During the COVID-19 pandemic, practically everyone was forced to stay at home, hunker down, and make do with what they have. For those who live in spacious homes and rural areas, this was not as difficult a task as for those who were cooped up for months in apartment buildings.
We all played our part to keep each other safe, each country scrambling to help their citizens stay healthy and virus-free. Of course, this extra time at home meant transforming your home into your workspace, a school for your children, a gym, and a playground in a matter of days. This transformation was taxing for many families, to say the least.
If you spent your quarantine soaking up every little bit of outside time as physically possible, you may have gained a new appreciation for outdoor spaces. Whether you have a vast yard fit for sports games, or a tiny balcony six feet long, each millimetre of outdoor space is precious when it’s all you’ve got.
With this in mind, many people are now looking to transform their gardens into a more useful, more fun, more economical space – on a budget. Here are ten affordable garden additions to try out this year.
1. A Vegetable Garden
If you’re always looking for ways to be healthier and teach good habits to your children, here is where to start. Many people think that growing your own vegetables is a skill reserved only for the greenest of thumbs, but this simply is not true.
Anyone can do it, and what’s more, you do not need acres of space or any expensive equipment. Just a big pot or bed, some soil and compost, seeds, water, and a little patience. Plus, nowadays there are books specifically written to help those with small spaces or budgets to grow food and be healthier and happier!
2. Fruit Trees
Alright, this one isn’t exactly ideal if you only have a balcony, but fruit trees are not as complicated as you may imagine. You may not see any results for quite a few years, but planting fruit trees in your garden space will be an enriching experience for all the family.
Watching them grow as the years go by is truly magical, and before you know it, you’ll be picking delicious plums or apples in your own backyard. Delicious.
3. A Garden Room
Many people found suddenly working from home, when they were used to traveling to the office each day, pretty challenging. Surrounded by the clutter and paraphernalia of life, it’s super hard to concentrate. Working from home is the new normal, and if you’re in it for the long haul, a garden room may be for you.
You might be thinking, ‘So much for an affordable addition!’ but in actual fact, if you’re ready to roll up your sleeves, installing a garden room might not be as expensive as you anticipate. The only initial cost is the room itself, which can be custom made or bought from a retailer, and delivered to your home.
After that, it’s just about moving your work clutter from the kitchen out to the garden room, and voila! You’ve got yourself a home office surrounded by greenery.
4. A Trampoline
Even if you don’t have any children, a trampoline is a great idea. Bouncing on a trampoline is a fantastic core exercise and can help your cardiovascular fitness too. Plus, you feel just like a kid again, flying through the air with your limbs akimbo. Fifteen minutes of trampolining a day will revolutionize your fitness and provide you with some outdoor fun, all in one. Ideal.
5. Water Features
This does not have to be an elaborate Japanese koi pond or anything else fancy. A water feature could be a dish of water which attracts small birds to drink and bathe; or, if you’ve got more space and time, a pond or fountain. Water features are amazing tools which attract plenty of nature to your garden.
If you enjoy wildlife like birds, frogs, squirrels and bugs, or want to teach your children about animals that live locally in your area, a water feature is guaranteed to help you achieve this.
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6. A Playhouse
This one’s for the parents out there who struggled to entertain the kids during the lockdown. Installing a playhouse, which could be a treehouse, a shed, or a summer hut, gives the kids their own play space and helps entertain them for hours on end.
Plus, it lets you remove kids’ stuff from the living room, giving them their own messy space to run wild, play games, and generally just be kids.
7. A Chicken Run
You may think this is a bonkers suggestion, but take a minute to consider chickens. Chickens are just about the cheapest pets in the world to keep. The only real expense is buying a fox-proof run which keeps them safe at nighttime. Everything else is pretty inexpensive.
Keeping female chickens, not cockerels which make lots of noise and terrorize the females, is very easy. They live in herds, they eat all your leftover food – literally anything you throw their way, bar meat and fish – and provide delicious, sustainable eggs for the family.
Plus, did you know that chickens actually have distinctive personalities and can be quite tame? Some are shy and flighty, while others will allow you to pick them up, stroke their soft feathers, and even give them a scratch.
8. A Herb Garden
This can be done even if you only have a six-foot balcony. Herbs are super easy to grow, very cheap and quick to maintain, and you can incorporate them into your meals for an absolutely delicious, aromatic flavor profile.
Herbs have countless properties which are beneficial for your physical health, gut, and relaxation. Do not underestimate the power of home grown herbs to spice up your meals and keep your space smelling delicious.
If your budget is on the larger side, you could invest in landscaping and have your garden on many levels. This adds dimension and scope to your outdoor space, making it aesthetically beautiful and adding value to your home too.
10. Owl Boxes
Even living in suburbia, you can attract all sorts of stunning animals to make their homes right beside yours. You never know what fascinating birds and mammals are local to your area until you do some research; some of them are barely ever seen unless you look for them.
You might live in an area which, unbeknownst to you, houses wild birds which not only provide for the ecosystem but are simply gorgeous to look at. Installing owl boxes in your garden will attract mating owls to come and make nests in your garden. As the year goes by, you can watch these elusive birds raise their young – it feels amazing to truly be a part of something special.
Transforming your garden doesn’t have to be a bank-busting affair. With the right research and knowing your priorities, you can maximise your garden’s potential, giving you the relaxation space you deserve and adding value to your home along the way.
Attracting wildlife and growing your own food will all help the planet, aid your relaxation and educate you on the natural world the lives right outside your door.