5 MORE Tips For Landscaping On A Budget

by Ben Bowen

The last time I wrote on this blog about landscaping on a budget, it was 2013 (now updated). Since then that post has been one of my most popular, both on the website and Pinterest. I am a people pleaser so I am back to give you what you want: MORE ways to landscape your yard without spending a fortune.

Landscaping on A Budget (5 More Tips)

Budget friendly decomposed granite and juniper.

Budget friendly decomposed granite and juniper.

  1. Simplify Your Materials... not your dreams. You see this amazing patio on Houzz or Pinterest. After doing a little research you realize that a tumbled bluestone patio is just not in your budget. That's ok. Look for a good substitute, like a paver that mimics stone. Can't afford pavers right now? That's ok too. Compacted gravel or decomposed gravel will do the trick. Don't give up on a patio or walkway just because stone doesn't work for your bank account. And while stone requires a good amount of skill to lay properly, pavers and gravel can be mastered by anyone willing to do a little reading and a lot of heavy lifting.
  2. Start Small... with your plants. Many grasses and ground cover are available as flats of 4" size plants. Even at a retail nursery these will be 1/3 the price of a 1 gallon plant. And guess what, the plants mature to exactly the same size.
  3. Damaged Plants. Many nurseries have a dark corner where they stash plants that have been damaged. They might have a broken branch, be sun burned, or actually almost dead. These are often priced at 50% less than normal retail. In most cases these plants can be installed and expected to rebound into a very healthy plant.  Here are 5 great Portland area nurseries.
  4. Be Frugal... not cheap. Sometimes the savings just isn't worth the long-term cost. Plastic edging may seem like a good idea. But when was the last time a cheap plastic anything was the real answer? Steel edging is just slightly more expensive (and take a truck to haul) but will last so much longer. And yes, you could build a fence out of pallets, but it probably won't look like it does on Pinterest.
  5. Use Placeholders. You have a barren corner of yard, a plant wish list, but no money to make it happen? Toss down some wildflower seed and let it wait a year. Just because you can't afford what you really want doesn't doom you to having nothing. The gravel patio suggestion above could be viewed the same way. A gravel patio would be a great placeholder while you save for the stone patio of your dreams.

The key to a great garden on a budget is patience. It takes time for small plants to grow, restraint to use a placeholder, persistence to find great deals on damaged plants- but it can be worth it. 

What is your DIY landscaping secret weapon? Leave it in the comments below, I won't tell anyone.