8 Tips for Landscaping on the Cheap

By Cheapism.com

Take a look at your yard -- the grass can always be greener.

If you're like many homeowners, you pay more attention to the interior of your house than to your garden. But consider this: More people see (and judge) your landscaping.

Fortunately, sprucing up the yard or porch is cheaper than redoing the kitchen or bathroom. We've compiled a list of eight cheap landscaping ideas.

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1. Contain your plants. Add pizazz to your front porch with container plants. This simple trick instantly makes your home more welcoming. Containers and plants should be different in type and size and placed on varying levels. Stick with the cheap landscaping theme by repurposing metal tubs, buckets, and pails as planters.

2. Stock up. Gardening isn't much different from shopping at Costco. The more plants you buy, the lower the per item cost. For example, at an online nursery a bag of 100 tulip bulbs goes for about $60, or 60 cents a piece, compared with $20 for 25 bulbs, or 80 cents a piece.

3. Grow spring/summer annuals and perennials from seeds. Seasonal plants liven up a landscape. The seeds of alyssum, celosia, cosmos, hyacinth bean, impatiens, marigold, morning glory, nasturtium, sunflower, and zinnia germinate and mature quickly, and grow equally well indoors or out. If you don't want to start from scratch, flats of annuals are good for landscaping on the cheap. Many perennials, such as black-eyed Susans, blanket flower (gaillardia), columbine, and coneflower (echinacea) are (nearly) effortless to grow and relatively inexpensive.

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4. Practice native gardening. What plants are native to your region? It pays to find out because a garden filled with native plants offers financial benefits. Native plants don't need much attention, so you can save on fertilizer, pesticides, and water. Native gardening is an easily doable and effective way to landscape on the cheap.

5. Tend to trees and shrubs. Clean up branches, leaves, petals, or fruit that may have fallen onto the lawn. Pruning deciduous trees and shrubs is an essential component of garden maintenance. Failure to tidy up your yard may be seen as a sign of neglect and is the ultimate cheap landscaping idea.

6. Apply mulch. Apply a fresh layer of mulch to all garden beds for an instant transformation. The dark mulch adds a nice contrast to the surrounding plant life and helps the ground retain moisture while keeping weeds at bay. And, mulch is relatively cheap, especially when buying in bulk.

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7. Beautify your lawn. Is your lawn an unflattering brown and/or filled with weeds? It might be worth installing new sod. This requires removing the old lawn, laying new sod, and keeping it well hydrated for several weeks.

8. Fill in your side yards. The strips of land on either side of a home are hard to make aesthetically appealing. One low-maintenance and cheap landscaping idea calls for filling these areas with pea gravel or sand and topping them off with a decorative arrangement of stones or bricks.

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