As any seasoned landscaper or gardener can tell you, a home’s landscape is more than just a few haphazardly placed trees and shrubs. It requires careful thought, planning, and research – not to mention hard work. Not only can well-designed landscaping increase the pleasure you derive from your dwelling, it can boost curb appeal if you need to sell your home.
Unfortunately, beautiful landscaping doesn’t usually come cheap. However, with a little planning, you can get a gorgeous outdoor setting with only a small upfront cost.
Beautiful & Inexpensive Landscaping Ideas
1. Choose Easy-Maintenance Ground Cover
A lush front lawn is as American as apple pie, but it’s not the most financially savvy choice you can make – particularly if you live in an arid climate or struggle to keep your grass green and weed-free. Many homeowners deal with patchy and weeded lawns simply by re-sodding the yard, but this can cost several thousand dollars. In fact, The National Gardening Association notes that fresh grass sod can cost 15 to 35 cents per square foot, and more than double that amount if professionally installed. Grass also requires a hefty amount of water, and may need fertilizer and weed treatments as well, all of which impact your bottom line.
On the other hand, an easy-maintenance ground cover is a great and cost-effective alternative to grass. Thyme, bishop’s weed, and lamium spread quickly over room-sized sections of a front and back lawn, and remain hearty through temperature and drought swings. Simply plant around 10 creeping ground cover plants (more if you want faster coverage or you’re dealing with an area larger than a bedroom) for between $5 and $10 each. They should quickly germinate and take over portions of your yard with beautiful leaves and flowers.
Not only can you save money on ground cover over sod, the maintenance is easier and less costly over time. Stick to portions of the yard that are hard to maintain, such as heavily shaded areas, side yards, and transitional spaces, to make sure your yard doesn’t look overrun by a forest of plants. Keep grass in sunny areas, if you’d like. And if you live in an extremely arid region, consider xeriscaping your yard.
2. Mix Soil With Homemade Compost
If you’re putting in a few flowers or plants, it’s tempting to load your shopping cart with bags of expensive potting soil. Certainly this is important to give your plants the nutrients they need, but you don’t have to do it with soil alone. You can cut your soil costs in half by making the most of your family’s leftover organic scraps. Mix a bag of potting soil with equal parts backyard compost for a nutrient-dense mixture that your plants should love.
Unfortunately, many people don’t have the time or energy to create and maintain a compost pile. As an alternative, you can still mix in discards such as coffee grounds and the clay- or mud-like dirt in your backyard to get more bang for your buck. It’s also possible to add mulch, which is nutritious for plants and slightly less expensive than potting soil.