by PHU Bortnowski

The 14 best (and worst) garden investments

April Kennedy April Kennedy
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Garden lovers tend to be the kind of people who aren't overly obsessed with money. This may be a good character trait, but it's one that can easily get you in trouble once you start pouring your love into a garden and getting excited about all the potential of building up your outdoor space. So what garden investments are really worth your money—and time? Well, today we will steer well away from the mass-produced decorations and hone in on the features that will really pay off over time. So whether you have a tiny urban garden or a slightly more generously proportioned green space, come with us to explore the best garden investments!

1. Good idea—paving and platforms

  by PHU Bortnowski

Pavers, platforms or wooden decks are an extremely good investment for the garden. They don't necessarily need to take up much room and they should never become the prime focus in the garden - that's what the plants are for! But they will have a dramatic impact on how often you actually use this precious space.

2. Bad idea—high maintenance plants that require special supplements

For some of us, there is something appealing about the idea of tending to an exotic plant that requires special nutrients. But unless you are in the well-established habit of gardening regularly, it's often a waste of money to indulge in a rare, if beautiful plant species that will often flounder with inexpert care.

3. Good idea—privacy structures

  by PHU Bortnowski

Privacy is another element that will have a dramatic impact on how often you use your garden. A garden wall, tall plants and other barriers are all good garden investments to make.

4. Bad idea—hard-wired lighting fixtures

 Garden  by Lampenwelt.de

There is absolutely no reason to waste money on hard-wired lighting fixtures in the garden. Your garden has all the benefit of natural light, so spend a little extra on some solar lamps. They are generally portable too.

5. Good idea—hardy dense shrubs

Dense and hardy shrubs are the hardy little worker bees in the garden. They will generally survive hardy conditions and can often survive under the shade of other, more attention grabbing plants. Best of all, they can often grow within the crevices of stones like this.

6. Bad idea—heavy and high maintenance water features

 Garden  by Damla Şelale

The sound of running water is surely one of the most pleasant features in a small garden. But it's likely to get stressful if the water feature is overly clunky, heavy and cheap. Get something simple that is easy to maintain otherwise you'll just end up with an eyesore that's too heavy to move.

7. Good idea—evergreen plants that keep your garden looking vibrant year-round

South-east Asia has the luxury of lots of plant species that thrive year-round. But it still pays to take note of the growing cycles of your plants. Evergreens are the best because they will always look good.

8. Bad idea—gardening newbies should avoid attempting to grow plants from seed

There is something magical about growing a plant from seed. But countless gardeners have wasted a lot of money by underestimating just how much time and care it takes to do this successfully with a lot of plants. Small saplings are a much better alternative.

9. Good idea—garden shade

 Garden  by Tende Ravini

Any kind of shading is an excellent investment in the garden. It will encourage you to use the space and could even turn the garden into an extension of your living area.

10. Bad idea—commercial pesticides

Mass-produced commercial pesticides may be cheap, but they do a huge amount of damage to the environment. There is also scarce research on the long term implications of having these chemicals around our homes. This is definitely a bad investment when it comes to your health.

11. Good idea—a durable classic grill

 Garden  by La Hacienda

An outdoor grill is—yet again—another item that will draw you to use the garden as an extension of your living space. They can get quite costly, but even the smallest and simplest unit is worth the investment.

12. Bad idea—mass-produced garden decorations

Mass-produced garden decorations can sometimes have a certain appeal. But they tend to look dated and cheap very quickly. Think a little differently and search outside the usual sources for your garden decorations. Markets and second-hand furniture stores are a good place to start.

13. Good idea—hire a professional

Good garden designs don't happen overnight. They usually come together as a result of lots of experimentation. This can easily get expensive when you are a novice. Perhaps you could invest in a landscape architect for the initial set-up.

14. Bad idea—non-weatherproof outdoor furniture

Last but not least is the non-weatherproof garden furniture. It is an absolute waste of money! Paint will peel, lacquer crack and everything will look tacky and old in no time. Avoid it!

Come and have a look at how one couple transformed their outdoor area here…  They built their home entrance (and it's beautiful!)

Which is your most prized garden investment?
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