Make your garden grow money

There are limitless ways to profit from your patch, from selling excess garden veggies at farmers’ markets to keeping chickens for customers who want the freshest eggs.

Naturally, many such enterprises take a fair bit of effort and time. But if you have neither of these resources to spare, there are other fuss-free options that will have you making money from your backyard just as effectively. Here are just five, no-trouble ways to capitalise on your real estate.

Micro veggie patch
Now that eating organically grown vegetables is no longer a novelty, sustainability diehards are embracing heirloom produce. And there is dosh to be made by growing seedlings for those who hanker after these special vegetables.

For just $5 you can buy a packet of heirloom seeds from any of dozens of businesses selling them online. The range of veggies or herbs is huge.

Buy some cheap seedling trays and potting mix from Bunnings or eBay, then plant and water them, and before you know it you will be watching your money grow as you sell the little seedlings for a huge mark up to your initial outlay.

Beekeeping
A report last year by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences estimated that medium-sized beekeeping enterprises, those with at least 200 hives, produced about $70,000 of income a year.

If having to deal with swarms of buzzing insects is not your cup of tea, you can still make ‘money for jam’ … or should that be honey … by hiring out part of your backyard to professional beekeepers. They come and tend the hives and extract the liquid amber so that you don’t have to lift a finger, except to count the cash at the end of the month.

You will need the blessing of your neighbours and local council first, though. To discover if there are beekeepers looking for space, visit the online service directory page of The Australasian Beekeeper for a list of apiary clubs in your area that you can contact.

Rent the shed
With hoards of Aussies downsizing from larger homes and those opting for apartment living, storage space can be a huge issue.

Enter a slew of self-storage companies offering consumers who do not want to part with their possessions a variety of flexible solutions.

Take a leaf out of their book, clear some space in your shed or garage and offer to store other people’s knick knacks for a fee. You can advertise your space online at sites such as Gumtree or stick a handwritten ad on the notice boards of your local supermarkets, libraries and other venues.

Lease the garage
As urban areas become more densely populated, car parking spaces can command a premium.

If you have an empty garage that you are willing to lease out to neighbours who need the parking space, it won’t be long before you have takers. There are sites such as parkhound.com.au that act as a platform so that you can be securely matched with a needy car owner.

Your garage can also be put to other uses. If it contains shelving and bench space, it could be ideal for a handyman or artisan who needs the space to practise their craft and securely store their tools and materials.

If it is well lit, preferably with natural sunlight, it may also suit artists looking for a studio.

Share your garden
If your garden has that something special, you may find that some people and companies could want to borrow it for events, camping or even as a set in a movie.

Wedding and other event venues are not cheap. Even those in garden settings can set a young couple back thousands of dollars. Come to their rescue by offering a budget venue in your beautiful garden.

You can choose to hire basic furniture for their guests and charge a margin, or allow the wedding planner to take on that job.

Hire a couple of mobile toilets and you don’t even need to let the guests step into your home.

If you have a fairly large backyard and live near a scenic tourist spot popular with backpackers, you may wish to provide a ‘camping ground’ on your property.

Whether it is charmingly designed or hauntingly derelict, your backyard could have enough interest to catch a filmmaker’s eye. Producers of commercials, infomercials, training videos and so on, are hungry for locations.

You can list your garden on sites such as bighouse.com.au or Australian Film Locations and not only rake in some money, but also make your backyard famous.

Would you have the courage to share your backyard with strangers in order to make money? Do you know of other ways to ‘milk’ your backyard using minimal effort?

Written by Olga Galacho

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