Money-Saving DIY Landscaping TipsAugust 11, 2014 // Posted in:
Last Updated on August 11, 2014
Think of landscaping as the ultimate accessory for your home. The perfect balance of trees, shrubs and flowers can enhance your street appeal and welcome your friends and family to a showcase of beauty. Most often, however, this makeover comes with a hefty price tag. Traditionally, homeowners may expect to pay anywhere from 5% to 15% of their home’s value on landscaping (which is based on a median-home value of $213,000 in the U.S.), so could run you over $10,000 at the end of the day. To avoid breaking the bank, DIY landscape experts suggest following these tips to create a garden design that looks like it was done by professionals.
- Determine a landscape or garden design idea – Choosing the same variety of fast growing and border plants creates a unified look throughout your property and reduces the appearance of clutter. Creating a unified palette allows for more creative planting of beautiful flowers and flowering plants that add splashes of color to highlight your home. Buying smaller plants in bulk can save you money when buying the same variety. Don’t worry about the size, because depending on the species, they could double in size in two years. Buying plants at the end of the season can also save you money.
- Improve Your Soil – Investing in beautiful plants and flowers is money out the window if you’re planting them in unnourished soil. Experts agree that investing in good soil and Miracle-Gro® is the first step to creating a lush, healthy and flourishing landscape.
- Preserve What You Have and Work Around It – Homeowners may find they have a treasure growing in the yard (which may have gone unappreciated hidden under overgrowth). Prune and cut back any trees or foliage you can work around. It will not only save you money, but will preserve a part of the nostalgia associated with the home.
- Perennials – Planting perennials will save you the headache of replanting annuals every year. Perennials bloom every year and grow a strong root system, ensuring their survival during the harsh winter months. While annuals often provide more color variety, perennials (like hydrangeas, hostas or roses) can be very colorful and will require less maintenance.
- Hire Yourself – You can save money by doing as much of the work as possible yourself. A three-gallon bush can cost $15 if you purchase and plant it yourself. Hire a professional, and the cost just doubled for the same plant.
- Share Costs with Neighbors – If your land abuts your neighbor’s, plan what plants or foliage you want together and split the cost!
- Plant in Stages – Divide your project into phases and save money to pay as you go. In other words, break your yard into sections. For example, focus on the front areas that people can see first, then migrate to the backyard, and then save the furthest out, largest or hard-to-reach areas for last.
- Know Where to Plant – Roots love to travel and can damage concrete blocks, driveways, sidewalks and in-ground pools, so do your homework before putting a shovel in the ground. The rule of thumb (preferably a green one) is to plant large trees at least 30 feet from these areas.
- Watering – The latest EPA statistics reveal that outdoor water usage accounts for 20% of total home water usage. Try selecting plants that are drought-tolerant to save money on your water bill. Set your sprinklers to only run for a certain period of time.
- Mulch – Mulch is an inexpensive (an average of $2.50 a bag) and perfect way to give a brushed-up, tasteful look to your landscape design. Mulch comes in a variety of colors, including traditional red, contemporary beige and the more trendy black.
- Freebies – Check with your local city for free trees, mulch and compost. Some cities offer groups of neighbors large amounts of trees in exchange for planting and maintaining them. If you see that your neighbor has overgrowth of a particular plant in their yard, ask them if you could take a few – they might really appreciate it!