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Landscaping On a Budget: Inexpensive Doesn’t Mean Unattractive

June 30 2008

Bought a fixer-upper that you are turning around both inside and out? Looking for an effective and inexpensive way to look after your landscaping design needs while fooling those who see your home into thinking you’ve broken the bank? Here are some key considerations for keeping your landscaping costs from running out of control.

Flowers and Gardening tools


Once you’ve established your budget, start considering your needs for your landscaping project. Don’t be too concerned if your plan looks a little sparse at first; it’ll take time for your yard and plants to fill in. Expect to see impressive results by the second year. If you are willing to be patient, spacing your plants out will save money.


While many homeowners obsess about their lawns, the truth is that these green areas can be kept more effectively and inexpensively than many consider. For the most part, homeowners cut their lawns too short. By cutting lawns at 2 inches and above, root structure will be stronger and the result is a lawn that is more resistant to weeds and needs fewer costly treatments to look great. If you are starting from scratch, seeding your lawn areas is far less expensive than more costly sod.

Flower beds

Perennial flowers are often slightly more expensive, but over time, prove to be a more cost effective way of filling flowerbeds. Try combining perennials with a mixture of smaller shrubs that work well with the sunlight/shade and soil composition in your yard. Your local gardening center can help you decide which plants are right for the particular space in your garden.

Make sure you have sketched out a rough plan with dimensions and compass points when visiting the garden center. Sun exposure plays a key role in determining their suggestions and your success. When you have finished planting, draw a garden map marking down where and what you have planted. This is a nice feature to have when selling your home as it allows potential purchasers the opportunity to identify the plants in the garden.

Make sure you keep a record of your purchases (most garden centers will guarantee their perennials for a period of up to two years) and keep in mind that many perennials are often sold cheaper later in the season. Be sure and check with your local garden center for deals and after season planting tips.

Avoid concrete

While the pros often work with expensive and messy concrete, DIY types can utilize sand to create walkways and patios. Careful planning will eliminate the need to cut many bricks or stones.

Less water means less money

Depending on where you live, the cost of watering your lawn and garden can cost a fortune – especially if your landscaping needs excessive amounts of water. This can be avoided by taking the “xeriscaping” approach to landscaping, which leads to the use of drought-tolerant plants.

Look for opportunities

Plant sales, especially at the end of season, are a good way of picking up perennials inexpensively. Additionally, keep your eyes open for plant swaps and other opportunities to acquire plants for your project.

Less can mean more

If you are planning on selling your house, you can add inexpensive shrubs and a lot of mulch. This will look attractive, but is a cheap way of disguising any landscaping shortcomings. Potential buyers will find it attractive and will likely want to put their own personal landscaping design in place.

Think Local

Local quarries can provide decorative crushed rock at a fraction of the cost typically associated with traditional landscaping and garden shops. It may be cheaper, but it usually looks great and can cover a large area for little money.