As summer approaches, you might be thinking of a bunch of fun new projects to work on around the house. At the top of the list for many homeowners is to tackle some new landscaping and gardening projects. If you want to make some changes in your yard this summer and save some money in the process, then check out these five money-saving landscaping ideas.
1. Get Free Flowers, Grass and More Online
Hardly a day goes by that you don’t see listings on Craigslist and in local Facebook groups in which members are giving away free plants, flowers, shrubs, sod, seeds, potting soil, clay pots, gravel, stones, landscaping tools and other supplies.
Occasionally you’ll even find free trees available. You might need to dig them up and lift them into your truck by yourself, but if you’re up to the task, then the cost savings would be substantial. All you have to do is respond to the listing and get down there to pick up the goods before someone does, as free stuff is usually given away on a first come, first served basis.
2. Start Composting to Create Your Own Fertilizer
Composting is a great way to recycle food scraps, produce your own homemade fertilizer and reduce landfill waste. Plus, it saves you money by eliminating the need to buy fertilizer. You’ll need to start your own compost heap in an area of your back yard that is a fairly good distance from your house, as the odor can be fairly strong.
Dump in your daily food waste, add more soil as needed and give it all a good stir with a shovel to spread the nutrients around the pile evenly. As those scraps decompose over time, the nutrients will provide you with rich fertilizer to keep your lawn and foliage growing strong and lush all year long.
3. Let Your Lawn Die
Seriously — this is a real thing. It’s actually very common in the southwestern states like California and Nevada for homeowners to quit watering during the summer months and simply let their front and back lawns die. Then, when fall rolls around, they begin watering again, and their lawns spring back to life. If you live in a state that struggles with drought and imposes strict water regulations, then this might be a good option for saving water and avoiding fines from the local government.
But that doesn’t mean you have to put up with an ugly yard. You can actually buy a colored green dye to spray on your yellow, dead lawn to make it look fresh and healthy. You’ll still get a lawn that looks great, but you’ll save some money on water, fertilizer and landscaping costs. If you usually pay a lawn service to mow and edge your lawn every week or two, then the savings could add up quickly.
4. Go Green By Putting in a Rock Garden
If you want low maintenance landscaping with zero water usage or ongoing maintenance, then a rock garden might be perfect for your property. Buy rocks of various sizes, tones and textures — or get them for free, as mentioned above — and lay them out in an organized, zen-like fashion to turn your front or back yard into a work of art.
You can contrast white and black stones, or use various shades of gray stones to create a grayscale effect. Rows of red bricks and stepping stones can break up the rock groupings and add an additional visual element to your design.
5. Plant Local Varieties of Foliage
Many homeowners make a huge mistake when choosing non-native plants and grasses for their home landscaping. You might have favorite varieties of flowers or trees that you’ve seen in magazines or in other climates and think that they’d be perfect for your home. But that is often not the case.
Local varieties of plants and trees are already adapted to the climate and soil composition and are usually better suited to their environment. This allows them to grow and flourish in your yard, where non-local plants might never adapt and might even end up dying before long.
If you’re looking for some good outdoor project soft this summer, try out one or more of these five landscaping tips to save money this summer and in the seasons and years to come.