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How to create a budget-friendly garden paradise

Published on 07 December 2023

Posted in How To

by MKM

Transform your garden into a dream paradise without breaking the bank! Dreaming of a breath-taking garden but constrained by a tight budget? No worries - creating a stunning outdoor oasis is within reach. Our guide offers creative, budget-friendly tips and tricks to help you craft an enchanting garden space with just a few simple changes. Let's explore how you can bring your garden dreams to life, affordably.


Give That Fence a Facelift

You're possibly contemplating that tired-looking garden fence, decking, or shed, questioning if it has seen brighter days. Well, a simple application of paint can create a remarkable transformation, turning your garden from desolate to delightful! Experiment with shades belonging to the same colour palette or go bold! Try Cuprinol Silver from MKM to bring your fence panels or shed back to life!

Alternatively, create a whole new look with Timber slats to create a contemporary fence. At MKM we have a whole range of timber to choose from, perfect for creating a contemporary cosy corner or fenced area.

Add herbs and plants to hanging pots to hang on your fence for the perfect finishing touch.


Create Garden Zones and Pathways

A garden zone is more than just a plotted area in your garden; it's a meticulously crafted habitat tailored to the needs of specific plants. Besides ensuring optimal growth conditions for your green friends, garden zones play a vital role in your personal wellness and the overall garden ecosystem.

Gardening, as an activity, is known to reduce stress and instil a sense of tranquillity. It is therapeutic, and working within the confines of a well-planned garden zone enhances this feeling of serenity.

Let’s add to those zones, create dramatic appeal by creating zones or pathways using a variety of materials. A blend of gravel, decorative aggregates, turf, or even synthetic artificial grass can break the monotony. After all, who said pathways had to be plain? We have a huge range of decorative aggregates available to suit your style and taste, whether that be Golden Gravel, Limestone, Plum Slate or Yorkshire Cream.

To start, outline the area you wish to gravel using pegs and string. Consider the functionality and design of your garden zones when deciding on the size and shape of your gravelled areas. Once you're satisfied with the layout, remove the top layer of turf and soil to a depth of about 5cm to create a shallow pit.

Next, you'll need to install a weed membrane, which is a porous fabric that allows water to drain through but prevents weeds from pushing through the gravel. Cut the membrane to fit your outlined area and secure it with ground staples or pegs.

Now, it's time to add your decorative aggregates. Pour the gravel over the weed membrane and spread it evenly using a rake, ensuring a layer that's at least 3cm thick for good coverage. For larger areas, you might need a thicker layer.

As for best practices, choose aggregates that complement your garden's style and existing structures. Consider the size of the gravel - larger stones are more stable underfoot, while smaller stones create a smoother finish. Also, consider using edging materials, like bricks or timber, to clearly define the gravelled areas and prevent the decorative aggregates from spilling into your plant beds.


The good ol’ Brick BBQ

Now, let's turn our attention to that quintessential element of any garden - the BBQ. Ever considered constructing your own from bricks? Don't be daunted, it's simpler than you think and a trip to your local MKM branch will provide all you need.

Building your own brick BBQ has several benefits that can enhance your outdoor living experience.

Firstly, it offers durability and longevity, as bricks can withstand harsh weather conditions and heat more effectively than many other materials.

Secondly, brick BBQs are perfect for those who enjoy customisation. They offer the flexibility to be tailored to your design preferences and spatial constraints. Additionally, a brick BBQ can be a charming aesthetic addition to your garden zone, providing a focal point and a conversation starter for your garden parties.

It's all about laying the bricks in a circular or rectangular pattern, securing them with a mix of sand and cement, adding your BBQ grill shelf and there you have a robust, long-lasting BBQ station! Not only is this an economical choice, but it also adds a rustic charm to your garden. Plus, the sense of accomplishment you get from grilling on a BBQ you've built yourself is simply incomparable.


Charming Planters

Now, let's explore an ingenious way to use sleepers for a budget-friendly garden project. Head over to your nearest MKM and grab some robust railway sleepers—they're an affordable and versatile choice for DIY gardening projects. With a little bit of elbow grease, these sleepers can be transformed into stunning, rustic planters that add a touch of charm to your garden. Simply align them in a square or rectangular shape, secure them with long screws, fill with soil, and you have an instant garden bed ready for your favourite plants. Remember, adding a liner can help prolong the lifespan of your sleeper planter. This not only allows you to grow a variety of plants but also serves as a great garden focal point.

If you can’t quite stretch to sleepers, consider repurposing wooden pallets into quaint, rustic planters. It's a fantastic way to reduce waste, reuse materials, and exercise your planting skills. Don’t forget weed membrane, to supress those pesky weeds.

Alternatively, if your budget can stretch to add a few more finishing touches, browse our range of ready built planters. These planters come in all different shapes and sizes, and some can even be attached to a wall to hang plants, what’s more, most can be delivered straight to your door in just a click.


What are some cost effective ways to illuminate my garden?

Lastly, as dusk encroaches, prevent your garden from fading into darkness and get ready to drag those late nights out even further. Strategically place fairy lights or subtle spotlights to create a mesmerising glow.

For those who want to avoid the expense of wiring and save on the price of an electrician and cabling, we now have a range of solar options available.

Light up your DIY planters, features or walkways with spike lights. LED Wall Floodlights are a great option for lighting up the outer area of your home, available in various wattages, with or without a movement sensor for extra security and to help illuminate patios and pathways.

How do I make my garden safe for kids?

You’ve got small children running around but you want to preserve your paving instead of ripping it up? Simply lay some artificial grass over the top. This is a great way to preserve the paving for when the children aren’t so ‘stumbly’. Our range of artificial grass is great for this purpose; being soft, practical and above all child and pet friendly!


Remember, the secret to crafting an ideal garden on a budget isn't having a huge budget set aside, but an inventive mind and the motivation to create something brilliant! Whether you add a lick of paint to your existing fences, create your own more modern fence or create new pathways, we’re sure that you’ll find everything you need for that showstopping transformation at your local MKM branch or online at