Affordable Landscaping Ideas

Landscaping a yard is a great way to increase a home’s curb appeal. The standard amount spent on landscaping is between 5 and 15 percent of home value, which averages out to over $10,000 on the low end of the scale. It’s easy to spend thousands cultivating an idyllic lawn and garden. But a little ingenuity and patience will go a long way to keeping some green in your wallet, as well.

Below are some affordable landscaping ideas to beautify your yard without going into debt:

Avoid Costly Mistakes:

Really think about how you’re going to use your outdoor space. If you plan a water feature but are annoyed by the noise of babbling brooks, you’re going to spend more money ripping it out and replacing it with something else later.  Take the time to educate yourself and you’ll avoid common pitfalls such as planting a tree too close to your house.

Use What Is Already There:

Preserving existing plants and trees can help you save the cost, materials and resources needed to establish a new planting. Making note of where a yard seems to flood or catch the most sun can be helpful in planning for new plants, patios and play areas. The homeowner can avoid more expense by doing most or all of the work, instead of hiring a professional.

Buy Late in the Season:

Soil, mulch, trees and perennials are less costly when purchased near the end of the season when stores want them gone. In many areas, this is in the fall, which works well for getting plants established before summer comes again. Plants can be found at a discount by checking local gardening clubs, botanical centers and arboretums.

Make Compost:

Mulch and fertilizer can add a large amount to landscaping costs. Homeowners can make compost piles from scrap wood and chicken wire and fill them with a combination of food scraps and waste from the yard. With bags of compost going for at least five dollars at home improvement stores, this approach can be a real money saver.

Be Water Smart:

Landscaping can account for up to 20 percent of water use around the home. Watering a yard is more efficient when done in the early morning or early evening, when there will be less evaporation and strain on local water supplies.  According the Environmental Protection Agency, outdoor water use constitutes almost 20% of total home water use. Look for plants that are drought-tolerant to save on your water bill.

Phase the Yard:

Divide your plan into phases and pay as you go with funds on hand. You’ll save on loan or credit costs and be able to evaluate your progress and adjust plans before moving to the next phase. Splitting a landscaping job into affordable phases will allow the homeowner to avoid taking out loans or using credit to finance the project. This method provides room for evaluation and adjustments before each phase begins and costly mistakes can be avoided. Many lawn suppliers can offer free quotes so that you can assess what separate portions of your job may cost you. Don’t be afraid to ask vendors for help and ideas! Many nurseries are willing provide free advice on landscaping.

Taking on landscaping can seem complex and intimidating, but with proper planning and careful purchasing, a yard can be both beautiful and affordable.