Cheap Landscaping Ideas

How to use inexpensive landscaping ideas to make your yard look great on any budget
Flagstone and Gravel Walkway

Mediterranean Walkway

Succulents and beach grass line the pathway of a Mediterranean style patio. Flagstone and gravel walkways are very low maintenance.

Photo by: Warwick P Hunt

Warwick P Hunt

Landscaping on a tiny budget can be difficult, but not impossible.

First, determine how much money you have to spend. Next, decide where and how to spend it. 

Ask questions. Are you improving an existing landscape design or starting from scratch with a whole new look? Are you landscaping a front or back yard or your entire property? How much maintenance will be required once you install your landscaping (and have you budgeted for that)? Or are you choosing one small area or project such as installing a few beds with edging or building a vegetable garden in a raised bed? Answering these questions will help you determine which materials and plants you’ll need and should also help you prioritize your spending (i.e. do you really need to sod your yard with zoysia when seeding it with fescue will do?).

Make simple improvements to your existing landscaping. This is probably the most effective way to get a new look without overspending. Take a photo of your front yard, back yard or other space you’d like to landscape. Which part of the yard looks the best – and why? Which part looks the worst? Examine the worst parts and make a list of priorities. Is the grass dead or full of weeds? Are the flowerbeds neatly edged or messy? Are trees and shrubs trimmed appropriately? Perhaps your money would be better spent making small adjustments to your landscaping rather than installing additional plants. Consult a pro for an estimate to determine just how far your money will go.

Choose plants that give you more bang for your buck. A boxwood hedge may seem a tad boring, but this evergreen could provide the clean lines your yard needs. Knockout roses brim with brightly colored blooms but are virtually maintenance free and work almost anywhere in a yard. Annuals can be costly and require replacement seasonally, whereas many beautiful perennials can be planted or started from blubs or clippings. Ask friends with hostas and irises to give you pieces of their plants to get your flower garden started for free.

A few more tips: Time your purchases so that you don’t have to install everything at once, especially with big-ticket items such as trees. Considering buying young plants in small pots instead of mature plants in larger pots – they can cost up to three times as much! And don’t forget that maintenance can add up, too. Before you purchase plants that require constant care, decided whether or not you have the time or money to care for them.

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