Wealth

Can you save money with your garden?

Have you spent a fortune on the grass in your garden over the years? Despite this, does it still look like the top of Wayne Rooney’s head?

Never fear. This summer resolve to make your garden look good without paying anyone a penny. In fact, why not use your garden to save some money?

With a promised heat wave (!) on the hazy horizon, NMTBP show you how you can save money on and in your garden

Plant salad leaves

You may not have the time or the patience to nurse a veg patch carefully and proudly serve guests potatoes and carrots you’ve grown yourself. You may have a lot of admiration for anyone who does

But does anyone save much money by growing their own potatoes? Root vegetables are some of the cheapest things we put in our trolleys

Instead, use your limited time and space to grow the most expensive fresh food you buy: Salad leaves. Not only do salad bags cost at least £1 each, they’re among the most wasted food in the country, with consumers chucking out over a third of the salad they buy

But by planting a few different leafy plants, you can simply trim off the leaves you need as you need them. You’ll save money while reducing your waste and carbon footprint

And if you don’t have a garden then at least you don’t need much space to benefit; salad plants can be grown in containers on window sills or balconies

Don’t buy flowers

You’re probably guilty of this one, so no wonder your garden is a money pit. Because you don’t plan ahead, you tend to rush out as soon as the sun comes out, and buy ready-grown flowers already in their pots. This literally costs 10 times the cost of seeds and a lot more than seedlings

It’s obvious really - the longer the grower has spent tending the plants, the pricier they will be. And it’s much harder to transport plants with flowers on, so that cost gets added too

For many summer flowers it’s now too late to plant seeds for this year. However, you can plant seeds now that will blossom next year. You can do that and also buy some cheap seedlings in order to get a bit of colour this year

If you have greener fingers than that, you could try ‘rescuing’ the half-dead plants in the local garden centre’s bargain bin

Use your butt

In the unlikely event that we do have a barbeque summer this year, the threat of hosepipe bans could mean your beloved garden becomes a dustbowl. But even if there are no bans, households with water meters will pay for greener gardens with higher bills

So installing a water butt and collecting rainfall to use on the ground makes good financial and environmental sense

Make it child-safe

Save a fortune when the sun is out. Instead of carting the kids or grandkids off to a pricey soft-play centre or giving in to their demands for new games to get them through the wet and cold weather, simply turf them out into the garden (remember your childhood?)

Trust us, they’ll spend hours simply pottering about or playing sport while you do jobs or simply enjoy the inner (household) peace, freeing up time and money. It only takes  me a couple of hours to make your garden child safe, by checking the fences for sticking-out nails, fencing off a drop to the side of the house or making space for a sandpit in a shady area

Cut the cost of lawn care

As already noted you may have worked your way through every lawn care company in your town and none of them have managed to resurrect your grass. So why not do it yourself?

It turns out that it’s not that complicated. Far from being a mystical alchemy, it’s just about feeding it, seeding it and occasionally raking it, all in the right seasons

There’s an excellent guide on the Royal Horticultural Society’s website.

By following the RHS’s advice you can probably save yourself at least £180, taking into account the cost of seed and fertiliser

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