Landscaping on a budget can be tricky, but it’s not impossible. With some creativity and ingenuity, you can make your yard, garden, and patio look great – without breaking the bank. Here are some tips to help you get started landscaping on a budget. From inexpensive plant options to creative DIY projects, these suggestions will help you spruce up your outdoor space and give your yard and garden new life!
Budget-friendly landscaping tips
Source free mulch
Check with your local landscaping suppliers or tree trimming companies to see if they have any free mulch or landscaping material that you can use in your yard. You may also be able to get a discount by buying in bulk. Though it may not be the highest quality, free mulch is usually all you need for your front or backyard garden beds and is a great way to get your landscaping costs down.
Mulch adds a nice visual appeal to landscaping beds and can help keep weeds out of your garden, making it one of the most affordable, attractive, and practical ways to spruce up your landscaping.
Grow well tip: Unlike mulch bags from the store, you’ll usually have to load and unload the bulk mulch yourself. You’ll need a truck with a tarp to line the bed, a wheelbarrow, a few pitchforks, and some helping hands to make the process go smoothly!
Perennial plants are a great way to add lasting beauty and color to your landscaping without spending too much. They can come back year after year and require minimal upkeep, so you won’t have to spend as much on landscaping each season. Planting perennials is also an eco-friendly landscaping option since you won’t have to buy new plants each year.
Pro tip: Visit your local nursery or big-box store in the fall after the growing season is over. Many of their perennials will be on sale since they’re usually brown and dormant for the winter. However, if you water them over the winter in their pots or get them in the ground before it freezes, you’ll get to enjoy new growth in the spring!
Use crushed stone or bulk rocks
Call up local construction companies to ask about any rock they need disposed of. They’ll likely be more than happy for you to come cart off some of their rubble and excess rock. You can also try putting a post out on Facebook marketplace or another social media site that you’re looking for landscaping rocks and willing to pick them up in exchange for helping to get rid of the material.
Or, if you don’t want to scrounge up free rock material, check with local landscape companies to see what their bulk prices are. Most of the time, buying in bulk is cheaper than buying individual rocks or bags of gravel so you should always check these options first.
Once you have your landscaping rocks, you can use them to create pathways and add texture to your garden beds. You can also place individual stones as a border around landscaping beds or spread out some crushed stone as ground cover between plants. Rock will last much longer than mulch and is a great option if you don’t have a ton of plants to work around.
Add a coat of paint
Painting outdoor furniture and landscaping features can instantly transform your space without spending a lot of money. A fresh coat of paint in cheerful colors will make your landscaping look more vibrant and inviting.
If you have the time, painting fences, decorative rocks, planters, birdhouses, and other landscaping elements can really spruce up your yard on a budget.
Grow native plants
Native landscaping plants are an easy and attractive way to spruce up your landscaping without breaking the bank. They require less water and maintenance, cheaper to maintain than exotic plants. Native plants also attract local wildlife like birds, bees, and butterflies which can add a fun element to your landscaping.
You can visit your local nursery or landscaping company and ask them what native plants they have in stock. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you could try propagating your own native plants from cuttings or seeds to save even more money.
Grow flowers from seed or bulbs
If you want to add some bright and cheerful flowers to your landscaping but are on a tight budget, try buying seeds instead of plants. Seeds are usually much cheaper than purchasing individual plants and can give you the same vibrant look with a fraction of the cost.
Alternatively, you can purchase bulbs like tulips and daffodils from your local garden store for a low cost. Planting these in the fall gives you a great head start for bright spring blooms.
Grow well tip: If you want to add some color to your landscaping without spending too much, try planting county fair-style flowers like zinnias and marigolds. These varieties are easy to grow from seed and yield a lot of blooms in vibrant colors.
Get creative with DIY projects
One of the best ways to landscape on a budget is to get creative with DIY projects. With just a few tools and some elbow grease, you can create amazing landscaping features like garden beds, water gardens, outdoor furniture, and more! You can make birdbaths and wind chimes out of items found at the dollar store, and create stepping stones with old dishes or tiles.
If you need inspiration for landscaping ideas, there are plenty of online resources available. You can also check out YouTube for landscaping tutorials, or browse through magazines and websites for landscaping ideas that you could recreate on your own.
If you want some fun (and affordable) DIY container gardening projects, check out my book, The Backyard Harvest. It has 50 projects to help you beautify your outdoor living space and exercise your creative muscles.
Use what you have
Landscaping on a budget doesn’t mean you have to purchase all new materials. Instead, use what you already have and just give it an update. Reuse old items like furniture and planters by giving them new life with a few nails or screws and some imagination.
You can even repurpose everyday items like pallets and rain barrels for landscaping projects. For example, you could create a raised bed for your garden with an old pallet, or use a rain barrel to collect water for irrigation. Upcycling is a great way to reduce waste, save money, and add some personality to your landscaping.
Add a water feature
Water features like fountains and ponds can add a touch of tranquility to your landscaping. These water features can be purchased for a low cost at discount stores, or you could even make one yourself with repurposed items or secondhand materials.
You can also add a water feature to your landscaping on a budget by creating a DIY container pond. All you need is a large plastic or metal container, some aquatic plants, and small pump for the water movement.
Further Reading: 9 Creative Landscaping Themes for Your Yard
No matter what your budget is, landscaping can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience with the right knowledge and resources. With these tips you should be able to create a beautiful outdoor space that will be the talk of the town — without hiring a pricey landscaper!