Today for Frugal Tips Friday #11 we’re discussing affordable outdoor living. This could mean patio living, as is the case with me. It could be a gazebo or any space where you sit and reflect or gather with friends in your outdoor space and gardens.
Every year I look forward to getting my patio up to snuff. This means cleaning a bit of the winter dirt that’s collected and rearranging things. I always have places to sit as well as a place to set a coffee cup or glass of iced tea.
Look at your outdoor space as an extension of your living space. Therefore no matter how small a home you live in, that outdoor space also serves to be a place to relax or sit with friends, neighbors or family. Or simply be alone and reflect or read a book.
I’ve had a few different looks over the years. There was the year I had the green gazebo, which lasted only a year due to the Oklahoma winds tearing it down. That was sad because I really loved to sit in the shade and gaze out at my flowers.
Here’s a photo from that year.
The next photos are from other years on my patio in the five years (next month) that I’ve been living here. Below was last year’s patio.
The photo above was also from last year, where the wild morning glories took over the fence bordering the alley behind the strip mall.
Also you see the raised container garden I added about three years ago. I ordered the raised container kit from Gardener’s Supply. I don’t know if they still sell this same product or not. Doubt it.
The garden is filled with hostas, which you don’t see in this photo because it’s later in the summer and they’re underneath other plants like mint. Hostas aren’t that fond of heat, so they are prettiest in springtime.
Lemon balm and various forms of mint became a ground cover, and that was fine by me. Many gardeners don’t like to just let mint spread, but I like the scent. And more importantly bugs do not!
The photo below was early on when I had two trees in my patio space. They had to cut them down because they were causing a lot of problems with their roots.
I’ve had loads of fun on this patio with whatever plans I come up with for each year.
Now is the time when I start to plan. What you can always count on is that there will be lots of flowers and herbs in my gardens and subsequently in my photos.
I usually also try to add something different every year. Perhaps a different ornamental grass or a tree, as I did year before last.
In terms of being frugal, which I haven’t said much about here yet, of course any garden space is going to cost money.
But you can find outdoor furniture at estate sales and end of season sales that are affordable. I always like to have a seating space. Last fall I gave away two of my oldest chairs to make room for more plants.
You can also often use furniture outdoors that might not be meant for the outdoors. If you have a porch roof or gazebo, etc., that will often work. I’ve also seen lots of items for outdoor living at the antique mall for cheap.
Someone commented that they haven’t seen outdoor furniture that is affordable, but broaden your horizons and think outside of the box. Of course if you walk into a store and buy an outdoor sectional or matching seating set, it won’t be cheap.
I don’t shop that way. I look for pieces here and there and work with that. Pick up or skim through one of those Flea Market Outdoor decorating magazines and you will see lots of flea market style ideas that are affordable and creative.
Once you’ve purchased or acquired your pots or containers, you won’t have to buy them again unless you add more plants than you have containers for. I found those big green pots for around $10 last year at Home Depot.
Also, keep in mind that anything that holds dirt can usually be used as a garden container. Try repurposing items you may already have.
I’ve seen herbs planted in colorful cans that you would normally throw away. Hammer a nail in various places in the bottom of the can for drainage.
I like rocks scattered in my garden. You can drive out to the country or many other places and find rocks free of charge to bring home to your outdoor space.
I typically re-use potting soil, but I dig out much of last year’s soil and add new potting soil. There are also soil amendments you can add to your existing soil. I’ve purchased it before at Gardener’s Supply and done that as well.
I haven’t decided if I’ll order amendments from them for this year. But here is the link to the page at Gardener’s Supply.
I have ordered quite a few things from them over the years and have been pleased with their products.
Other frugal ways to start plants is to divide what you have or sometimes you just get lucky and they come up on their own. Oftentimes birds scatter the seeds for you.
I consider gardening and outdoor living to be one and the same, because I wouldn’t have one without the other!
What affordable or free ideas do you have for frugal outdoor living?