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Gardening

Budget Small Garden Ideas Transform Any Sized Outdoor Space Into a Green Oasis!

Make any tiny outdoor space feel like a lavish large garden with our expert tips!

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You don’t need a sprawling backyard to create a gorgeous, lush garden! Any small outdoor spot — from front porch steps to a balcony to a bare wall — can be transformed into a stunning, serene gardenscape on a budget!

“Creating a small garden can be so rewarding,” says garden pro Troy Smothermon, founder of StartOrganic. And you don’t have to spend a lot of money to do it! Whether you’re an experienced green thumb or a novice plant enthusiast, these budget small garden ideas are simple to achieve and give your outdoor space a high-end garden look for a fraction of the price. Options like a turf wall or plant ladder require less plants, soil and material than large outdoor garden beds or borders. Keep on reading for the easy how-to’s.

8 budget small garden ideas:

1. Use a container garden to add blooming beauty to a porch or patio small garden

Budget small garden ideas: Container garden comprised of assorted colorful potted flowering plants clustered together on a wooden deck in front of a blue wall
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“Container displays are just the thing to lift our spirits and our small outdoor spaces,” says landscape designer Jan Johnsen, author of Gardentopia and Floratopia. “They can perk up plain tabletops and add a pop of color by your porch, patio or anywhere you choose.”

To get the look, nestle the roots of flowering plants (like lobelia, shasta daisies, gerbera daisies, petunia, calibrachoa and dianthus) into terra cotta or colorful, potting soil-filled pots and water thoroughly. Give plants full sun and water regularly.

Tip: Place taller pots behind smaller pots so you can easily see every plant and enjoy their full beauty!

Related: Container Garden Ideas: These Displays Are Inexpensive, Easy to Make & Simply Stunning

2. Budget small garden ideas: A plant ladder to add vertical interest

Budget small garden ideas: Potted herb and strawberry plants on steps of a small wooden step ladder outside
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“Outdoor ladder shelves are becoming so popular because they offer an easy way to elevate and showcase many pots of flowers, herbs and decorative items,” says Johnsen. “Plus, the upright displays are perfect for brightening up a forgotten corner!”

For the most interest, she suggests planting herbs (like rosemary, mint and basil) and strawberry plants in various-sized terra cotta pots, then displaying them on different steps of an old wooden step ladder. Give plants light shade to full sun and keep soil moist.

Tip: For a finishing touch, add a collection of decorative items like tall vases, birdhouses and a watering can to steps.

3. Consider succulent wall art to form an eye-catching focal point for a budget-friendly garden

Budget small garden ideas: Wooden box container of succulents mounted on blue wooden wooden wall outside
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“In the backyard, living walls have been all the rage in recent years, transforming unsightly fences into a beautiful botanical display,” notes Alick Burnett, Managing Director at Blooming Artificial. “It’s a fantastic backdrop for seating areas, and they work well in smaller areas, adding greenery without eating into floor space.”

To create your own succulent-filled frame that’s low maintenance and easy to hang on a fence or exterior wall of your house or shed, pick up a shadowbox frame from the craft store and carefully remove the glass. Next, use a staple gun to affix a cut-to-fit piece of chicken wire to the inside of the frame in place of the glass. Fill box with cactus potting mix, then use chopsticks to gently tuck roots of succulents into soil through chicken wire until covered. Water well and let the box lay in the sun for at least two weeks so roots can establish in soil, then hang on a wall. Lift from from the wall to water once weekly.

Tip: Save money by growing new baby succulents from your existing succulents! Find the easy steps here.

4. Budget small garden ideas: Grow bag gardens to move plants around your yard

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“Grow bags, which are lightweight plastic fabric plant containers, have become popular vessels for growing mini gardens since they are compact, easily portable and breathable,” says Kevin Espiritu, founder of EpicGardening.com and author of Grow Bag Gardening. What’s more, in an impermeable pot, the plant’s roots keep growing, circling the inside of the pot and restricting the plant’s growth, but fabric bags promote air circulation that allows plants to grow a healthier root system. Plus, you can easily pick up the lightweight bags and place them in any spot that could use a little garden flair.

For an easily accessible herb garden, fill a round grow bag (available at nurseries or online) with potting mix, then remove herbs and edible plants (like cilantro, parsley or lettuce starts) from their plastic nursery pots and nestle roots into soil. For your healthiest plants, set the display in a sunny spot and water once weekly.

5. A balcony garden to beautify your outdoor view is the perfect budget-friendly option

Budget small garden ideas: Outdoor balcony decorated with tall tropical tree and palm plants surrounding a patio table and chairs
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“Strategically placing a few leafy palms can instantly turn an empty balcony or patio corner into a tropical haven,” says Burnett. The tall plants block any unwanted views, while also catching the breeze to give your space a calming, tranquil feel.

To get the look, simply add a few potted palms or tropical tree plants to the floor and seats on a balcony, then add a few smaller potted plants to an outdoor table to bring even more verdant beauty to eye level.

6. Budget small garden ideas: A water garden to add serenity to your space

Budget small garden ideas: Water garden on a patio near grass comprised of a large round plant pot filled with water and water lily plants
Bowonpat Sakaew/iStock/Getty Images Plus

A large round plant pot and an assortment of aquatic plants gives the cooling look of a large pond—without all the upkeep.

To recreate this display, fill a large round plant pot (without a drainage hole) with water, then drop in plastic pots of aquatic plants (like water lilies) or float them on the water. Check water levels regularly and refill as needed.

Tip: To add color, drop a few dahlia blooms on top of water. Replace dahlias as they fade and set pot in bright light.

Related: DIY Outdoor Garden Decor Made From Thrifted Finds Will Pretty Up Your Yard

7. A pallet garden to hold a plethora of plants in a compact package is perfect for small spaces

Budget small garden ideas: A variety of succulent plants planted into an old wooden pallet
Monica Murphy/Getty

A pallet garden adds eye-catching interest when leaned up against any bare wall, walkway or railing. Plus, you can fit dozens of plants between the slats, yet its slim vertical space can fit into nearly any size space.

To do: Pick up a standard 48″-tall wood pallet (many businesses offer these for free if you ask!). Next, slip a 40″ tall burlap sack inside the left half of the pallet and use a staple gun to attach the sack to the inside of the walls; repeat on the right half with another sack. Fill the sacks with potting mix (if you plan to plant herbs or flowers) or cactus potting mix (if you plan to plant succulents and cacti), then lay the pallet flat. Use scissors to snip holes in the burlap between the slats and nestle roots of plants into the holes. Give full sun and keep soil moist.

8. A turf wall to create more green space instantly is a small garden option

Budget small garden ideas: Grass turf wall hanging on outdoor wall
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“Vertical grass walls are a great way to add greenery to small gardens without using up precious ground space,” says Taylor Olberding, co-owner of Heroes Lawn Care.

To get started, she suggests selecting a sturdy wall in your outdoor space that gets plenty of sunlight. Then, attach pre-grown grass panels or turf rolls (available online or at garden centers) to wall using a hammer and nails. Keep it looking lush by spraying it regularly with water and trimming it as needed. “This approach is perfect for making the most of limited space and brings a fresh, natural feel to your garden when you don’t have the space or budget for a proper lawn,” she says.


For more gardening ideas, keep reading!

5 Plants That Repel Mosquitoes From Your Yard, According to Garden Pros

DIY Outdoor Garden Decor Made From Thrifted Finds Will Pretty Up Your Yard

Pro Tips: How To Care For Tulips + How to Turn Potted Tulips Into A Stunning Garden Display

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