost

As far as budget small garden ideas go, this one has to count as pretty quirky. However, for visitors especially, it can add a large degree of amusement to the backyard experience.

You would make this garden sign from reclaimed timber, starting with one long sturdy piece for the holding post. Our team at HSS Hire can lend you a jigsaw with which you would be able to cut points at one end of a wooden piece in order to create a pointer arrow.

After repeating this process to make multiple pointer arrows, you can proceed to paint words on each of them with weatherproof garden paint. Here are some ideas for what words you could put on those signs, obviously depending on what is actually in your garden:

  • Herbs 
  • Vegetables 
  • Sunflowers
  • Garden bar

Once you have finished painting the arrows, it would then be just a matter of nailing them to the long post before anchoring this into a planter or flowerbed.

Lights in the garden

Build a bug hotel

This might be one of the most family-friendly ideas for a small garden, given how much fun your kids can have spotting various insects ‘checking in’ at this bug hotel. The insects who do, erm, ‘book accommodation’ here could include bees, who play an especially crucial role in pollinating plants.

Therefore, you might want to follow Gardening etc’s detailed, step-by-step instructions for building a bug hotel, since doing so could indirectly help much of your garden’s greenery to flourish. Here are just some examples of things you will need for use in putting together the hotel: 

  • 1 rough-sawn wood pallet
  • 3 flathead nails
  • Fine mesh chicken wire 
  • 8-10 metal pins and screws 

After fashioning the bug hotel’s frame, you will be able to fill its slots with natural materials — such as:

  • Pine cones
  • Hessian 
  • Jute
  • Bamboo
  • Grasses

You could get many of these materials simply as a result of tidying up your garden, such as by using garden shredders and wood chippers rented from HSS Hire.

Stock up on affordable garden art

The idea of buying gnomes for displaying in a garden might seem uninspired these days, regardless of whether the gnomes are actually wearing hats — yes, those distinctive red pointed ones. However, there are other, trendier alternatives to garden gnomes: garden sculptures.

‘This is something we’ve definitely noticed recently,’ sculptor Andrew Kay has told Livingetc about the recent popularity of garden sculptures.

He observed: ‘We’re seeing more customers who live in cities buying garden sculptures, and people with smaller garden spaces are also interested. Maybe this is due to the fact that everyone with an outdoor space, however small, is seeking to make it more special.’

Nonetheless, the onus is on you to be selective with your choice of garden sculpture. Do you want it to contrast with your outdoor space’s living elements, or complement them? What size sculpture would look ‘just right’ in your particular garden?

You can shop around for inexpensive sculptures by attending art shows. Alternatively, an artist could agree to make you a piece in line with your exact specifications and budget.

Transform your small garden with the help of HSS 

For further insight into how we could ease your efforts to act on low-cost ideas for a small garden, feel free to look up the nearest HSS Hire branch and pay a visit in person.

Alternatively, you can remotely get in touch with members of the HSS Hire team — for example, if you are struggling to decide what gardening gear would be suitable for a specific project or seeking an update on a rental order you currently have with us.

Marcin Haraszczuk Author

About the Author

Marcin Haraszczuk

Marcin is a member of our E-Commerce Team. He mixes creative flair with analytical thinking, has a knack for DIY and is always seeking ways to broaden and share his knowledge.

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