How to go about frugal landscaping – Part I

Well I just talked about the true cost of owning a home and well if I want to stay happily married I’m going to have to spend some money on landscaping this summer. So obviously I want to figure out the most cost effective way to do my landscaping and still end up with a product that my wife would be happy with. I already start the process of frugal lawn care last summer after the Chemlawn guy stopped by an challenged my green thumb manhood and to be honest my lawn ended up looking great. So while I know next to nothing as I write this article about landscaping I do know that if you aren’t careful landscaping can cost a fortune (we just had some professionals stop by last night with some plans and a quote – thus somewhat like the Chemlawn incident I feel personally challenged to show them I can do a much better job for a fraction of the cost)

Landscaping isn’t all that bad as according to Free Money Finance it can increase a homes value 7-14% (which for my home would be $11,000 – $22,000) – although I personally have some reservations about those estimates so I’m not going to go ahead and blow $15,000 on landscaping with the thought that I’ll easily get this money back when I sell my house. Personally I’m just hoping it will make my lawn easier to mow as I won’t have to go around downspouts or try to mow right up to the edge of my house. Also I think I would enjoy growing some of the plants also.

My landscaping idea

I personally would like to incorporate as much edible landscape in our plan as possible. I always like it when things can serve more than one purpose and honestly many of the fruit bearing and edible plants can be just as pretty as the standard landcsaping plants. Nothing wrong with being able to save on some grocery costs in the process and from what I know people generally get a lot of enjoyment on growing their own food, so to me adding a bunch of edible landscaping to the mix would be a great idea. My wife has some concerns though and obviously for her landscaping is all about beauty so I have to go ahead and convince her that blueberry bushes are beautiful too.

BlueBerry Bush in fall
Blueberry bush in fall
BlueBerry Bush in spring
Blueberry blossoms in spring

Ways to keep costs down
Obviously doing it yourself can save you money if you know what you are doing. To be honest landscaping doesn’t appear to be so difficult as that the average Joe can’t do a pretty descent job if they do their homework, which I plan to do. According to the article referenced by Free Money Finance purchasing big ticket items in the fall will get you the best prices. Also explained was breaking up your project into a multi-year project, which wsa something I had already planned on doing. This gives you a chance to learn from your mistakes rather than making a mistake on your entire landscaping project. Obviously shopping around on the internet can allow you to save money on plants, but be very careful with this method as your plants have a lot less likelier chance of surviving if they were grown in a climate that differs greatly from yours. For example I live in Wisconsin I probably don’t want to be buying too many plants from a nursery in Georgia. Find your hardiness zone to determine what plants/trees will survive in your climate

 

Hardiness zones

Another thing to consider when determining the cost of landscaping is maintenance. If you plant a lot annuals you will be paying replacement costs every single year to keep up your landscaping looking good. If however you plant perenials and treat them right you should be able to get many years of enjoyment out of them without having to head off to the garden center each spring. Another thing to consider is to buy as many drought resistant plants as possible. This means you will have to spend a lot less time making sure your plants are watered and a lot less money on your water bill. Planting plants and trees that are appropriate for your region and don’t require a substantial amount of water to keep looking good means less maintenance, lower costs, and more enjoyment for you out of your landscaping. Also making appropriate use of mulch can help keep the moisture in by your plants and reduce the amount of weeding you have to do.

Well honestly at this point I don’t have enough personal knowledge about landscaping to add more than just the basic things I’ve talked about so far (thus the dreaded – Part I tag). I will be researching this topic pretty hardcore the next couple weeks so look for more articles from me as I try to find a low-cost, low-maintenance, home-value improving, multi-functional landscaping plan for my house.

See part II here

7 thoughts on “How to go about frugal landscaping – Part I”

  1. Good ideas, all. I worked for a landscaping contractor during the summers between my years at college and I can tell you that 90% of all landscaping jobs can be performed by the average homeowner. The big boys mark up their fertilizers/pesticides, etc. considerably and you can apply them all yourself. Planting you can do yourself.

    You can even rent a “Ditch Witch” and lay down PVC to run an irrigation system yourself (though this is an advanced project, and you may have to consult someone to plan out the tie-in to the main water line, and someone with an electrical background to wire in the control panel).

  2. Actually, drought-resistant plants are only good in places that have droughts.

    Here are some more hints:

    Look into native plants–these have evolved for your soil and weather, so they are easier to keep alive. Plus you can attract more wildlife. Note: double-check which wildlife you are attracting.

    Also, be sure to plant perennials at the right time. If your area has cold winters, plant in spring so your plants have the whole summer to dig in before they have to face the winter. However, if your area has mild winters and blazing hot summers, fall is the right time to plant.

    Once you buy a plant, plant it as soon as possible. It can live much more easily in the ground than in a pot. Then water it regularly throughout the first year, even if it is drought-resistant. Once it is established, it will be easier to take care of.

    Finally, ask your neighbors about plants they have that you admire. Gardeners are usually happy to share information about how to find and care for plants. They may even be able to give you cuttings or seeds that you can plant in your own yard.

  3. If you buy perennials, you may also be able to split them the following year… the original bulbs will spout additional ones which can be split off and replanted. This will take several more years to fully flush out the yard, but it will save you a lot of money over paying the greenhouse. They make a lot of money by doing this very thing.

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