Adding flower beds, trees and shrubs around a home enhances its exterior design features. Landscaping can be expensive, especially if you hire a professional. Landscaping materials and plants don't come cheap, and in most cases, gardens aren't cheap to maintain. Landscaping gives a home a personal feel that makes the cost well worth the expense for many homeowners. You can save money during initial installation and maintenance with careful planning and by doing most of the work yourself.
Rain Barrel Watering
Save water during warmer months by investing in a rain barrel storage container. These large plastic barrels attach to the downspouts of the house and collect rainwater from the roof. The design is completely closed to prevent mosquitoes from thriving in standing water. They have a spigot with a hose attachment, saving the homeowner some money on the water bill. The EPA estimates that homeowners use 20 percent more water during the summer months with lawn and garden care. Save yourself considerable money by installing a simple rain barrel.
Start Annuals From Seed
Pick up a single annual plant at the nursery, and you'll be bowled over by the price. Annual pots start at over $2 per pot, even at the best sale. Start your favorite annual plants at home from seeds. Seed packets cost no more than a dollar or two for potentially dozens of plants per packet. You'll need fresh potting soil, small seedling pots and a warm place to germinate the seeds. Start seeds six to eight weeks before the final frost. Each seed packet provides all of the information needed to grow gorgeous annual plants.
Conserve water and protect your expensive landscaping plants with a good layer of mulch. Apply 3 to 4 inches of mulch in the late spring in preparation for the hot summer months. Mulch keeps soil temperature even throughout the landscape and helps retain moisture. It also makes the landscape look finished and groomed. Mulch can be purchased by the bag or in bulk. This investment is beneficial throughout the year. Mulch protects plant roots during the winter by maintaining even soil temperature. It also breaks down to create nutrients for the soil. Mulch is one of the best purchases a homeowner can make to preserve his landscape investment.
Buy Small Plants
Landscaping can cost a fortune, especially when designing and planting an entire property. Instead of purchasing mature plants, purchase smaller shrubs, flowers and trees. Space these plants throughout the landscape based on their mature growth size. Your property might look a little thin for a few years, but you'll save hundreds of dollars in the long run.
Make Your Own Compost
Don't buy fertilizer. Save yourself the money and make your own. Create a compost pile in an unused portion of your yard. Build a simple wooden frame (or buy a compost bin) and throw all your organic waste onto the pile. Leaves, sticks, grass clippings, dead flowers and food scraps (avoid dairy, meat and sugars) can be dumped into a big pile in the compost bin. Grab a pitchfork and stir it up every few weeks to encourage decomposition. Compost provides some of the very best soil enhancement. You won't even need Miracle Grow anymore.