Budget Bonsai

Hi guys! By now you’ve realised on this site that I love to make things at a low budget and one thing I know that are expensive are Japanese Bonsai trees.

Most Bonsai’s that are established will cost you over a $100! Screw that! I decided to make one myself and if you have the patience you can can create one from scratch that you will nurture and shape over time the way you like it.

Here’s what I did:

Places like Masters have their own little Japanese garden section but if you do your research on what tree you want to grow then you should have no problem finding it in one of their stores.

I chose to grow a Juniper, just a personal preference for me but another great tree to grow is an Elk.

You can find these baby plants for a low price of $6. You then need a tray for your plant, I happened to have found mine on clearance and it was a traditional style Japanese rectangular pot for only $3!

Position the tree how you want in your pot, plant it with top grade soil and some mushroom compost for moisture.

I added in a smooth pebble for decoration, you can usually just find these in someones garden. You can choose to just have the tree if you wish.

Next your going to want to use small pebbles or sand to cover over the soil for that decorative look.
I chose to use decorative sand which you can find at your local Bunnings for $4 a bag. (And yes this time I paid for sand rather than taking it from the beach like my last projects as it is apparently illegal, now you tell me)

And there you have it, your very own Bonsai that you can grow from scratch, which in my opinion is a lot more satisfying when you do it yourself.

Bonsai store: $100 – $150

Dave’s price: $13






Budget Japanese Zen Garden

Hi guys! I’m gonna show you how to create your own Japanese zen garden at a budget cost. Generally Japanese garden are very expensive to create costing you thousands! I say forget that! Lets do it the tightass way!

Firstly you need a decide where you want to create this. I chose to take a space from my existing lawn 2m x 2m which gives you enough space to plant a tree and decorate with some surroundings.

Dig up the grass and to scale and make sure to get a piece of wood at the size you require (mine was 2m) so that you have a barrier to separate the grass from the garden.

Next you need to buy some weed matting which you can buy from Masters or Bunnings. Depending on the size you need this will roughly cost about $5. Thus by laying this down you will eliminate the grass and weeds to shoot through once u put your rocks down.

Next you need to pick out what plants and rocks you require. If you’re not fussed about the size of the tree then you can buy it smaller as you will save some money. I chose to use a Robinia tree which grows quite fast and has a beautiful green look to it which I love. I purchased one for $30 at a local nursery. Chris & Marie’s plant farm is a great place to start as they buy in bulk and sell at great prices. Feel free to do your research on what trees look great. Japanese maple is the most Japanese you can get for your garden but they can be expensive so it’s up to you on how much you want to pay.

Next you require rocks which symbolise the earth. Most people pay for big rocks. Seriously it’s stupid to pay so the tightass way to do it is find new housing developments being built as there is always construction materials like rocks and discarded wood lying around that will be thrown out anyway.

You need some smaller plants to surround the rocks. The ones I chose are Arcadia which u can find at Bunnings for $11 each and scelanthus which is a moss crawling plant and they were $2.50 each.

After you laid down the weed mat, cut out a hole large enough to plant your tree, rocks and other plants.

Once completed you need rocks to finish it off. It took me ages to find the ones I needed as I wanted rocks small enough to be able to make patterns with (as per traditional zen gardens)
I found a great nursery in Hoppers Crossing that sold them for $56 per cubic meter, but you won’t require that much so only get half of that. The rock size I used is 7mm.

Top it off with a nice decorative Japanese statue to give it that final touch. I got my ceramic statue from Bunnings for $10 as opposed to $185 from most nurseries.

Like I said a garden like this usually costs over $1000, Dave’s price just under $150.









Home-made Solar Sun Jars

Here is an idea on how to make your own sun jars. Courtesy of Maria Blampied! She was nice enough to share here cool design on my website and its definitely worth making.

You can buy a sun jar for $30 or more in the shops or online. I’ve seen them as high as $60 online not including shipping.

You can use the small $2 “essentials” solar garden lights which are sold separately from target, buy $2 jars with flip lids from the reject shop and Ikea. Lids need to be big enough to fit the solar light underneath.

Can of frosting paint cost about $10 from bunnings but can be used to frost 4 or 5 jars. Best to frost the outside instead of inside as it dries better, looks prettier and is more even. Frost 2-3 coats. But don’t frost the lid bc it needs to remain clear for the solar panel to work effectively! Take apart the solar lights from the stake. You can screw off the panel, battery and wires from the aluminum housing but keeping it is also fine if it fits to the lid.

Gaffer taped the solar panel and guts to the inside of the lid or you can super glue it if you prefer, either way is fine as long as the glue doesnt touch the panel. Wipe any paint residue from the top of the lid just to be sure and keep it in the sun indoors on a window sill.

You’ve got yourself a snazzy sun jar on the cheap and easy! Makes a great gift and a nice decorative element to the backyard.



Home-made Mini Lantern

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My home made mini lanterns for my back porch are complete. Retail price at $65 each I manage to make 2 for the price of $29.

Lantern cans $2 each (which you can find from Masters, just take the can from the bamboo sticks, you can re-use the bamboo for your local plants)

Ceramic pot $9 each & black rocks $7.

Time to complete only 15mins.

Add some citronella to the cans at a low cost of $5 for 500ml