Best Ways to Garden in Small Spaces on a Budget

Best Ways to Garden in Small Spaces on a Budget
If you are anything like me, you love to garden but also know that sometimes it can be difficult to know how to start out. This is especially true if you live in an apartment or don't really have the space to start a garden, and if money is tight. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to garden in a small space, all while sticking to your budget and not breaking the bank. This easy guide for gardening in small spaces will help point you in the right direction.

1.) Coming Up With A Plan
The first step in gardening in small spaces is to come up with some sort of game plan. If you live in an apartment and only have a balcony or patio to garden on, then you are going to have to be a bit more creative when it comes to finding a way to plant everything, while not taking up all of your space with plants. The first step to coming up with a good plan is to find inspiration. I have found that following gardening, DIY, and landscaping boards on Pinterest has helped inspire some of the best and most creative ideas when it comes to gardening! Occasionally, these ideas have also helped me save a few dollars in the process. If you do not already have a Pinterest account, I highly recommend you get one and start following a few gardening boards. They are loaded with all kinds of fun and quirky ideas!

2.) Collecting Items
Once you have a plan or at least some sort of idea on where you are going to start with your garden, or what you would eventually like to achieve, the next important step in gardening in small spaces is to start collecting the tools and items you will need to garden in a small space. Reusing and upcyling household items is a great way to garden efficiently, all while saving space and money. Looking for items on websites like Craigslist or Freecycle, or checking for gardening supplies at resale & thrift shops is another great way to get more bang for your buck, and find unique items that will work great in any garden! Some of my favorite garden treasures have come from thrift stores.

Household Items That Work Great To Use As Planters
  • Cans
  • Milk Crates
  • Bottles
  • Jars
  • Toilet Paper Rolls
  • Lanterns
  • Fish Tanks
  • Fish Bowls
  • Tires
  • Old Toolboxes, Mailboxes, or Baskets
  • Glassware
  • Gutters
  • Pipes
  • Cinderblocks
  • Concrete
  • Wagons, Wheelbarrows, Wagon Wheels
  • Lightbulbs
  • Coffee Mugs
  • Pallets
  • Old Bird Baths
  • Laundry Baskets
  • Broken Terra Cotta Pots
  • Metal Tea Canisters
  • Watering Cans
3.) Get To It!
Once you have a plan and the items you will need to start your garden, you will want to buy soil, seeds, and plants if you have not already done so. I have learned from experience that planting flowers, fruits, veggies and herbs from seeds tends to usually work better than transplanting plants that are already half grown and sold at the stores. Seeds are also usually fairly inexpensive to buy, with prices usually ranging anywhere from $1.00-4.00. I've found a variety of good seed starters at places like Lowes and Target. Another thing you might consider when purchasing seeds is trying to find items that you can re-use later. What I mean by this is being able to save the seeds again for next year, or replant from recycling plant parts. (i.e. green onions, celery, pineapples, etc.) Once you've got all your seeds and everything else you need, its time to get to it! Here are some cool ideas to help get you started:

Savvy Small Space Gardening Tips

Shoe Organizer Garden - One cost effective and quirky way to garden in a small space is to invest or recycle a canvas shoe organizer. This shoe organizer can be hung up and kept off the wall with a few strips of wood. This type of garden planter works great for growing herbs.

Salad Box - If you are looking for an ideal way to plant lettuce, kale, or other greens, then you might consider creating your very own salad box. Raised beds on table legs or platforms work great for this type of garden planter, and also require less bending over to tend to your garden, which is even better. You can create your own simple salad box by upcycling and hollowing out an old desk, or taking the drawers out of a dresser. Other items that work well are redwood planter boxes with a few 1 x 4's. Simply piece these items together with a few tools like a hammer, nails, and some glue, etc. and you're good to go.

Pallet Garden - One of the easiest and most efficient ways to garden in a small space, like on a balcony or patio is to get a pallet and set it vertically. This type of planter works great for herbs like basil or rosemary, or even to make a "catio" for your feline friend. You can grow some catnip and other types of cat grasses within the pallets. Check out this easy DIY guide to build your very own pallet garden.

