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4 ideas for spring landscaping on a budget


The first signs of color have exploded over most of the nation with spring bulbs pushing their heads above ground. Weather has warmed in many parts of the U.S. And your yard looks a bit shaggy. Instead of spending big bucks to get it into shape, try some of these inexpensive spring landscaping ideas instead.

Plan your strategy

Before you hand over your credit card or write a check at the nursery, sketch out what you want to change and add to your landscape. When you know exactly what you need you can shop for it and not waste dollars on extras you may never use.

If you have a big project in mind like building a deck or patio, an hour-long consultation with a professional might keep you from making some costly mistakes.

Then do some research on your local area. What plants grow well in your region? What grows naturally there? Which ones fit with your lifestyle? Can you handle high maintenance plantings or not? Which pests do you need to watch for and can you plant something that deters them?

Take some evening strolls around your neighborhood to see what others are growing. Look for inspiration.

When you have the plantings, xeriscaping, grass and adornments drawn on your plan, you can start shopping for bargains.

Look for free and low-cost plants

You can get no-cost items for your garden by asking to take cuttings from plantings friends, relatives and neighbors have. This also works for trees and bushes. Be sure to offer the giver something in return from your yard.

For very little money, you can invest in seeds. Sow them in the ground or in containers as soon as the last frost of the season is history. Ones that do well in most growing zones include Bachelor’s Buttons, Calendula and Nasturtiums.

Plant sales hosted by arboretums, botanical centers and garden clubs are another treasure trove for healthy flowers and greenery.

When the spring planting season dwindles, you can often find a clearance table at your local nursery.

Check Off the Beaten Path for Supplies

Instead of browsing garden centers for pots, accessories or whatever you need to refresh your yard, you can save money by looking at dollar stores, yard sales and thrift shops. These places often have fetching containers, decorative items and gloves.

Or take that weekly coupon sent out by Michael’s, Jo-Ann Store’s or Bed Bath & Beyond and search their shelves for something to make your landscaping sparkle.

Visit the “farm + garden” section of Craigslist.com and look on Freecycle.org to see if you can use any of those offers.

Don’t neglect what you already have in your garage or basement, either. You can plant in all types of containers including wheelbarrows, tires, buckets, shoes, etc.

Some cities offer free or low-cost mulch, compost or fertilizer like zoo-do.

Construction sites where demolition is taking place can be a good source for bricks or stones.

Chat Up Your Neighbors

On those walks you take for inspiration, say “hi” to anyone who is working in their yards. Get to know them.

In the future you can ask to borrow a specialized tool they have. Or if you want to rent some big equipment, maybe you and a few neighbors can all use it and share the cost.

Buy topsoil or gravel in bulk and split it with your newfound friends.

If they have some healthy beautiful trees or bushes you’d like to replicate in your landscape, ask if you can take cuttings. Cut a few woody stems on an angle, take them home and dip it in rooting hormone powder. Place in good soil in a small pot. They should sprout roots in a few weeks and you can plant them in a few months.

Soon, people will flock to you asking for advice on how to make their spring landscaping as beautiful as yours.

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