Use discarded items you find as unique planters... tires, rims, boots, wicker chairs, hard hats or buckets.
Recycle your yard waste and veggie scraps to create your compost pile. Add coffee grinds, egg shells, veggie scraps, leaves, and yard waste into a pile and stir every week. It is great exercise and in one year you will have saved money for not paying a gym for a good work out and for not having to purchase fertilizer/top soil for your new plants.
Also when you buy fresh foods at the farmers market save your seeds. Dry them on wax paper then store them in an envelope an freeze till next year and plant. Some will grow and not produce fruit but have pretty blooms others will prosper and give lots of produce, so either way it is free plants and possibly free food! Hey, who doesn't like that idea! I have five kids, what do you expect!?
Visit your rural mill or seed store, not a Lowe's or a nursery but a dirt on the floor, bags of horse feed stacked to the ceiling, cat sleeping on the counter kind of mill. Place a wanted ad on their board and you will be surprised at how many local farmers have plants or seeds they are willing to share or sell for a reasonable price. We got several mature raspberry plants for $4.00 total, normally a start costs $5.00 each at Lowe's.
The best thing we ever did to save money was to go to a home and garden show and take lots of pictures of all the expensive things we were wanting. Then we went home and with mostly scrap wood, fencing, iron, and whatnots, we were able to spend less than $75 and created an enchanted patio space instead of hiring the work out and spending $2000. Now that kind of saving is worth forfeiting a Saturday and working up a little sweat.
By Hoffmann House Network
Hiring a professional planner isn't in your budget? No worries. Consult with friends, family, and local garden centers, or look in books and magazines and at your library for free plans and ideas. Drive around your community, or take a stroll around your neighborhood to get ideas. Pay close attention to yards and gardens with a grade and exposure similar to yours. Work at your own pace so you can spread out the cost of the work. Prioritize your tasks. You don't have to get the whole landscaping project done in a single day, week, month-or even a single season.
If there are no alternatives to an expensive part of your project, reevaluate how important it is to your overall plan. For example, if you skip the pond, maybe you could afford to buy the outdoor furniture you want.
Watch for sales. Nurseries and garden centers tend to offer specials around the summer holidays, especially Mother's Day, Memorial Day, and Labor Day. This is the perfect time to pick up bargain priced trees, plants, as well as other decorative landscaping materials. Garage sales and estate sales are other great places to look for decorative elements.
Plant trees to give your landscape instant structure and draw attention away from portions of your plan that remain unfinished. Shrubs fill in even faster than trees and can be purchased in smaller sizes to save money.
Start with smaller perennial plants, trees, and shrubs. They are usually much cheaper, so if you suffer a few losses, your budget will be able to absorb the replacement costs. Then use annuals to fill in the gaps until your new landscaping gets going. A couple of flats of colorful bedding petunias are usually enough for full-season color.
By Ellen Brown
An easy way to maintain a yard is to plant low maintenance, quick spreading plants that fill the spaces with green. The ultimate goal of landscaping is to avoid maintenance. By growing plants that fill a space, weeding is significantly lessened. An area that is planted with black-eyed-susans will quickly fill in with dense plants that choke out any weed seedlings. Likewise, herbs like mint take over flower beds quickly, covering the entire ground with growth. The trick to dealing with these possibly invasive plants is to plant them in areas that need to be taken over. Don't plant mint and expect to grow marigolds next to it; it will invade every inch of growing space in a few growing seasons.
For those shady areas that refuse to grow grass or any other planting, opt for something positively invasive like ivy. English ivy will crawl and cover the ground easily in shady areas. The only maintenance it needs is trimming to prevent it from crawling up tree trunks. Not much will grow at the base of a maple tree, but ivy will fill in the area beautifully while requiring very little care. Crawling vinca works similarly in sunny locations.
Borders are important ways to keep plantings and landscaping materials in check. However, edging, weeding, and repairs can be eliminated without the border. If you're growing a ground cover planting like ivy or vinca, all you'll need to do at the border is cut close with the lawn mower. This will keep a nice clean line at the edge of growth with very little cost and effort.
Try to create a natural and easily maintained border where one is needed. Natural rocks found throughout the yard can be lined to create a simple and sturdy border. When cutting the lawn, cut as closely to the rocks as possible. When they slide, slide them back. They won't break, erode, or corrode. The most they'll do is attract a few stray grass stems between them and possibly migrate a bit in spring.
Mulch is a great groundcover that provides a clean look around plants. However, it breaks down over time requiring not only maintenance but money to replace. Skip the yearly mulching in large areas and look into landscaping stone. River stone and other products like it cost around $50 for each cubic yard. This is a significant initial purchase, but when the stone is still in place and blocking weeds three years from now, the benefit will be apparent. Eventually new stone might need to be added, but it will certainly last longer than bark mulch and it will discourage a variety of pests from moving in.
By Kelly Ann Butterbaugh