Gutter Garden - Gutter Gardens are becoming more and more popular in small gardening spaces. This brilliant solution involves taking gutters and connecting them to walls in a sunny area, so that they are off the ground, away from bugs, animals, and a foundation that can sometimes become too wet. Check out these cool DIY guides for gutter gardens and hanging gutter gardens.

Canning Jar Garden - Making a wall mounted Spice Rack from Canning Jars is another cheap and easy way to garden in small spaces. This idea can even be used by those individuals who don't have outdoor space to garden in, at all. A canning jar garden will work great outdoors on your patio, fence, balcony, garage wall, etc. or indoors on the wall of your living room or kitchen.

Terraniums - Terraniums are a fun idea for any gardener who loves to get creative and have fun while gardening. Some of my favorite terraniums that I've made came from items that I thrifted. (i.e. old fish bowls and spice bowls with lids, garden gnomes, fake flowers and vines, rocks, pebbles, sand, etc.) A terranium will add flair to any garden that is on a patio or balcony, or any garden that is indoors.

Rain Boot Planter -
Another cheap and whimsical way to add a bit of style to any garden is to use old rain boots as a planter. They can be hung from the walls, a fence, or just sit on top of a table or the ground. This specific planter is a fun idea to do if you like gardening with your kids.

Window Boxes - Another cute and simple way to garden some of your favorite flowers or a few of your favorite herbs is to invest in a window box. These can usually be found at your local gardening store or a home goods store. You can even re-use household items like wine boxes, baskets, and wooden crates to make your very own window box. To add a bit of pizzaz, try painting your box and distressing it. You can even buy some stencils and write some cute messages or words on the box, to turn any plain old box to an adorable window box in no time.

Coffee and Soup Can Garden- A coffee and soup can garden is another easy idea when it comes to gardening in small spaces. Coffee cans and soup cans are two everyday items that you probably already have lying around the house. If you paint them to add a bit of charm and then plant your favorite flowers or herbs in them, they can be placed on the ground, window ledges, or tables, or even be hung from ceilings, rafters, roofs, walls, fences, trees and poles.

Square Foot/Raised Bed Garden -
Making your own raised bed garden doesn't have to be as difficult as it seems. In fact, you can even measure out the specific amount of distance and feet you want the garden to be. You'd be surprised just how many vegetables and flowers you can manage to fit in just a few square feet. Cinder blocks work great for this type of garden, especially if you are planting something like strawberries. If you don't have enough space to build a raised bed garden, you might even consider just using a few cinder blocks by themselves and planting a select few plants and inside them.

Laundry Basket Garden - Laundry Baskets work great for gardening things like potatoes. They also work great for keeping around your garden when it comes time to harvest your plants and rinse them off. Even better? A laundry basket works as a natural strainer. Gone are the days of having to lug everything in the house one item at a time to rinse and strain.

Feeling inspired yet? Remember, just because a space is small, doesn't mean it can't have gardening potential. I live in an apartment and for my garden I literally just went into the woods and collected buckets full of rocks. Then I dug around our windows where the grass was dead, and laid down some soil and river pebbles which I got on a summer sale at Lowes, and then I outlined the landscape with the collected rocks. I planted from seeds and spread mulch around, bought $2 solar lights from Target, and thrifted gardening tools like watering cans, and materials to make terraniums and gnome gardens. 

I also bought 6 red bricks from Lowes for less than $20 and just dug up a bit of grass in front of our patio where I wanted to place them, placed them down in a curved path and patted the dirt back down. It took about a year for the grass to grow in around it (I could have bought grass seed and planted, but I was lazy) within a year's time, we now have a cute DIY path leading from our patio do our small garden. With a little bit of imagination, and creativity, and a bit of hard work, your small garden space can be thriving in no time, and you don't even have to spend outside your budget to make it all happen. Best of luck!