budget talk

A Professional Looking Garden for Pennies

Gardening is one of my hobbies and sometimes I think I spend too much time outside planting, landscaping, you name it. But just the other day I found out all my effort could be a wise investment. A home with a nicely landscaped yard always sells faster and sells for more money. Seems like no matter how much money you put into the yard, you eventually get the majority of it back when it’s time to sell.
And yes, some landscaping tasks are costly, but here are some ways to make the yard look like a million dollars for a lot less.

Do you have plants in your yard that you hate or are growing out of control? I’m guessing friends and neighbors feel that way too. See if anyone wants to swap plants with you. Some gardening clubs also have weekend swaps too.

Divide and Conquer
Yes, some of my plants fit into the category of growing out of control. However, it’s not a bad thing. Last week I divided most of them and replanted them in another area of the yard I’m landscaping. I managed to get a wheelbarrow load of plants for well, almost free. Some skill and knowledge is required so here’s a link to some great advice on dividing your plants www.finegardening.com/how-to/articles/dividing-perennials.aspx

Two tricks I’ve found for success are- one, make sure you water them well when you first transplant them and continue to water them. And two, some of them look like they’re dead, but they just need some time to recover so don’t dig them up thinking you’ve killed them.

Sales for Charity
Where I live there are no end of plant sales that are held in aid of a local charity or two. Some of my best deals have been at charity plant sales. A couple of years ago I purchased two peonies for just $5 each. They’re just about to bloom and my favorite plants in the yard.

Herbs Stretch your Budget
I’m a big fan of herbs because I use them a lot in cooking, but they also make your gardening budget stretch further. Just about every gardening store and farmer’s market sells them, they’re cheap and they fill in any area for just pennies. Added plus, they’re edible and the budget cook’s best buddy.

They Keep on Growing
One good return for your money is perennials. Yes, it’s nice to see some colorful annuals hanging in baskets on the deck, but perennials are the better investment. Buy them once…and okay, unless you kill them, they’re in the yard for almost ever.

I switched from using rocks to mulch and I’m glad I did. Not only is it cheaper, it’s easier on the back, and I find it keeps the weeds at bay longer and more efficiently. Drawback…it has to be topped up every year. However, some tree trimming companies have leftover mulch that they’re sell to you or let you have for free. Word of caution here, just make sure the mulch isn’t from a diseased tree. I know someone who saw a sign for free mulch, covered their garden with it and lost all their plants and a couple of their trees. And someone else had an infestation of beetles.

Use Mother Nature
I’ve been cutting down shrubs and tree limbs and keep some of the branches and limbs to add some design and texture in the flowerbeds. It’s free, it looks natural and keeps things interesting too.

Water Features
I’ve always been a huge fan of any garden design with a fountain or running water. Years ago they were pricey and had to be installed by professionals, but now just about anyone can install some type of water feature in their yard for sometimes less than $100.

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