5 Budget-Friendly Tips for Landscaping Your Outdoor Space

Budget landscaping doesn’t have to mean a cheap-looking yard. You can design an attractive yard while saving money on everything from plants to patios to window boxes and water features.

Reduce the size of your lawn to save money
Some homeowners are obsessed with controlling lawn weeds. They spend unnecessary money on weed-killers, such as crabgrass killers. They may be successful in their witch-hunts but the end result is an unhealthy monoculture.

Experts suggest that you accept a certain amount of weeds on your lawn. They argue that lawns with a little diversity are healthier than lawns reduced into a monoculture. Although crabgrass is not acceptable, you can tolerate some “good” weeds, like wild violets (Viola sororia). These violets not only look pretty, but they are also edible.

Clover (Trifolium) is another beneficial weed. It is a nitrogen fixer and shares this property with other cover crops from the pea family. Clover can fertilize your lawn for free, saving you money and allowing you to avoid a regular lawn fertilizing schedule.

You may be asking yourself two questions at this stage.

How can I reduce the size of my yard? I don’t want to use harsh chemicals to kill the grass because I would like to let my kids and/or pet play on this area.
What can I plant in the place of grass after I reduce the size? What if I replace the grass with something else? Will it still cost as much to maintain this area?
There are many ways to eliminate grass without using chemical herbicides. The most popular way to kill grass is by laying newspapers down.

It’s a matter of personal taste and circumstance as to what you choose to replace grass with. Landscape fabric can be used by those who have plain tastes, live in rural areas and don’t care about keeping up with their neighbors. They can then cover the landscape fabric with the cheapest available mulch. The mulch will decompose slower because it won’t come into direct contact with soil. This means you’ll save money by not having to replace it as often. There’s no rule that says you can’t install some container gardens in the area (as on a patio).

There are many options for those who have a greater interest in plants.

Mixed planting of ornamental grasses and shrubs with perennials
More of a classic border with flowers
If you want to stay within your budget, buy plants at discounted prices or from stores that are known for selling them. You should also be aware that some groundcovers will “fill in” the area on their own. Although it may seem bad for a gardener who insists on only growing well-behaved plant, this spreading could be exactly what you need if you want to cover a large area without spending a lot of money. Choose drought-resistant plants in order to save on watering.

There are many ways to save money on your plants once they’re in the ground.

It is better to water plants in the early morning hours of the day during summer than at the peak temperatures, so as to lose less moisture through evaporation.
Choose easy-to grow plants so you don’t waste money on pesticides or fertilizers (or in the worst case scenario, replace dead plants).
It is better to tolerate the odd hole in a leaf caused by a bug than buy insecticides.
Hardscape Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank
It’s not necessary to spend a fortune on water features in order to create a splash. Modern pumps and pond lines are easy to install and inexpensive for DIYers. You can build small waterfalls with a few stones and a little extra effort. You can find free stones on construction sites, if you ask permission. Or even on the land of your cousin in the country. You can also go a little more upscale by installing a clay pot fountain.

It’s not just water features that can be easy. Other hardscape projects are also easier than most beginners think. You just have to choose the path that offers the least amount of resistance.

Brick patios laid on sand, for example, are much easier to construct than concrete patios. It’s possible to avoid cutting bricks in most cases by planning well. This is a daunting task that has driven many homeowners to pay someone to build a patio. You can also lay your own stone pathways in sand, and save money by not hiring expensive professionals.

Small stones lining the stone walkway of a budget landscape

Landscaping On A Budget With Cheap Plants
To get cheap plants, we need to change our attitude. We grew up with gardening-specific sources. These plants are of high quality, but they come at a cost. We must avoid comparing apples with oranges when shopping for cheap plants from sources who are not gardening specialists.

In many cases, the quality of cheap flowers found in supermarkets is inferior to plants purchased at local nurseries. The plants are also cheaper, so it is unfair to compare them. You have to ask yourself,

Have I got the time to sort through all the cheap plants to find the best specimens?
Can I give these cheap plants extra care once I’ve planted the seeds?
Does the time and money I save justify the extra effort I put into selecting and caring for my products?
You’re on the right track to landscaping success on a tight budget if you answer these questions “yes.” You can create a yard with cheap plants that will look like it cost a lot of money, but only cost you a little. There are two cautions when buying cheap plants.

Bring someone with you who knows what to look out for when determining the health of a plant. You should at least inspect the plants to check for bugs or disease. Even if the plants are free, they won’t be worth taking home if they have bugs or diseases.
After planting your cheap plants, you should take care of them. Even for the best plants, this is good advice. In the case of cheaper plants, some extra care may be needed. If the plants were stressed in the store, for example, you might have to take extra care when watering.
The supermarket is just one example. eBay is an online equivalent. Bidding on eBay could allow you to get 10 plants for less than the cost of one. You may lose some of your plants. You still come out ahead. It’s all about changing your attitude. The National Arbor Day Foundation is a good source of trees online. They often run specials that include free gifts if you spend a certain amount.

In July and August, you can buy annuals on sale in nurseries to supplement your early purchases. It is a cheap way to extend the period of time that your yard will be adorned with vibrant blooms. Some supermarkets also put perennials and shrubs on sale towards the end of summer so they don’t have to worry about having too much inventory during winter.

Water Conservation is Important for Saving Money
Landscape design on a tight budget is more than just buying cheap plants. Water is becoming a more precious resource, so some plants need more water than others. Water bills are lower when you choose drought-tolerant perennials. “Xeriscaping” is a water-conversation strategy that includes selecting drought-tolerant plants. Installing automatic irrigation systems or mulch can help you save money by reducing the amount of water you use.

Budget landscape with decorative rocks and exposed irrigation pipe

Fertilizer for Free in Low-Cost Containers
If you have limited space, container gardening is a great idea. It makes more sense to use cheap containers that you can plant yourself. Yard sales often have inexpensive containers like cemetery logs that can be used as window boxes. Be sure to thoroughly clean them in case any disease is present.

You’ll have to fertilize plants, whether you plant them in the ground or containers. Don’t waste money on fertilizers if you can feed plants for free. You can do some serious landscaping on a tight budget by building a compost bin. Place kitchen scraps and raked leaves into the compost bin. You can add kitchen scraps, raked leaves, etc. to the compost bin. Water and mix it occasionally.

If that sounds like too much work, some cities offer free compost at designated locations on a first-come-first-served basis. The compost is made from the vegetation that city crews have removed.