Landscaping can be pricey, but there are ways to lessen the expense if you put in a bit of extra effort and some ingenuity. Whether you’re a homeowner trying not to break the bank or a renter trying not to invest too much in a temporary space, there’s a budget-friendly landscape option for you!
Below you’ll find some of our favorite tips, but one of the most important things you can do when you’re on a budget is to start with a landscaping plan. Having a clear idea for your yard will let you:
- keep an eye out for deals
- focus on what’s most important within your budget
- think through how you want to use your yard throughout the year
- sprout inexpensive seeds in plenty of time for planting
With a little planning and a handful of these tips, you’ll be able to keep your yard looking sharp without hiring a landscape professional.
Here are our favorite budget landscaping ideas.
Budget Landscaping Tips
1. Choose plants with bright colored blooms for big impact.
Flowering plants with big, bright blooms help fill space and draw the eye in. Look for colors that complement or offset the shades of your home’s siding or stucco.
2. Collect rocks and use them to edge the garden
Rather than buying brick or other garden border materials, find stones for free and use them to create an attractive divider between the garden and the lawn or line a pathway. You can also repurpose the stone, brick, or gravel you already have in your yard in new and interesting ways.
3. Instead of buying 5 plants, buy one and divide it.
Divide plants, like hostas, lilies or other bulbs, and spread them throughout your yard. You’ll save money by turning one plant into several. Dividing plants is pretty easy and the perfect project for beginners; just dig up the entire plant, making sure to keep the root-ball intact. Then carefully split up the roots and stems until you have separated the plant into several chunks. Each group can be re-planted, and should continue to grow if watered and maintained appropriately. Read more here.
4. Ask a neighbor for rose-bush cuttings
Skip the garden center and ask your neighbor if you can take a few cuttings from their rose bushes. Then use this tutorial from Amateur Gardening to learn how to easily propagate roses.
5. Turn kitchen refuse into compost to improve garden soil quality
Learn to compost! Put garden and kitchen waste to good use and help add important nutrients back into the topsoil. Learn more about composting here.
6. Buy evergreen seedlings instead of larger potted trees.
Seedlings will take a bit longer to grow and require patience and planning ahead, but they’re much less expensive. This is also an affordable way to go when planting privacy shrubs.
7. Upcycle old materials.
Use this tutorial from Foxy Folksy to find out how to make a raised garden bed out of a couple of old wooden pallets. We’ve seen loads of great cheap landscaping ideas using all sorts of up-cycled items in the garden:
- Planting in old tires
- Using old window to build a greenhouse
- Livestock tanks as raised bed
- Milk jugs to shelter seedlings
- Egg crates to sprout seeds
- Coffee cans as bee hotels
- Broken ceramics as mosaics
8. Trade resources with friends and neighbors
Tool sharing is a gray way to save money. Rent a wood chippers or soil aerator, and split the costs with friends. You can also split seed packs, plant packs, and more.
9. Buy pots and planters used or on sale.
Yard sales, flea markets, NextDoor, and Craigslist are all great resources for finding really affordable pots and plant containers.
10. Construct a rain barrel to collect rain to water your garden and lawn.
11. Add some color by painting rocks, bricks, or landscaping pavers.
You know how sometimes you just get tired of looking at boring, plain, red bricks? Well, guess what? Other people do to! Which is why those materials can often be found for cheap, or free. But with a fresh coat of paint, you can turn them into something special.
Try painting river rocks white for a clean, modern-looking ground cover option. Or add pops of bright color to an old brick wall.
12. Use pallets for cheap stepping stones
Wood shipping pallets can be found for free almost anytime (or bought for cheap). Look for them by the side of the road, or at warehouse loading docks (make sure to ask before you take them; usually people will be happy to let you have them). These wood structures are built to be used outside, and can easily be turned into simple pathways (as above) or other outdoor landscaping features.
13. Add lighting elements
Simple, carefully-placed lighting can make even the most ordinary yard look amazing. And the best thing? Lights have gotten really affordable over the last few years, thanks in part to the advancement of LED technology. In many cases, you may not even need additional electrical wiring, because LEDs use such little electricity that they can be solar powered. Try a rope light along the edge of a garden, or spot lights to feature large plants or trees. Adding lighting is a small project that adds a lot to any outdoor space.
14. Start the process early and grow plants from seed
Seeds are very budget-friendly compared to plants at the nursery. Plan ahead and sprout all of your favorite garden vegetables and flowers from seed. While the process is time-consuming, it’s an easy way to grow a lot with just a little!
15. Go with perennials instead of annuals
Perennials last much longer than annuals, hence the names. Even so, I always get the two confused. Annuals only last one season and need to be replaced year after year. While the perennials may cost a bit more, but they’ll be with you for the long term.
16. Get the mulch pile instead of the fancy blow-in mulch
Many cities (lookin’ at you Portland, OR!) offer free much to residents. Mulch is a great way to keep weeds under control and your yard looking sharp. The only catch is the city usually leaves it in a big pile in your driveway and it’s up to you to spread it around your yard. This service can save you hundreds, even thousands, on much services. So get that wheelbarrow out and reach out to your city tree services department for the details.
In conclusion, landscaping can be an expensive venture, but it doesn’t have to be. By using some of the tips mentioned in this post, you can transform your outdoor space on a budget. Whether you opt for low-maintenance plants, repurpose materials, or tackle some DIY projects, you can achieve a beautiful and functional outdoor oasis without breaking the bank. With a little creativity and effort, you can make your landscaping dreams a reality. So don’t let a tight budget hold you back from creating a space you love to spend time in. Get started today and enjoy the fruits of your labor all year round.