10 Cheap Ways to Landscape


Plan ahead

Before you start landscaping, plan ahead.
Before you start landscaping, plan ahead.
Ghislain & Marie David de Lossy/Getty Images

­When grocery shopping on a budget­, it's a good idea to go to the store with a list instead of relying on memory. Knowing precisely what you need keeps you on task and away from frivolous extras. Likewise, before you plant a single seed in your yard, come up with a plan of action. The notion of having a backyard koi pond surrounded by lush vegetation may appeal to you -- until you research the accompanying price tag. Gardening books and Web sites are smart places to search for initial inspiration. Or take a stroll around your neighborhood or local botanical garden to see what other gardeners have created and take note of what appeals to you.­

Chances are, you'll want something that fits smoothly into the surrounding aesthetic. A bright, tropical-style theme might clash if you live in an older, more traditional neighborhood. Perhaps a lush urban oasis or English garden might suit your house better. Think loftily at first, and then tally up the hardscaping and softscaping expenses required to make that vision a reality. From there, you may have a better idea of what you can practically afford.

Hiring a landscape architect to design a garden may be out of your price range. But if you can sketch out an idea of how you want to landscape, you can arrange a consultation with a landscaper for a couple hundred dollars. Some specialty nurseries may also have knowledgeable staff who can offer free advice on the best types of plants to achieve your desired layout.