Every spring you plan to spruce up your yard and garden. You pore over garden magazines and watch all the do-it-yourself shows. Then you balance the checkbook and your full garden makeover turns into a new pot of geraniums. Don't let a limited budget keep you out of the garden. Look for fun---and free---local resources to increase the curb appeal of your home, improve your outdoor living spaces and expand your gardening knowledge.
Attend A Swap Meet
Just like old ski equipment and used baby clothes, there are swap meets for plants. When gardeners divide perennials, dig up suckers or cut back houseplants, many find it hard to simply throw these plants on the compost heap and set them aside for "rehoming." The resulting swap meets are advertised in your local paper or on fliers at your local nursery.
Save Your Annuals
Annuals are usually less expensive than perennials and provide all-season color in sun or shade. If you save your annuals from year to year...major bargain. According to the US National Arboretum, "By rooting stem cuttings in water on a sunny windowsill, plants like impatiens (Impatiens sp.), coleus (Coleus sp.), Persian shield (Strobilanthes dyerianus), Mexican petunia (Ruellia sp.), sweet potato vine (Ipomoea sp.) cultivars, and purple heart (Tradescantia sp.) can be held over winter until needed in the spring."
Many large home center chains have informative classes for do-it-yourselfers. You can learn how to build a raised garden bed or trellis, install pavers and hardscaping or choose the right plants and shrubs for your geographic location. Classes are free and taught by experts. As an added bonus, discounts are offered on the materials needed to complete the project.
Look for new uses for old things. Use discarded cinder blocks to make a raised garden bed. Move that old iron headboard out of attic and into the garden to make a unique bean or flower trellis. Prowl the yard sales in your neighborhood, keeping your eyes open for low-cost, high-value "garden junk."
Call The County
Contact the Department of Environmental Protection to obtain information about regional and state composting programs. Many locations accept yard and garden waste. Materials are composted or wood-chipped and available free to local residents.