Save With Low-cost Ideas For Designing Your Garden

Monday, February 17, 2014

If you're willing to put a little effort into rounding up some recycled materials, you can assemble accessories for your garden, keeping it suitable for entertaining all the year round.  You can find creative ways to add decorative effects like night lights and colourful pathways, cheap suggestions for keeping stinging insects under control, and tips on turning discards into decorations for hosting outdoor gatherings.

Make your own ornamental paving stones.  You can use quick-drying cement and pour it into recycled boxes [cereal and shoe boxes are often used], then tear the boxes away after the cement dries.  You can embed decorative elements like marbles, glass pebbles, or shells, you can add pigment to the concrete or paint it, and you can impress designs into your new stones while they're still malleable.

Cheap lighting effects can be produced using solar candles or photoluminescent paint.  If you have an old hanging light fixture like a chandelier, substitute little solar lights for the bulbs and let it dangle from a sturdy tree branch.  Any bit of garden furniture-- tables, chairs, planters-- can dazzle when it's coated with paint that glows in the dark.

Rope lighting manufactured for outdoor conditions can be had fairly cheaply, and it's powered by LED bulbs that cost very little to run.  You can find them in novelty shapes like flowers, butterflies, and Chinese lanterns, or choose traditional Christmas themes for the holidays.

Bedeviled by bugs in your back yard?  Discourage insects the natural way by planting some pots with lemongrass, as mosquitoes dislike its citrusy odour.  If you prefer citronella, you can reuse your wine bottles as containers for citronella oil-- simply insert the wicks sold for use in oil lamps in the necks of the bottles so they contact the oil.

You'll need to insert washers to hold the wicks securely in the bottles' necks, and the bottles will be less likely to tip over if you weight the bottoms with pebbles or gaily coloured aquarium gravel.  If you have some shrubbery that will offer discreet cover for some inelegant but effective insect traps, try hiding some plastic bottles that contain a little bit of sugary liquid.

If you slit the bottles just enough to allow entrance, most insects won't be able to find their way back out.

Turn tree stumps into garden accessories.  A well-seated tree trunk that's sawed off at an appropriate height and then planed smooth can hold a table top and serve as the focus for your outdoor dining.  It can hold an urn planter, or you can hollow out the centre and fill with earth to create a space for plants.

Stumps also make ideal pedestals for garden statuary, if you have a special piece you'd like to display.

Breeze block planters.  Many people like the unadorned grey colour, but if you want a brighter look you can paint the blocks, or even apply bath tiles to the exterior.

Water features.  These are so popular they're frequently lampooned as the ultimate gardening cliché, but that doesn't change the reasons for their popularity:  they're lovely, relaxing, and small ones are quite cheap to build.  You'll need a reservoir to hold the falling water, a submersible pump to recycle it up through the head of the fountain aperture, and a water source. Buying a water feature may seem out of the question however could provide the funds required, leaving your monthly budget untouched.

The usual complement to flowing water is an assortment of stones, and if you combine cobbles and pebbles you'll have a more natural look.

Coloured glass inserts for your wooden fence.  If part of your garden fence catches the sun, you can drill some holes through the slats and tuck in bits of coloured glass.  The easy way to accomplish this project is by using uniformly sized glass pebbles, but if you have treasured fragments of sea glass, you will never find a better opportunity to display your collection.

You can also use stained glass windows or sculptures for this purpose, but you'll need to make sure they're sturdy enough to stand up to weather stresses.

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