There’s always a way to reduce the costs of garden landscaping. For seating areas, a solid surface is essential, but elsewhere cheaper gravel, or even bark, will do. Both are easy to lay on landscape fabric to keep the weeds down, and you can break up a large area of gravel with oak sleepers or ground cover planting.
Gravel is, in fact, one of the cheapest materials for your garden, and you can learn how to lay gravel yourself. Barve explains, 'Gravel and good quality weed membrane can make a very usable and relatively cheap path or patio. You don’t need to have a hardcore base for lightly used areas. Just make sure the soil is compacted and reasonably level.'
Dry stacked stone or rendered blockwork costs less than ‘faced’ brickwork, while Western red cedar decking is cheaper than other decking timber, and works just as well.
'If you live in a red-brick property, for a harmonious look try dark greys or warm earthy tones, and steer away from buff or yellow. If you live in a limestone property, warm, similar-toned paving and chippings will ultimately look best,' says Paul Harvey-Brookes, RHS judge and award-winning garden designer.
'When planning paving, you can reduce the cost by infilling with gravel, and replacing natural stone with cast pavers can look equally as good and save money. You can often find similar materials at a fraction of the price and consider visiting building merchants or reclamation yards, too.'