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The promise of glorious spring weather is drawing closer, with flowers starting to bloom and lighter days to look forward to after a cold wet winter

Spring officially begins this month on Saturday 20th March and for many, the first spell of good weather turns our attention the garden. As we look ahead to warmer days, it’s the ideal time to transform an outdoor area to make sure you’re getting the most from it.

If, like many, you are trying to cut back on spending and be more mindful of purchases, then PriceRunner is here to help. The UK’s leading price and product comparison site have put together their expert guide of tips and tricks to help you save money in your garden this Spring.

Following a price analysis on thousands of products over the last 12 months, PriceRunner’s Consumer Expert, Christine Gouldthorp, reveals the best time to buy, what tools to invest in to get gardens looking their best, plus to tips to make the most of every square metre if you’re short on outdoor space…

Preparation is key 

If you have green fingers, you probably know that the best time to start preparing your flower bed, herb garden or other greenery is in the spring, where having the right tools make all the difference. We looked at more than 100 of the most popular garden tools, and if you need a shovel, wheelbarrow, pitchfork or perhaps a spade, January and February are the cheapest months to buy them. If you aren’t quite ready yet this year, then November is also a time when a lot of products reach their cheapest prices and go on sale for Black Friday.

Pressure washers put to the test   

Is your patio in need of a jet wash after a wet gloomy winter? With the right pressure washer, you can keep driveways, cars, and gardens clean. We have recently put pressure washers to the test, as part of PriceRunner’s independent product testing, focusing on various factors including performance, ease of use, design, and functionality. After scoring each pressure washer tested according to its value for money, the AVA Master P60 has been named the best in test for 2021, whilst the Husqvarna PW 235, was named the best budget choice, which has a long cord and plenty of power for its price class. Check out the full list of the Top 17 Best Pressure Washers on the Expert Reviews section of our website.

Weatherproof gardens for the Great British Summer   

Many of us will be planning to stay closer to home this summer and if you’ve got some private outdoor space, you’ll more than likely be wanting to make the most of it – especially if we can once again enjoy outdoor gatherings with family and friends. Awnings and canopies are a great addition to weatherproof gardens, but if you leave it until the summer months to buy one, you could end up paying over a third more compared to other times in the year. PriceRunner’s price comparison revealed that the cheapest time to buy the most popular ranges is November to February. You’ll pay premium prices from June to October.

If it isn’t broken, fix it

Had a look at your outdoor furniture recently, noticed that your natural wooden table and chairs are starting to look dullishly grey, or maybe you painted them years ago and that shabby chic look is just… Shabby? Furniture of natural materials ages like we do. But before you throw them away, try giving them a facelift first! Invest in a power grinder or sander and take off those old layers of wood or paint. You can save up to 40% on several popular brands, where March is the cheapest month of year to buy. Think of your wallet and the environment, improve what you already have in your home.

 Get set for summer in the gardens  

It’s one of the busiest times in the gardeners’ calendar with warmer weather bringing outdoor spaces back in bloom. If you’re one of the many of new gardeners who took up the hobby as a result of more time at home due to lockdown, you may be looking to build up your beginner’s tool kit. However, comparisons reveal that a number of popular tools go up in price in March and April, so you run the risk of spending more than in other months. You may still be able to grab a bargain if you’re quick, as several products with the biggest minimum and maximum price difference were at their cheapest in January and February.

BBQ season 

If you can resist or hold off upgrading your outdoor grill for now, PriceRunner comparisons show that October is the best time to get a great deal on a barbecue, as retailers clear out older models to make room for new one’s next spring.

Make the most of every square metre…

If you’re short on space, you may be more limited on how you can furnish, but there is still plenty that can be done to decorate a balcony and give it a homey feel. Here are our top tips for making the most of small outdoor spaces in the best possible way…

  1. Feet first – To make your balcony really cosy, you want to be able to go out there with bare feet. But if your balcony has a concrete floor, that can be rather chilly. The easiest and most comfortable solution is to find an attractive balcony carpet or outdoor rug. It can be difficult to find one that fits perfectly, but the carpet doesn’t have to be exactly the same size as the balcony. You can always buy a made to measure balcony carpet, but they’re often a bit more expensive. Natural colours and materials work well in a small space.
  2. Compact furniture – When you’re choosing the actual furniture for your balcony, it all depends on the size of the space and how you’re going to use it most. If you’re going to eat on your balcony often, a bistro table is a good idea. There are many different styles to choose from, including foldable options which work well if you want to use the space for other activities. For example, you might want the space to double up as a morning yoga or post run stretch spot, meaning you don’t want it out all the time.
  3. Cosy corner – Rather than trying to keep some space free, another option is to simply fill the whole space with one lounge set, then add comfy cushions and throws to create your very own cosy corner to relax and unwind. Add tea lights and festoon lighting to extend how much you can use the area in the evening, a quick way to create a Pinterest worthy spot.
  4. Get the details right – Just like you would inside your home, use accessories to soften what could otherwise be a very practical space. Decorate it with the right details and the easiest way to start is with textiles. Throws, blankets, and cushions will give your balcony a new lease of life. Just don’t forget to bring them in on wet days! If you have a large or medium-sized balcony, a patio storage box can be a useful solution. And if you cover it with a tablecloth, it can even act as a table if you have a small balcony. It’s also a good idea to have covers for your balcony furniture so it stays in good condition from one season to another.
  5. The cherry on the cake – lighting – The final detail to make your balcony really cosy is the lighting. Lanterns are perfect for holding candles on the balcony table or floor. They look great styled in groups of three or five. 
  6. For the green-fingered – If you live in a flat and want to grow things like tomatoes or courgettes, you’ll probably want one large pot on your balcony. But if you’d rather grow flowers you can scatter them around. If you want to save space, there are balcony pots and boxes you can hang from the railing. If you have a bit more room, you can put your pots on a shelf unit. And if you just want one pot on the table or hanging as a decorative detail, there are lots of attractive pots to choose from. Just make sure the pots are made of materials suitable for outdoor use. And don’t forget that pottery weighs a lot more than plastic, if you’re going to want to move your tomato plants around to give them maximum sunshine. 

Browse and compare thousands of stylish and practical items for your garden and more. With the ability to set up price alerts and check price history, becoming a savvy shopper has never been so simple. Find out more at Pricerunner.com