In need of motivation to finally get around to sprucing up your garden? You may be inspired to get your gardening gloves on when you learn that doing so could actually help save you money.
From well-positioned trees to grouping plants together to save on water, there are a whole host of ways a bit of clever gardening could actually help save you money on your household bills.
"These gardening tips are a small way we can help cut down our energy bills throughout the year, while enjoying and adding value to our outdoor space," says Ian Henderson, managing director of Boiler Plan.
Here's how to utilise your garden to save £££s on your bills...
Simply positioning your trees correctly could help save up 25% on your energy bills. If you are lucky enough to have a large tree in your garden, you could be saving money without realising it thanks to it acting as a natural windbreaker.
Well-positioned trees reduce the wind and divert the air above your home, meaning you are less likely to turn on your heating in the winter.
"Those same trees provide that much-needed shade during the summer months - it's around three to six degrees cooler in tree-shaded areas, leaving you less likely to turn on fans or air conditioning and save on your energy bills," says Henderson.
Having a tall fence
Much like trees, a large fence can act as a windbreaker around your property meaning you’re less likely to feel the draft and reach for the thermostat.
While the average a fence can cost around £1,000 to build, depending on your garden size, they can add up to 20% to your home's value.
Keep your garden fridge out of direct sunlight
Between February 2021 and March 2021 searches for “garden bar” increased by 80%, with people desperate to create welcoming spaces to entertain outdoor guests.
Invested in a garden fridge to keep your summer drinks cool? Just like your fridges and freezers indoors, outside fridges should be kept away from sunlight. That's because the heat causes the fridge to work harder and therefore costs more money.
Watch: How to make DIY egg planters.
Choose an electric heater
Given we've only been allowed to meet our friends and family outside (until 17 May), it's somewhat unsurprising that “garden heater” searches increased by 192% between February 2021 and March 2021.
Before you begin plans for your next summer soirée, it's worth considering an electric heater instead of gas. "An electric heater costs around 15% of what it would cost to run a gas heater," explains Henderson.
Of course, if you would like to go even more green, the most environmentally friendly way you can heat up your outside space is to stock up on blankets.
Use LED garden lights
Twinkly garden lighting will help to set the mood, adding an atmospheric feel to any outdoor space. Whether you're considering an on-trend string of festoon lights or a stunning fairy light curtain, it's worth opting for LED.
Estimated to use 80% less energy, they are ideal for keeping bills down while still providing a stylish garden backdrop.
Better still, solar lights powered by the sun won't use any electricity.
Put in a porch
As well as improving home security and aesthetics, a porch can also act as insulation around your home, stopping the heat from escaping.
Plus it can also provide some much-needed extra storage for the shoes, coats, bag and jackets that are always hanging around your hall, freeing up space elsewhere in the home.
Group plants based on their water needs
When planning your garden, it's worth considering grouping together plants that need the same amount of water, as well as those that grow quicker.
Typically plants need around 3-4 inches of water around the plant stem, but you could be using more water than necessary if you haven’t grouped them by their watering needs.
Julie Power, gardening expert from Blooming Native, says: “Sowing a mixture of seeds will produce a diverse succession of different species, blooming at different stages throughout the summer so that you can keep the watering to a concentrated area.”
Power also suggests reusing your washing up water for plants and flowers. “When washing the dishes, rinse first with water (no soap) and save the water, use this water to water the flowers - this will be a more sustainable and economic use of water.
"Another good way is to sow your seeds before rainfall - saving on water after initially planting,” she adds.
Opt for drought-tolerant plants
Reduce your water bills by opting for drought-tolerant plants that can survive on less water. Amazingly, some perennials and shrubs require less watering (and grow back each year), making them an easier option for those who want to get started with their garden, or who want to save money on buying fewer plants.