Garden Design for Under $50

These 13 ideas and products can update your garden on a $50-or-less budget.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Image courtesy of Atlanta Botanical Garden

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Bloem

Photo By: Photo by Lori Johnston

©2010, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Image courtesy of Proven Winners

Photo By: Photo by Lori Johnston

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Photo by Lori Johnston

©2008, Dorling Kindersley

Photo By: Photo by Lori Johnston

Prepare to Propagate

Invest in propogation supplies, and with a little patience and know-how, you can grow plants easily, says Sheri Dorn, extension horticulturist, consumer ornamentals for the University of Georgia. She's also coordinator of the Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteer Program.

Test Your Soil

Start off with the right foundation by having your soil tested. Local extension offices are among those that provide soil testing for an affordable price.

Stay in One Spot

Put your entire $50 into updating one spot of your garden. Grouping flowers together in that area will be the most bang for your buck, says Gail Hansen, associate professor in the Environmental Horticulture Department at the University of Florida. "When you first put them in the ground, they will be small and won't look like much, but they will grow quickly."

Look for Deals

To make the most of your $50, buy direct from the grower in your town, and get there early in the morning before the plants sell out. That way, you won't miss out on deals, such as an 18-pack pansy flat for $8. Also watch out for garden club plant sales.

Garden Color

For an immediate update, use your $50 to buy a basic container, potting soil, and a pretty annual or perennial. A punch of color is one of the most effective routes on a small budget, says Sheri Dorn, extension horticulturist, consumer ornamentals for the University of Georgia.

Pallet Planter

For garden beds and decor, recycle and reuse pallets. The form of a pallet makes excellent rows for seed plants, such as radishes and lettuce, says Georgia teacher Shawna McGrath.  

Find a Fun Container

Reuse items, such as a red plastic tote, as a perfect container for colorful poppies or other plants that will attract bees, butterflies and birds.

Make Wise Plant Picks

Popular perennials such as heuchera plants can be a smart, cost-effective option for your garden because of the striking large rounded or heart-shaped foliage and the added benefit of a bloom, says Sheri Dorn, extension horticulturist, consumer ornamentals for the University of Georgia.

Create Your Own Greenhouse

Old windows from a Habitat for Humanity ReStore cover a straw bale greenhouse, which cost less than $50 to put together, says Georgia teacher Shawna McGrath. The yellow window frames also add a pop of color.

Compost for the Future

Use your waste as a resource, by creating a compost pile with grass clippings, leaves, fruit scraps, coffee grounds, small branches and twigs and more items. Put it in a bin and within about three months, you can start to remove compost from the bottom to fertilize and mulch your yard on the cheap.

Enjoy a DIY Project

Used 2-liter bottles can be repurposed as planters (in front of windows from a Habitat for Humanity ReStore). Georgia teacher Shawna McGrath used the planters to add fall flowers that attract monarch butterflies.

Read Up

Invest early in growing your gardening knowledge by purchasing a book or two about gardening.

Butterfly Shelter

Attract beautiful creatures by bringing a butterfly house into your garden. You can find them for less than $25 at stores such as Tractor Supply. Then personalize it, with this one painted by students in Georgia teacher Shawna McGrath's class.