Whether you’ve a modest patch of garden or several acres to contend with, there are plenty of ways to cut the cost of gardening without compromising on quality.
In April we asked 662 members about the savings they’d made in the garden over the past year. From making the most of garden centre reward schemes to getting creative with household items, our ever-resourceful members had plenty of ideas. We’ve picked some of the best tips to help you keep your gardening expenses in check.
Make your own compost and accessories
Making your own compost from biodegradable waste is an easy and environmentally friendly way to save money. The compost you make is great for digging into the soil or spreading on the surface as a mulch, so you won’t have to buy as much soil improver. You can buy compost bins, or just start with a heap that can eventually be moved to a container.
Waste and household items can be used as free or cheap alternatives to products on sale at garden centres. Karl Rodgers, from Port Isaac, saved £35 last year by using the tubes from kitchen roll as planters for runner beans and mangetout.
David Cemlyn, from Bristol, uses cheap nappies to line hanging baskets, clay pots and the soil under bean crops:‘They hold a lot of water! Parents often have a lot of leftover nappies.’
Find out more: How to compost – read about tried and tested composting techniques
Look in discount stores and supermarkets
Many members told us they’d bought plants and seeds at discount stores, such as Poundland and Wilko, or supermarkets, specifically Aldi and Morrisons. One member saved £60 on a selection of bedding plants by heading to Aldi instead of his local garden centre.
Patricia Rafferty, from Boston, saved £6 when she bought seed potatoes from Poundland. Which? Gardening experts recommend buying new seed potatoes each spring, so this could be a good opportunity to save on your annual potato crop.
Bear in mind that plants at supermarkets and other shops may not have been cared for in the same way as those at a garden centre, so check your purchases carefully.
Find out more: Save money by growing your own vegetables – see how much you could knock off your supermarket shop
Swap potted plants for bare roots
Bare-root plants are sold with exposed roots, out of season, so they are typically much cheaper than the potted equivalent. They are only available to buy from autumn to early spring, as they need to be lifted while the plants are dormant and don’t have any leaves. Plants commonly sold this way include roses, hedging plants and shrubs. Mary Kidd, from Folkestone saved £20 on four rosebushes, after spotting a reader offer in a newspaper.
Which? Gardening experts advise unpacking the plants as soon as they arrive. If you can’t plant them in their final spot straight away, roughly plant them somewhere else and then move them before they come into leaf in spring.
Find out more: Gardening jobs for August – our suggestions for the tasks to prioritise this month
Use garden centre loyalty schemes
Joining a garden centre loyalty scheme, whether free or paid for, can help you make regular savings, or even just cut the cost of a one-off purchase. Josanne Hargate receives 10% off her purchases a Nottcutts as a member of its Privilege Club, which costs £10 a year to join and is available at 18 stores nationwide. This saved her an extra £82 on six garden chairs, cushions and an umbrella, which had already been reduced from £1,680 to £820.
Loyalty schemes can also give you money-off vouchers, discounts on food in the café, or even free hot drinks.