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Small Garden Ideas on a Budget

Updated on June 30, 2016

Things to Consider When Planting a Small Garden

Small gardens can be rewarding in many ways and can provide you with years of enjoyment. There are several things you can do to save money while creating a small and productive garden. Things to consider while planning your small garden are:

  • Will it be in a sunny, partly-sunny, or shady space?
  • Are there deer, rabbits, or moles that may eat your plants?
  • Is your soil porous or hard and solid?

The plants you choose will need to fit your space, depending on their needs. Fortunately there are some plants that are very tolerant to poor soil conditions and unpredictable weather. Knowing which plants to buy for your space is essential to a successful small garden. Doing a little research will save you money in the long run. Below you will find a list of some of my favorite small garden perennial plants.

The hydrangeas by themselves look incredible around this home.
The hydrangeas by themselves look incredible around this home. | Source
Hostas and Knock Out roses
Hostas and Knock Out roses | Source
The flower of a butterfly bush
The flower of a butterfly bush | Source
Hostas and Knock Out roses
Hostas and Knock Out roses | Source

Tips for Saving Money on Your Small Garden

  1. Most stores with garden centers, have a sale rack. I always go to these first and find incredible plants at a fraction of the cost. These plants are usually being moved out to make room for newer plants, however sometimes they are damaged. Do not buy plants that look like they cannot be restored by simply removing dead leaves and watering.
  2. Plan your garden before looking for plants. Is it in a shady or sunny area? Are there animals such as deer, rabbits, or moles that will eat your plants? The answers to these questions will determine the types of plants you should buy for your small garden, and will keep you from wasting money on plants that won't thrive.
  3. When planting your small garden, remember to stagger plants so that the taller ones are in the back and the smaller ones are in the front as pictured below. Also, all gardens can be infused with splashes of colorful flowers, which is very eye-appealing.
  4. Get plants from your relatives, friends, and neighbors yards. Most of the plants in my yard were free. My sister and I are constantly bringing each other bits of plants from our yards. Share plants from your yard with your neighbors and they will do the same for you.


Some of My Favorite Perennial Plants for Small Gardens

  • Hydrangeas will grow into large bushes with huge balls of colorful flowers. They like partly-sunny areas while growing into mature plants. These plants make quite a statement when they are mature. However, they do need some extra care initially and they are not deer resistant. Hydrangeas come in the most beautiful shades of blue, pink, purple, and white. Their colors can be manipulated by the alkalinity or acidity of the soil.
  • Hostas are wonderful leafy plants that come in a couple of different varieties. I highly recommend these as long as you do not have deer visiting your yard, as they will eat them. Slugs also like these leafy plants and will leave holes in them, but slugs are very easy to get rid of naturally. Simply take a soup can, fill it halfway with beer, and set it in the ground a couple of inches near the plants the slugs are eating. In a couple of days, it will be filled with slugs.
  • Butterfly bushes are an excellent choice for any garden. These can get very large, so should be planted in the back of a small garden. These bushes have lovely purple clusters of flowers and they attract large colorful butterflies. They are very hardy and deer resistant. They can be pruned at any time and will grow back quickly. These bushes will reseed and new plants will grow nearby, to be used in your garden or given away.
  • Knock Out roses are a very popular variety of rose because they are disease resistant and have a longer blooming season than other roses. These plants grow very quickly into bushes covered with colorful roses. They are not deer resistant, but can be sprayed with a mixture of soapy water to deter the deer. According to, they should be pruned about 12 inches in the early spring.
  • Daylillies are very hardy and easy plants to grow. They multiply quickly and can be divided into smaller plants easily every few years. They are extremely tolerant, but do prefer sunny areas. This is another plant that deer will eat. Daylillies can be planted in large masses or small groupings. They require no maintenance and will bloom throughout the hot days of summer.


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    • profile image

      Andrew 4 years ago

      I often find that plants appear last on the list when someone is looking for small garden ideas and as we know plants are the most important element of any garden, large or small.

      Your article is great because it focuses in on the plants.

      I recently wrote an article on small garden ideas.

    • Rosie writes profile image

      Rosie writes 4 years ago from Virginia

      Thanks Thelma! I just finished watering my small garden and I find it so rewarding. I have several tomatoes ready for picking - yum! Enjoy your weekend too :)

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

      Great tips! I enjoyed reading this and your photos are beautiful. Thanks for sharing. Have a nice weekend!

    • Rosie writes profile image

      Rosie writes 4 years ago from Virginia

      Thanks for reading - I'm so glad you all have found this hub useful. I have to be creative with my large shady yard, when gardening. Riviera, I am waiting anxiously for spring too!

    • Riviera Rose profile image

      Riviera Rose 4 years ago from South of France

      Loved this hub, and loved your pictures. I have a fair amount of space but it's broken up into lots of different borders,or small gardens, each of which I'm trying to give its own personality. It's currently pouring with rain which of course is good for the garden, but I cannot wait for spring! Voted up and beautiful.

    • idigwebsites profile image

      idigwebsites 4 years ago from United States

      Wow, I like your ideas, especially with getting plants for free. Less expenses indeed. Even semi-wild plants, they can be planted too for the garden. Voted up and useful.

    • Gail Meyers profile image

      Gail Meyers 4 years ago from United States

      Nice hub with great tips! You photographs are beautiful, too. Thanks for sharing your ideas. Voted up, useful and FB shared.

    • Rosie writes profile image

      Rosie writes 4 years ago from Virginia

      Thanks Better Yourself. I'm ready for warmer weather too. We are expecting more snow this week though.

    • Better Yourself profile image

      Better Yourself 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Great hub and great plant tips! Ready for it to warm up a little so I can start gardening!

    • Rosie writes profile image

      Rosie writes 4 years ago from Virginia

      Thanks for reading and commenting Stove and Home. Take care.

    • Stove And Home profile image

      Stove And Home 4 years ago

      So much goes into making a garden, especially if you want it to be successful long-term. These are great tips, especially about the sale rack. There are always plants that look a little lifeless but basically have good soil and roots, that will make good transplants.

    • Rosie writes profile image

      Rosie writes 4 years ago from Virginia

      Thanks donnah75. Even in winter, the sale rack is worth visiting. Last weekend I bought a peace lily for $2.50 - love it. I also bought a large palm tree for $2.00, and nothing wrong with it! I can't wait for spring as well.

    • donnah75 profile image

      Donna Hilbrandt 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      I am itching for spring so that I can start growing plants. I love your tip about the sale rack. I love reviving plants that have seen better days. I have a beautiful christmas cactus plant that I have had for years now. I bought it for a dollar off a sales rack, and it was nearly dead. Great tip.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for some good ideas for gardeners, Rosie. I love the names "butterfly bushes" and "knock out roses" - I'll look out for these plants.

    • sgiguere profile image

      Stephanie Giguere 5 years ago from Marlborough MA

      What beautiful pictures!

    • Rosie writes profile image

      Rosie writes 5 years ago from Virginia

      Thanks cvanthul! My sister and I share pond plants too. We save so much money that way, each sharing different plants, as they reproduce quickly. One of my neighbors gave me several black-eyed susans one year-love them!

    • cvanthul profile image

      Cristina Vanthul 5 years ago from Florida

      Nice hub, Rosie. Love the tips. I've gotten all of my heliconias and Mexican petunias from my mom. And the last time I visited a garden center, I found a canna lily for $3 and an orchid for $5. Love it!