Cheap DIY Gardening Hacks

cheap diy gardening hacks butterfly lavender

We know you want the garden to look it’s best in time for family BBQs and those relaxing summer evenings. But, naturally, you don’t want to break the bank buying expensive compost and weed killers. We’ve put together a list of cheap DIY gardening hacks that will have your garden looking lush without going over budget. Try these at home and watch your garden start blooming into life.

Plus, we’re giving you the chance to win a £30 Amazon voucher to help you get stuck into the gardening now the suns coming out. To enter, tell us one of your great gardening hacks in the comments below! This competition ends Friday 5th April at 12:00, so make sure you tell us your gardening tips in time!

Keep away the pests with household items

raw coffee beans

Don’t bother with nasty chemical mixes to keep away those slugs and snails. Use everyday household items like coffee grounds, grapefruits and eggshells for cheap, easy and eco-friendly solutions which discourage, but don’t kill pests. Scattering used coffee grounds in your flowerbed deters slugs and snails, as does putting grapefruit skins around your plants.

To use a grapefruit, cut it in half and place it upside down to protect your plants. You can also use crushed eggshells to keep the pests away as they will make the soil too rough for slugs and snails to navigate over.

As a bonus, eggshells will give your soil a nice calcium boost and coffee is an ideal fertiliser. Mix ground coffee beans and eggshells into your soil to give your plants a boost while keeping away those pesky pests.

coffee bean slug killer price comparison

grapefruit slug repellent price comparison savings

Try this Natural DIY Insect Repellent

garlic gloves

Keep insects and pests at bay with this simple, homemade insect repellent from Savoo’s very own Matt Jones, Content Manager and resident gardening enthusiast. It’s all-natural, made with a mixture of garlic, chillies, oil and a dash of washing-up liquid.

It couldn’t be easier to make. First, chop up two bulbs of garlic and three chillies. Put the garlic and chillies in a blender, add a cup of water, a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil and a little washing-up liquid to finish. Then just strain it into a squirty bottle using coffee filter paper.

Spray on the affected plants and vegetables to get rid of aphids, beetles and other annoying bugs that have been munching at your garden. Not only is it cheap and easy to make, but it also smells great and is chemical-free.

Alternatively, National Trust gardener Heloise Brooke recommends diluted Ecover washing-up liquid to kill aphids and other pests. If you’re buying it to wash your dishes with anyway, try spraying it on the garden as a handy multipurpose household essential.

homemade bug repellent price comparison

Kill weeds fast with vinegar

weed growing through concrete

As we discovered in our DIY Spring Cleaning Hacks blog, vinegar is an amazing, budget-friendly must-have for household chores. Not only can it clean just about everything, but it also acts as a natural, eco-friendly weed killer.

However, it’s such an effective weed killer it kills every plant it touches, so make sure you don’t use it on a windy day! Wait for a dry, sunny day and spray onto weeds; in just two or three days they’ll be gone! However, make sure you don’t spray too much as it could make the soil infertile – just a light spray will be more than enough to do the job.

If it’s an area where you never want weeds to grow, such as your path, a thick salt water solution will do the trick to keep the area clear. But be careful, nothing will ever grow there again, so make sure it doesn’t reach your flowerbeds!

vinegar weedkiller price comparison savings

Create your own DIY compost

homemade compost garden kitchen waste

It might sound like a lot of work, but in fact, making your own compost is as easy as can be. Put an old plastic bin in the garden and gradually add your household waste to make a rich and effective compost.

Add garden waste such as grass cuttings, weeds and prunings, as well as kitchen waste and leftovers like raw veg, used coffee granules, banana peels, apple cores, eggshells and teabags.

Give it an occasional mix and add some water now and again (or, even better, leave the lid a bit open to allow rainwater to filter in) and you’ll have a fantastic homemade compost. Add to your flowerbeds and your plants will look gorgeous and lush in no time.

Make your own budget watering can out of a carton

milk carton watering can


There’s no need to shell out for a watering can. Make your own out of an empty four-pint milk carton. All you have to do is carefully heat up a needle with a match and then poke the needle several times through the lid to make holes for the water to get through.

Fill the carton with water and screw the lid back on and there you have it – a DIY watering can. It’s super easy to make, will last for ages and barely costs a thing.

milk watering can savings

Attract butterflies with a homemade butterfly feeder

butterfly on flowers

Encourage more butterflies to your garden by making a quick and easy butterfly feeder with just a jar, string, a sponge and some sugar water. Simply whip up some butterfly food by mixing nine parts water and one part sugar and boil until the sugar has dissolved.

Next, make a small hole in the lid of your jar using a hammer and nail. Then cut a strip from your sponge and feed it through the hole so it has half on each side of the lid. Put your butterfly food into the jar and screw on the lid. Then use the string to hang the jar upside-down in the garden. Butterflies will come from far and wide, helping to pollinate your garden and keep it looking colourful and bright.


diy jar butterfly feeder

Keep your plants watered for longer

indoor potted flowers

If you’re a fan of indoor or potted plants but find yourself forgetting to water them, try rolling up some paper towels into a tight roll. Dip the ends in water and lay the roll beneath a row of potted plants (the kind with holes at the bottom). As the paper towels slowly absorb the water, they’ll spread it evenly over their surface for your plants to enjoy, so even if you forget to water them for a few days they’ll be kept happy.

Alternatively, put one end of the towel into the pot and the other end into a glass of water, so whether you’re on holiday or just forgetful your plants will stay green and well-fed.

Another great trick is to put a fresh nappy at the bottom of larger plant pots before adding the soil. They’ll help retain water to keep your plants looking fresher for even longer.

