Many of us would love to have an artfully landscaped yard containing lovely blooms, constantly fragrant flowers, instant shade, and the sound of a bubbling water feature to help us enjoy the outdoors around our homes. Few of us, however, have the money—an estimated 5 to 15% of the value of the home, to invest to make this happen. There are also other circumstances that thwart our hopes for a garden paradise just outside the window. Some of these include the lack of time to invest in the project, the absence of competent gardening skills, and the inability to design a practical plan to follow to achieve our Shangri-la. Don’t give up before you start. Here are a few tips that may help you get started. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your lovely landscape doesn’t have to be completed overnight. Spread the process out over a reasonable period of time.
First, there are some free or inexpensive resources you may want to check out. Our city picks up branches and limbs people have trimmed from their trees each fall and recycles by allowing residents to have a free pick-up load of mulch. Your city or county may have similar programs. Give them a call. Schools in your area may have green houses that produce plants for sale at a very reasonable price each year. Watch for plant sales at nurseries and botanical gardens in your town. Look within your own yard. You may have plants that could be separated to make a better display. In our area many homes use monkey grass as a border, around trees, or to fill in space. It is extremely prolific and very inexpensive. You may even have a friend or neighbor who would share theirs with you the next time they thin it.
If you do have to pay for plants, think before you purchase. Choose smaller, inexpensive plants. You can get several of these for the price of one that is larger.
Also, consider your gardening abilities and the amount of care that will be required to maintain your choices. You should consider the amount of water and type of soil required for your plants. Get information free at online sites like the U.S. Forest Service to help you learn more. If you feel like you’re taking on too much, use bushes and shrubs that require little care, or even choose rocks, bricks, or decorative stones which require no maintenance and can cover large areas.
Since most beginner home owners are unable to afford a professional landscaper, you may be able to draw out your own plan and have a one review it with you for a much lower fee, or in some cases if you’re lucky, free! Just be sure to choose someone reputable. Look at neighbors’ yards or other gardens you admire for ideas. Home & Garden magazines are always a great place to look for ideas to implement into your own yard as well.