Easy and Cheap Landscaping Ideas

Repeat after me: “I will not pay a needless markup for garden supplies!”  “I will not settle for weeds and empty garden beds!”  “I deserve an attractive and unique outdoor space!”   “By golly, I will stick to my budget this year!”  “I will be happy doing it!”  “All I need is a plan!”

Let’s get started

How big and elaborate is your garden going to be

The size of your garden is going to determine how much it’s ultimately going to cost to design.

Think about the overall feel of the landscape that you want to design.  Do you want to grow a small fairy garden, or do you want to grow most of your own vegetables this summer?  The cost of building a small flower bed in front of your house is going to be significantly less than if you are turning most of your backyard into a cottage-style garden with stone paths, gazebos, and hard-to-find cutting flowers.

Assemble your budget in order of priority

Landscaping on a budget doesn’t have to mean growing crabgrass and dandelions.  What it does mean is that you are going to have to watch what you spend.  The best way to start is to think about what you really want, and put that at the top of the list.  For example, if you really love growing hibiscus, make sure that goes on the top of the list.  Ask yourself how tall you really want your raised beds.  Do you really want the bed frame to be cedar, or will a plastic resin do the trick?

Don’t forget the necessities                              

Also be sure that you put the non-fun stuff into your budget near the top.  Lawn fertilizer is not one of the things that gets me drooling at the first sign of spring.  In fact, it is one of those things that will usually never even get budgeted.  But it needs to.  It’s indispensable. Things like compost, fertilizer, gas for the lawn mower, a rototiller, and new gardening tools should be budgeted early.  Are you going to have to call in a landscaper to prune your oak tree?

Start planning early

Get started early!!!  Towards the end of fall, if you can.

Most retailers will offer steep discounts on things like containers, paving stones, bird feeders,  and simple hand tools.  The sooner you start, the longer you have to go bargain hunting!

But…why limit yourself when bargain hunting?

Think outside the Garden Center

Small garden statues, fountains, fish ponds, extra bags of wood mulch – you name it – at some point people get rid of just about everything.  Check thrift stores, garage sales, and Craigslist.

On my local Craigslist someone is selling a 14” urn-shaped fountain with a working pump for $5.  Plant petunias around it and you have an interesting round flower bed for around seven dollars (if you start from seed).

When people retire and downsize, they often don’t have a need for garden hoses, trowels, or weed whackers any more. Garage sales are great places to look for these things.

Do it yourself landscaping ideas

Whatever you can start from seed, start it yourself.  Grass seed is far less expensive than sod.  Annual flowers cost pennies on the dollar when you start the seeds at home.  Plus, it gives you the added advantage of having more options for your garden.  You’ll almost never see black hollyhock for sale at the garden store…but most seed catalogs list it.

If you have woodworking tools, go ahead and build your own containers or stepping bridge.

If you are willing to pour concrete, you can make your own stepping stones.

Get crafty!  If you know how to paint, go ahead and make your own garden signs and labels.   Or gussy up a tired birdhouse.

And finally, why not DIY your compost?  Start a compost pile.  Toss grass clippings, raked leaves, and kitchen scraps onto the pile.  By next year, you’ll have no need to buy mulch, liquid fertilizer, or new top soil.

Edible Landscaping Ideas

Since food prices are creeping ever higher it might be time to consider growing an edible landscape.  There are tons of options for edible landscapes – plants and trees that are both attractive in the garden and tasty in the kitchen.  Rather than planting ornamental pear trees…why not just plant a pear trees?  Switch out coleus for a colorful leaf lettuce.  How about a line of raspberry bushes along the fence instead of privet?

 

Sample Landscaping ideas budget

Compost — $18 for a whole garden’s worth at a local farm store

New tools — $25 total for trowel, snippers, shovel and garden claw

Landscaping fabric — $7 on super sale at a discount warehouse

Seeds — $8 for twenty-five packets total (most left over from last year)

Watering can — $0 for and old container with some holes drilled into it

Stepping stones — $12 bag of Quikrete

Vegetable stakes — $0 to collect strong branches from pruned trees

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