Personal Finance

How To DIY Landscape

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 10 minute read

You undoubtedly have fantasized about the perfect yard design at some point if you have one. However, many people put off starting landscaping projects because of the associated expenditures.

Landscaping doesn’t have to break the bank, whether you’re looking to boost curb appeal, add some usable space to your yard, or create your own little botanical sanctuary. You can have the backyard of your dreams without breaking the bank with little planning and ingenuity.

Tips for Saving Money on Outdoor Living

A professional landscaper is unnecessary to create a lovely outdoor space. Simply getting your hands filthy is required. There are a number of ways in which homeowners may save down on landscaping expenditures, such as by planting perennials or creating their own compost.

  1. Select a Use for Your Space

The way your outdoor area is landscaped is dependent on its intended purpose. Make a choice on what you want your landscape to emphasize.

Having a strategy for your yard’s utilization can help you stick to your financial limits by preventing you from buying needless items. As an added bonus, it shows you where you may make cuts and what will be the biggest expenses, such as laying sod or constructing a ground-level deck.

  1. Make Use of Your Yard

Stop wishing for a different yard and start working with the one you have. The expense of having huge, naturally existing rocks and boulders removed from a yard is only one example. Instead than shelling out money for removal, try designing around them with a rock garden or an eye-catching focal point utilizing flowers and mulch.

More extensive yard work comes at a higher price. It may be rather costly to remove trees, level the ground, or move large rocks. Make the most of what you have in your yard rather than trying to change it.

  1. Recycle any existing wooden fencing or decking.

Wooden decking and fence should be recycled whenever possible.

  • Repairing or replacing broken or damaged boards
  • Pressure cleaning weathered wood and chipped paint
  • Scrubbing everything clean
  • Painting or staining and applying a waterproof sealant
  • Keeping it up year after year

Going to a hardware shop like Home Depot to pick up a pressure washer and some sealer would likely be far more cost-effective than hiring a professional to tear down and rebuild your outside structure.

  1. Consider the climate and your needs when selecting fence and deck materials.

There are instances when it just isn’t worth it to try and save your wooden fence or deck. In the long run, you may save money when replacing or rebuilding a fence, deck, or patio if you use materials that are appropriate for your region.

Wooden buildings, for instance, are more prone to decay and frequent repairs in hot and humid climates because they are continually subjected to the sun and rain, both of which can cause irreparable damage over time.

Brick, concrete, composites, vinyl, and metal are all choices with longer lifespans that should be considered. Think about the money you’ll save in the long run on repairs and replacement by using a different material than wood.

  1. Utilize Natural Elements

Instead of spending a lot of money on store-bought pavers and edging, you may use pebbles and stones that you find instead. Tree stumps may be used as seating or tables, and natural mulch such as grass clippings, shredded leaves, or pine needles can be used to beautify your gardens.

All of these things will make your yard look more natural and rustic without breaking the bank. Get rocks for free from sites like new subdivisions and internet classifieds like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. Make usable items from fallen trees. For no cost mulch, just dump your lawn mower’s bag.

  1. Make a Beautiful Lawn

You’ll need to invest in some time and effort if your grass is thin or if weeds have taken over your yard. However, you may revive your lawn without shelling out hundreds of dollars to a professional gardener. Weeds can be eliminated either by hand or using a lawn-safe weed killer.

You may bring back a lawn that has died or is thin by reseeding it. It may be grown more quickly and with less difficulty by applying a high-quality fertilizer that also discourages the spread of weeds.

The USDA plant hardiness zone is a measure of a region’s climatic conditions (such as heat and humidity) that helps gardeners assess the possibility of a plant’s growth and survival. Just make sure it’s a match for your soil type and zone.

It is far easier to discover plants and materials appropriate for your zone at a local home improvement store or garden center than it would be to track them down online. Also, if you need help finding items that will work in your soil, don’t hesitate to approach a salesperson for advice.

It takes a lot of time and work to grow fresh grass if your lawn is too far gone to save it. The process is removing the existing turf, replacing it with landscaping fabric and dirt, and then either seeding the area or laying down squares or strips of pre-grown grass (also known as sod).

Hiring a landscaper to complete the job for you is an option, but you may save a lot of money if you tackle the project yourself. Sod can cost anywhere from $0.35 to $0.85 per square foot, on average, depending on the grass variety and the cost of sod in your location, as reported by Angi (previously Angie’s List). You may also have to rent tools and supplies, such as machinery for grading the grass and landscaping materials like fertilizer and landscape fabric.

The average rate charged by a gardener is $1 to $2 per square foot. So, you may save hundreds of dollars by doing it yourself. Still, it might be that the benefits don’t justify the cost.

It takes about 40 hours of effort, Angi adds, despite Home Depot claims it just takes two to four hours. If you try to save money by skimping on grass care, you can end up spending more in the long term. If you are unsure of your skills, it may be more cost-effective to hire a professional. Compare the prices of hiring experts against those of doing it yourself.

Whether you want a front yard with curb appeal or a backyard retreat, restoring your grass to its former glory is essential.

After you finish your landscaping, however, it is important to keep up with its upkeep. Neglecting your grass has the same long-term financial effects as neglecting your other front- and back-yard landscaping. Your lawn will progressively deteriorate every year if you don’t take care of the yearly maintenance it requires. Avoid costly and time-consuming repairs by keeping up with your lawn’s mowing, aerating, fertilizing, and watering.

  1. The Landscaping Of Native Plants

Plants that are native to your area are adapted to the climate and soil conditions there. Plants that are native to your area have a better chance of surviving in your climate and soil, making them easier to care for and maintain.

