5 Tips For Landscaping On A Budget

by Ben Bowen

Everyone has a budget. Even if you don't know how much you want to spend on landscaping, you probably know how much you won't spend.  If you are a DIY-er then you will need some tricks of the trade to keep your budget in line.

Landscape Design On A Budget

Lake Oswego landscaping on a budget.

Lake Oswego landscaping on a budget.

You probably have a vision in your head of the perfect landscape.  Making that vision a reality may not be easy though.  What if your budget just doesn’t have room for a new yard right now?  Should you give up on the dream?

Absolutely not!  Here are three ideas that will help you improve your garden with almost any budget.

1. Use What You Have. Look around at your existing landscape and take an inventory. How many plants do you have?  What varieties? Transplant some of your existing plants to high impact areas of your yard.  Bringing plants together to form groupings maximizes their impact. You may find that your garden brings more to the table than you expected!

2. Shop Like A Pro. Where do local landscapers buy plants? I can tell you where they don’t- the retail nursery or big box store down the street. Google “wholesale nursery [your city]” to locate the places the landscapers are going. While many wholesale nurseries will not sell to the public, some will.  Many have one day a month when they allow anyone to come and shop. Expect to pay around half of retail for plants at a wholesale nursery. That really adds up! Here are 5 great Portland nurseries to get you started.

3. Like Eating An Elephant. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Divide your property up into “small bites”- manageable areas that you can focus on one at a time. If you are new to landscaping you might tackle a less conspicuous area first. Once you have your style nailed, move on to the focal point portions of your garden. Get started now. You will be surprised how quickly your landscape can come together!

So, don’t give up on your dream garden. Get out a piece of paper, a pencil, and start sketching your ideas. Take stock of what you already have, buy where the landscapers buy, and tackle one small area at a time. Your hands will get dirty and your back might be sore. But when you are done your dream garden will be a reality! 

Bonus Tips:

4. Boulders! Boulders cost between $60 and $80 a  ton.  Even with a delivery fee, it's hard to find a more economical way to impact your landscape. Set 3-5 boulders, in groupings, and your landscape will be on it's way to greatness. Get some pointers for setting boulders here.

5. Seed Your Lawn. I understand the appeal of sod- instant lawn! But applying seed should save you a bunch of money and time. Yes, you will need to do it at the right time of year and pay close attention to it for a couple of weeks, but the end result is EXACTLY the same. Here in Portland you can buy JB seed at many home improvement and garden centers.  JB is the largest sod grower in the NW, so your lawn will match everyone else in the neighborhood's- if that matters to you.

Want Even More Tips? 5 MORE Ways To Landscape on A Budget.