Gardens that don’t break the bank

THIS SPRING, ECONOMIC uncertainty is the prevailing theme as homeowners decide how to maximize limited budgets for home improvement projects.

“Trends this year reflect the need for cost-efficient gardening that makes the most of hard- earned dollars,” says Mark Cullen, Home Hardware’s gardening expert and a television personality.

“The focus will be on integrating native and indigenous plants into gardens as homeowners look for robust plants that do not need a lot of maintenance.

“Water conservation will also be a top priority,” Cullen continues, “as homeowners search for ways to save money.”

By following Cullen’s five favourite tips for economical gardening, you can create a flourishing garden without taking out a second mortgage on your home.

• Save on water bills by using mulch to keep soil moist, capturing rainfall in water barrels and placing seeping hoses in your garden to uniformly soak the soil.

For best results, place seeping hoses beneath a layer of mulch to further reduce moisture loss.

•    Focus on native plants to increase natural biodiversity cycles.

Native plants are typically less expensive, survive local weather conditions and reduce maintenance fees due to a tolerance to insects.

• Cultivate seeds to grow your own annuals, vegetables and herbs for a decorative flair and a practical approach.

• Invest wisely and improve your yard and garden so you can relax in your own outdoor retreat instead of spending on costly summer vacations.

• Select garden tools that work, and protect your tools from the elements so that you don’t have to buy new tools each year.

Post City Magazines’ gardening expert Mark Cullen is the author of 18 books. He is a regular on Canada AM and gardening adviser for Home Hardware.

Article exclusive to TRNTO