Create your own mini greenhouses

plastic bottle indoor plant greenhouses

Rather than throwing away your used plastic bottles, cut them in half and put them over your growing seedlings to create recycled mini greenhouses, protecting your seedlings from harsh weather conditions and pests.

Use eggshells or lemons as seedling starters

plants growing in eggshells

Got some new seedlings? Create a perfect, natural home for them with items from your everyday grocery shopping, such as eggshells or citrus peel. Simply crack the egg in half, drain, and poke a hole in the bottom for drainage. It’s the same process for citrus planters – just get a lemon or similar, cut it in half, empty the fruit bit so you’re left with just the peel and poke a hole in the bottom.

Add the soil and your seeds and water regularly. Not only do these cheap seedling pots give the seeds a nutrition and calcium boost, but they’re also biodegradable, so when your plants are ready to be moved outdoors you can plant them with their eggshell or citrus pot as well.

Bonus tip: For a better chance of your plants taking root, soak the seeds in warm water for 24 hours before planting them. This will encourage them to grow faster and stronger, meaning you’ll get your money’s worth.

seedling tray and egg price comparison

Reuse cooking water as a free fertiliser

boiling broccoli cooking

If you’ve been steaming some vegetables or boiling an egg, make sure you don’t throw the water away! Keep it until it’s cooled down and pour it onto your plants. The water will have soaked up nutrients from your veggies and eggs which will give the garden an added boost.


Have you got any gardening hacks we’ve missed? Let us know in the blog comments below to enter our competition to win a £30 Amazon Gift Card. Use your prize to treat yourself (and your garden) to some great new tools, bulbs and gardening goodies. Competition ends Friday 5th April at 12:00, so don’t miss out!

You’ll find even more fantastic gardening essentials for less by exploring Savoo’s home and garden vouchers. Happy gardening everyone, we can’t wait to hear all your gardening tips and tricks!

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  1. Annabella MacLaren

    11 months ago

    Use old tights cut across the legs as ties for plants on a trellis or support sticks. They are also great as a hair tie to keep hair out of your face while gardening.

  2. Davina M

    11 months ago

    I use cinnamon powder on seedlings – it prevents diseases!

  3. Justin

    11 months ago

    Buy all your gardening pots in the sales

  4. Sinead ORourke

    11 months ago

    Use your old plastic bottles to keep garden feed in so you dont need to make up feed each time.

  5. Mary heald

    11 months ago

    Cultivate friendships with neighbours enabling you to swap unwanted plants and gain some new.

  6. Helen Best

    11 months ago

    We buy plant pots and get my grandchildren to help decorate them and put peel down to stop the cats from coming in garden

  7. Pauline Allison

    11 months ago

    We always empty the hair from our hair brushes,and put outside,in our garden,for the Birds,to take,and use for their nests. My Mum taught me that one.

  8. Hayley Atkins

    11 months ago

    Plant onions next to carrots to confuse the carrot root fly!

  9. Catherine McAlinden

    11 months ago

    If you haven’t got a sprinkler, duck tape an empty drinks bottle to the hose, and poke holes in. My kids love it!

  10. Christine Hall

    11 months ago

    Share cutting and seeds with friends and family to grow. It keeps the pennies down

  11. Lynn Evans

    11 months ago

    Place Banana skins around the Roses for a Potassium boost, use Garlic to keep cats off the garden and Ivy makes a great feed as it keeps aphids and red spider mites at bay!

  12. Mo

    11 months ago

    When you have a shower, you may usually run the water for a couple of minutes for the water to warm up before getting in the shower. I use a bucket and save the water (that is run) to be used on plants in the garden.

  13. Lynn Evans

    11 months ago

    Banana skins around the Roses for the Potassium, use Garlic to keep cats off the garden and Ivy makes a great feed that prevents aphids and red spider mites.

  14. Emily Smith

    11 months ago

    When you boil or steam vegetables, don’t pour the water away. You can use it to water your patio plants. A bit of nutrition for them.

  15. Lesley Grant

    11 months ago

    I buy plants that are reduced because they are past their best. With a bit of care the following year they look amazing.

  16. Sally Rowland

    11 months ago

    These are all fantastic ideas and I’m going to try the milk bottle watering can as our current one has broken. We’re really striving to be more green at home and down our allotment so this year we are growing our seedlings in toilet/kitchen roll tubes. These usually go in the recycling bin but will decompose in the ground and save us using the plastic seed trays which don’t seem to last very long. We’ve also saved an old bath from going to landfill and are using it as a quirky water butt.

    1. Ellie S

      11 months ago

      Find a new use for old things! Things you no longer use can have a new lease of life out in the garden, as something completely new. Old welly boots, tyres, tin cans and colanders can all be repurposed as outdoor planters. A teapot can be fixed to a wall as a cute nest box for birds and a vintage teacup & saucer can be transformed into a quirky bird feeder.

    2. Claire Power

      11 months ago

      Use old vegetables to plant new ones saves money and means your not wasting the veg too win win

  17. Brenda

    11 months ago

    A great way to get more plants for free (especially house plants) is to just make a cutting. Put the stem in water until it roots, then plant it. And voila, a new plant!

  18. Hannah Igoe

    11 months ago

    Lemon juice and water to create a spray to stop the cats spraying in your garden

  19. Naomi Cearns

    11 months ago

    Don’t throw old apples away – they can easily be made into hanging bird feeders by attaching some string to the top and poking different seeds (sunflower and nyjer are our favourites) all around the soft apple. The birds love it and it makes an attractive addition to your garden (photo uploaded to your post on Twitter)

  20. abi parveen

    10 months ago

    You can make a trowel out of a milk bottle and old banana peels can be kept in water till they brown and the water added to soil as a fertilizer.

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