Landscaping IDEAS on a Budget
Landscaping on a budget does not have to entail settling for a shabby-looking yard. From plants to patios, from window boxes to water features, learn how to save money while designing an attractive yard from the resources linked to below.
1. Save Money by Reducing Lawn Size
Many homeowners obsess over controlling lawn weeds, and their obsession drives them to spend money unnecessarily on weed killers such as crabgrass killers.
If they are successful in these witch-hunts against weeds, the result is a monoculture. But the experts, including Paul James of HGTV, counsel us to accept a certain percentage of weeds in the lawn. Their argument is that lawns with some diversity remain healthier than lawns reduced to a monoculture.
This argument goes doubly when the "weed" in question is clover, as I point out in my article on clover lawns. Clover is a nitrogen-fixer, sharing this ability with other cover crops in the pea family. Clover will fertilize your lawn at no cost, thereby freeing you from adhering to a lawn-fertilizing schedule, and saving you from spending money on chemical fertilizers.
Two questions may have popped into your mind at this point:
- How do I go about reducing the size of my lawn? I do not wish to spray harsh chemicals on the grass to kill it, because I want to be able to allow my children and/or pets to play in this area.
- After I reduce the size of my lawn, what do I put in place of the grass? Won't it cost just as much to maintain the area when something else is growing there?
In my full article on how to get rid of grass, I present a number of methods, with an emphasis on staying away from chemical herbicides. Perhaps the most popular method, currently, is laying down newspapers to kill the grass.
What you replace the grass with largely comes down to your personal preferences and circumstances. Those with Spartan tastes who live in a rural setting and are not interested in keeping up with the Joneses can simply lay down landscape fabric and cover it with the cheapest mulch they can find. Since the mulch will not be in contact with the soil, the process of decomposition will be slowed, yielding the money-saving result that you will not have to replace the mulch as often. If you want to dress up the area, there is no rule saying you cannot install a few container gardens there (as you would on a patio).
For those with more of a yen for plants, there are a number of possibilities, such as:
- A mixed planting bed of perennials, ornamental grasses and shrubs
To stay on budget, make it a point to buy plants when they are on sale and/or from retailers known to sell them at a discount (