The usage of fertilizers, pesticides, and water may add up quickly, but by sticking to a garden’s natural species you can cut down on those expenses while still having a good crop. It’s especially helpful for amateur gardeners since it can keep them from wasting money on plants that won’t thrive in their environment (because of things like climate or soil type) or that would require excessive care.

Furthermore, they serve as a magnet for local avian, insect, and mammalian fauna by providing safe haven and food sources that are native to your area. To locate native plants, either consult the Native Plant Database or visit a nursery in your area.

  1. Plant Annuals

While annuals only show their beauty for a single growing season, perennials keep on giving year after year. Bulbs like crocuses, daffodils, and irises are examples of perennials that bloom every year in the spring. Herbs, ground cover, fruit bushes, and vegetables are all examples of perennials.

Annuals and biennials need to be replaced every year, while perennials can last for decades with proper care. They spread rapidly, allowing you to harvest new plants and bulbs for use elsewhere in your garden or to barter with friends and family.

  1. Planting from Seeds

Planting from seed instead of purchasing existing plants and sprouts is a lot cheaper if you’re producing a garden or flowers, but it needs more work on your side. If you want to grow your own basil, you can expect to pay anywhere from $5 to $15 for a single plant, but a packet of basil seeds will only set you back between $1 and $3. However, the time it takes for seeds to germinate varies greatly, from a few days to a few weeks.

Seeds can be planted outdoors at the beginning of the appropriate growth season, or started inside in a controlled environment.

Starter trays, a grow lamp, and a growth media are just some of the items that will need to be purchased before you can begin growing indoors. In contrast, several of these instruments are durable enough to be used year after year, eliminating the need to constantly replenish your supply.

You may put them in the ground or a planter outside with only a little dirt and a little bit of space.

  1. Create Your Own Garden B

Planting flower beds and vegetable gardens is an easy weekend gardening job. An entirely new garden need not be difficult or expensive to create. As natural edging, you can use flower beds or planters around trees or features, or you might establish a small herb or veggie garden in an underutilized part of your yard. Container gardens and elevated flower beds are two common choices.

It’s possible to save a lot of money by building your own planting beds instead of purchasing them ready-made, depending on the price of timber and whether or not you can use scraps of wood or containers you already have lying about the house. They are also far more cost-effective than having someone else construct them. This is especially the case if all you need is a straightforward container in which to grow your vegetables or a barrier to prevent the spread of your flowers.

In this essay on frugal gardening, we discuss the benefits of utilizing recycled materials and reused containers as plant beds.

  1. Participate in (or Begin) a Plant Swap

Whether they are decorative grasses, succulents, flowers, herbs, or vegetables, plants are likely a part of your landscape strategy. Unfortunately, plant prices vary, unless you participate in or begin a community plant swap or seed exchange.

Gardeners and plant aficionados in a certain area get together to swap seeds and young plants that they’ve grown beyond their needs. So long as you have some cuttings, seeds, or existing plants of your own to barter with, they provide a free way to diversify your garden. 

Public libraries often provide free services other than books, and seed swaps are a popular option. You’ll be able to network with other garden enthusiasts, some of whom may be able to assist you save money and have a more fruitful garden by sharing gardening and landscaping suggestions.

  1. Purchase Trees Late in the Season

Trees, especially during the height of gardening and landscaping season and depending on the kind desired and local availability, may be quite expensive. Trees may be planted at any time during the season, unlike many other plants. If you can hold out, you can save a lot of money.

A lot of garden shops and nurseries have sales as the season goes on, with the biggest ones being in the late summer and early fall. The best time to buy and plant a tree is as soon as possible, but waiting a month or two won’t hurt anything as long as you get it in the ground with enough time for roots to grow before winter.

  1. Produce Your Own Compost

The benefits of compost to a garden are numerous. Soil structure and fertility are both boosted, and useful nutrients are added, thanks to this method.

Instead of purchasing compost to increase the health and productivity of your garden beds, you may make your own in a compost heap in your yard or composting container using wasted organics like kitchen trash and grass clippings, saving you money, reducing your waste, and helping the environment.

  1. Make a Fire Pit

Garden fire pits are a common way to improve the ambiance and functionality of your outdoor space. Having one of these around when toasting marshmallows on a warm summer night is a dream come true. However, they can be rather pricey if purchased from a store.

It’s cheaper and more practical to construct your own fire pit out of rocks, bricks, concrete, or metal than to buy one. Your fire pit might cost you less than a hundred dollars to construct, depending on the materials you select and its size.

Just check the local ordinances to make sure you’re inside the lawful bounds of possessing one. Most fire pits, for instance, require space between themselves and nearby buildings or fixed objects like fences or sheds.

  1. Purchase in Bulk

Buying soil, mulch, sand, river stones, and crushed rock in large quantities can help you save money on landscaping materials. Rather than making many journeys to the garden center for individual items like soil, rock, and mulch, it is more efficient to purchase in bulk for a major yard repair or soil amendment.

Inquire amongst your neighbors as to whether or not they have any needs, and divide the delivery charges to save even more money.

Bottom Line

If you want to spend more time enjoying the outdoors, landscaping your yard can help. In addition, it is not necessary to spend a fortune. Having a lovely and welcoming yard need not break the bank.

Repeatedly sowing new grass seed, feeding it, and pulling weeds, watering plants and trees, and fixing and sealing structures like fences and decks will ensure that you may use and enjoy your yard for many years to come. That way, you won’t have to worry about taking out a separate loan to pay for landscaping services in the future.

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