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15 Ways to Brighten Up Your Garden on a Budget

15 Ways to Brighten Up Your Garden on a Budget

Is your garden lacking color, depth, and excitement? If you are looking to transform your backyard into a personalized space that will impress on a budget, try one or many of these simple projects.

1. Pallet Herb Garden

Pallets can be found all over and are literally thrown away by businesses everyday. A great way to recycle old pallets is to attach terra cotta pots to them and make them into a rustic pallet herb garden. Be sure to research whether the type of herbs you want to grow require a lot of sun or prefer shade and plan accordingly. Creativity is your best friend, design your pallet garden any way you see fit.

Herb Garden in a pallet

    2. Bird Bath/Garden Planter

    Take the simplicity of painted terra cotta pots, add all the excitement of a bird bath, and what you’re left with is a beautiful bird bath planter.  If you want your feathered friends to return to your garden time and time again make sure you are regularly cleaning the bird bath.

    Tutorial: http://www.homestoriesatoz.com/outdoor/diy-garden-planter-birds-bath.html

    Clay pots stacked with birdbath

      3. DIY Pallet Bench Garden Project

      Scrap lumber is more useful than you think. Use either 2x4s or deconstructed pallets to make this simple yet wonderfully colorful bench. Simplicity rules, and anyone who walks by won’t help but notice your artsy homemade garden bench.

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      Garden Bench Multi-Colored

        4. Flowerpot Wind Chime

        If wind chimes are you style, you can avoid buying a new one and make your own. Follow these simple instructions to make an amazing flowerpot wind chime.

        Tutorial: http://houseofjoyfulnoise.com/terracotta-flower-pot-wind-chime-tutorial/

        Wind Chime

          5. Chandelier Planter

          What’s that old clunky looking chandelier in your garage up to? Short answer: nothing! So why not turn it into a gorgeous chandelier planter? Use clay pots in place of the light fixtures and be sure to attach the pots with a strong adhesive. These planters will look great anywhere including your garden, porch, or even inside your home if you so desire.

          Tutorial: http://diyshowoff.com/2013/06/11/chandelier-planter-tutorial-2/2/

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          Chandelier

            6. Hummingbird Feeder

            Hummingbirds are one of the most fascinating species of birds. They are colorful, animated creatures that are as exciting to watch as they are beautiful. I’ve owned many of these feeders and by far the best design and most naturally appealing to hummingbirds seems to be the hummerbar style feeder. This design uses a large tube with plastic flowers as access points to hummingbirds favorite food: nectar! The hummerbar style hummingbird feeders start at about $20, so whether you decide to buy one or make your own, it won’t break the bank.

            Hummingbird hummerbar feeder

              7. Recycled Chair Garden Planter

              My next door neighbor once saw me throwing out a wooden chair that had the bottom broken out of it. He gave me this same idea and my homemade chair planter quickly became my favorite things on my front porch.

              Pot Chair

                8. Clay Pot Rain Chain

                With summer on the brain, rain is probably the last thing on your mind. Attaching small clay pots to your rain chains makes them stand out as unique and creative.

                rainpots

                  9. Recycled Wood Pallet Garden Path

                  Yet another use for wood pallets is to take them apart and use the lumber to create a path. Consider staining the boards first, or even using this idea to create a small bridge for your garden or back yard.

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                  Recycled Wooden Path

                    10. Clay Pot Lighthouses

                    This idea for your garden is simple enough, but it may require some artistic abilities. Glue terra cotta pots together and once they dry paint them like a lighthouse. Whether you live on coast or anywhere else this project brings a little bit of ocean air to your garden.

                    Tutorial: http://www.ehow.com/how_4882573_make-clay-pot-lighthouse.html

                    Clay Pot Lighthouse

                      11. Seashell Encrusted Clay Pot

                      Following suit with the light house clay pots, these seashell clay pots are awesome. Simply choose a clay pot, gather or buy some interesting sea shells, and attach them with a high power adhesive. Try planting succulents or tropical plants in these customized clay pots.

                      Seashell Pot

                        12. Stump Planters

                        Stumps or old abandoned logs are everywhere. As long as they aren’t rotten they will make great planters. Try filing them with summery flowers or even aromatic herbs!

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                        Tutorial: http://www.listotic.com/creative-garden-container-ideas/9/

                        Stump Planters

                          13. Decorative Mushrooms Made With Terra Cotta Pots

                          Bordering the line of folk-art, mushroom themed clay pots are frankly the most fun portion of this list. Try using bright colored paint combinations and use the pots as the mushroom stem, drain trays as the mushroom caps. Garden gnomes unite!

                          Clay Pot Mushrooms

                            14. Succulent Wreath

                            Succulents are one of the easiest types of plants to take care of. Start by creating a ring of moss (Spanish moss is my favorite), and add in succulents. Although traditional wreaths are only for the holidays, these succulent wreaths are pretty timeless.

                            succulentwreath

                              15. Clay Pot Planter Wall

                              Construct a basic wooden frame and use either chicken wire or large screen material as the backing. Attach some clay pots and go wild! Use as many as you think are suitable and fill them with the bright plants of your choice.

                              Pot Wall

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                                Robert Parmer

                                Freelance Writer

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                                Published on September 17, 2018

                                How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

                                How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

                                Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

                                With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

                                So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

                                1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

                                It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

                                You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

                                So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

                                2. When you want something big, wait

                                Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

                                It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

                                We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

                                A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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                                So, you get the itch.

                                You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

                                Here’s where you have to take a step back.

                                Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

                                Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

                                It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

                                The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

                                3. Live smaller than you can afford

                                You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

                                You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

                                That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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                                Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

                                Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

                                The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

                                But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

                                4. Practice smart grocery shopping

                                Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

                                But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

                                Create a grocery budget

                                Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

                                Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

                                I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

                                Make a list… and never deviate

                                Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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                                You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

                                These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

                                Eat before going grocery shopping

                                It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

                                If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

                                After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

                                Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

                                However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

                                This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

                                5. Cancel your gym membership

                                Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

                                The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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                                Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

                                I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

                                Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

                                Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

                                For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

                                Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

                                There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

                                It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

                                I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

                                Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

                                The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

                                Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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