Low-Budget Landscape Ideas
Keep the green in your yard and in your pocket.
Whole books have been devoted to the concept of low-budget landscaping, but it all boils down to two things: common sense and following the plan Mother Nature put in place.
"My mother always told me the best way to keep a house clean is not to mess it up in the first place," says Lee Garrard RLA/ASLA, co-owner of MedicineWheel Land Planning in Athens, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina. "If you don't mess up the land, you don’t have to invest a lot of money to repair it. Nature provides us with everything we need to work with the land instead of against it."
Here are a few inexpensive and easy ways to help you grow—not spend—a lot of green.
Don’t just stand there and look pretty: Give your yard a job! “Apportion part of your property to raising food for you and your family,” says Lee Garrard RLA/ASLA, co-owner of MedicineWheel Land Planning in Athens, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina. “They’re inexpensive to cultivate and you’ll be surprised how well they supplement your refrigerator. “
The most cost effective way to landscape is to do it yourself, but don’t think of it as a chore. “Dedicating time to maintaining and improving your landscape can bring about great results you can see, and some you can’t,” Garrard says. “Stress levels tend to taper off when you engage in the therapeutic practice of gardening.”
Develop a Crush on Rubble
Pervious paving is a great alternative to hardscape and costs 20-30% less. Using plantation mix, gravel, pebbles or the sandshell mix in this photo looks natural and allows rainwater to percolate back into the earth instead of creating runoff that has to be collected by expensive drains and pipes.
It's a Draw!
Before you head to the nursery, take the time to sketch out a plan. “You do not need to be an artist or a landscape designer to do this,” Garrard says. “It doesn’t even need to be a pretty graphic. A well thought out strategy will help omit errors and minimize time and money spent re-doing your work.”
Al Fresco Accommodations
Birdbaths and houses aren’t just for looks. “Providing dependable water and shelter sources encourages wildlife to work with you,” Garrard says. Birds help pollinate and help with pest control. You can also incorporate plants that attract hummingbirds and butterflies for pollination and consider a bat box to offset garden pests as well. “A bat can eat over 1,000 insects a night,” Garrard says.