A deck is often used as a warm weather gathering point for friends and family. Landscaping around decks adds beauty and value to your home. Although landscaping can be costly, it doesn't need to be. There are many free ideas for landscaping around decks that you can use to eliminate the cost if you plan creatively and do research locally and online as to what materials might be available in your community. There are many ways to generate free ideas and material for landscaping projects.
Finding Free Plants
Locate people or businesses giving away plants they don't want. Call nurseries, landscapers and homeowners you know are remodeling. Ask nursery staff if they are tossing out any plants that did not sell. Nurseries need to rotate stock because of space limitations and this creates a supply of surplus plants that must be disposed of somehow. Many times, you can get the plants for free because they have already been stricken from stock. Landscapers are possible sources because they must dispose of excess material or remnants of material removed from a job. Allowing people to take these materials eliminates their need for composting or garbage hauling. Be ready to take everything from the job as the landscaper might ask that you remove all of the unwanted material.
Composting can be an effective way to use excess yard material over time. Leaves, clippings and other organic material can be placed in a pile and allowed to decompose naturally. This process creates a natural mulch that you can use around decks as ground cover for plants and trees. This method takes more than a year to achieve the needed results, but continuing this each year can produce endless supplies of free ground cover for landscaping around the deck.
Using Material Around You
Look around your yard or neighbors' yards for free material to use as landscaping around the deck. This includes rocks, brick, logs, lumber, saplings, cuttings and transplants. Set up borders around the deck using rocks, brick, logs and lumber. Dig up small saplings that came from fallen tree seeds and use them as decorative features around the deck and for shading later as they grow. You can also use cuttings and transplants this way. Get cuttings from woody bushes such as lilacs, rhododendrons, roses and bleeding hearts. Stemmed shrubs, such as evergreens, can yield cuttings that grow into completely new shrubs. Divide perennials, such as dahlias and lilies, to create more plants. Move younger plants to create landscaping around the deck as well. Dig up a large enough diameter around the plant to ensure you get all of the root ball, then move the entire plant and the dirt to the new location.
Trade and Barter
Check out online resources, such as FreeCycle or Craigslist, for people looking to trade or give away plants, seeds and material. FreeCycle is a network of community groups that trade and barter unused or extra materials within the community to avoid sending useful items to landfills. Look on their website for the community nearest you, join that community and look around for items that you can give and receive. Craigslist is another way to find local material for little or no cost. There is no membership to this site, but you should look in the nearest city to avoid traveling long distances. You will often have to pick up the material or plants when trading or bartering this way.
Join a Garden Club or Group
Associating yourself with other gardeners can yield various free ideas, materials or assistance for landscaping around the deck. Avoid asking for material upon joining the group. Get involved with the group activities and participate in activities as this will yield greater results over time. Gardening group members often trade seeds and knowledge.