A Budget-Conscious Guide To Landscaping

Landscaping on a budget does not mean settling for an untidy backyard that is so embarrassing you are not able to invite friends over for a BBQ. Using this guide you can learn how to cut costs on your landscaping without cutting corners. The only corners you will be cutting are those of your new beautiful lawn.

• Teach yourself some basic gardening skills

In order to get the most out of your landscaping it is necessary to learn the basic principles of gardening:
– How to water plants
– How to feed plants
– How to propagate your plants (increase their number) by dividing or taking cuttings

Once you learn these three basic gardening skills the benefit to your garden will be manifold. If you fail to learn them no amount of landscaping advice will improve your garden.

• Low-cost lawns

Before deciding on which type of lawn is best for you do a simple soil test which can be purchased online. This will tell you the Ph level of your soil and therefore you can understand which type of plants and lawns are most suitable and will require the least amount of fertilizers. It is better to grow a garden that suits your soil rather than engage in an ongoing battle to make your soil suit your garden. Starting a lawn from seed is also a cheaper option than from sod. It will take longer however it is a much more budget-friendly option. It is also important not to overcut your lawn as this will affect its survival rates and therefore your budget if it needs to be replaced. Find out the optimum height of the lawn you have selected.

• Shop around

The cost of plants can vary dramatically between nurseries, supermarkets and online. However the quality of the plants must also be taken into account and whilst you may get some varieties for much cheaper online their survival rates may be much lower than buying from a nursery. There are some ways that you can reduce the cost of the plants you purchase. Check which varieties are cheapest in which season and also avoid buying newly released varieties as they will be more expensive initially. The price will come down eventually and thereby waiting can save you some money on the budget.

• Avoid over-planting

Remember that as plants grow and mature they will take over more space within your garden. Therefore it is important not to overplant as this is both unnecessary financially but also may lead to overcrowding when plants start to grow.

• Water conservation

It is not just the cost of individual plants that is important in landscaping. It is also important to know the individual needs of each plant variety as this will greatly affect maintenance costs of your garden. Some plants will require larger amounts of water which will increase your water bill and can prove particularly difficult to maintain during times of water restrictions. By selecting plants which require less water you can save money on irrigation systems.

• DIY garden features

Water features such as fountains and ponds and also features such as patios and borders are often the central pieces of a well-landscaped garden. These are no longer the domain of professionals and are now often simple enough for amateurs to install yet look as if they have been professionally designed. DIY pond and fountain kits are available from garden stores. The most important part is to know your own limits. Brick patios are easier to lay in sand rather than concrete. Do not try and do something beyond your capabilities as this will be reflected in the final piece. Do your research before you attempt to install anything yourself for the greatest chance of success.

There are tips to consider when you do landscaping.

flickr by LeonESpencer

• Landscape in phases

Divide your landscaping plan into phases and buy according to each phase. Even on a budget landscaping can still be expensive and by dividing your project into sensible phases you will be able to pay as you go. Take into account factors such as the water needs of each plant as this will impact upon expenditure in the next phases.

• Get some free inspiration

Google is a wonderful starting point for inspiration on your landscaping. You can also look to a number of gardening magazines or books in the local library to get inspiration. With a multitude of pictures and ideas at your disposal it is no longer necessary to pay large amounts to landscape designers to come up with a vision.

• Patience is a virtue

It has already been stated that plants take time to grow. It is therefore important that you exercise patience when landscaping your garden. Rome was not built in a day and likewise your dream landscaped garden will not grow overnight especially if you have divided it into phases in order to satisfy your budgetary needs.

5 Easy Steps To Designing Your Own Garden

The perfect garden is one that you can relax in, socialize in and that reflects you. Therefore who better to design your garden than you! You know your needs better than anyone else, you also know your budget better than anyone else and what better way to enjoy your garden than to know you actually created it, that it is an extension of you. However before you get too carried away it is important to first understand these 5 simple steps to designing your own garden.

1. Hardscape vs Softscape

With computers there is a difference between software and hardware. A similar distinction exists in garden design. Softscape refers to the lawn, the plants and trees whereas hardscape includes such garden features as water fountains, patios and borders. An easy way to remember is that if you fell the lawn would be a softer landing than the patio!

2. Learn the basic elements of garden design

The basic elements of landscape design are:

– Color
– Form
– Line

Garden design is essentially art and the backyard is your canvas. Therefore structural concepts such as form and line are important in any garden design. Form is essentially the three dimensional nature of an object and line is the way the eye focuses on the garden and traces its way across the features such as hedging and tree lines. These two concepts must be addressed alongside the colour palette which you choose to go into your garden design plan. It is important to consider how different colours will interact together when choosing plants and flowers. Do not plant anything in isolation as it will be viewed as part of the garden as a whole. As with interior design the colours you choose can maximise the space and other features within your garden. These basic elements are important in both the Softscape and hardscape elements of your garden.

Making a difference in your own garden.

flickr by turtlepatrol

3. Choose the right products

Choosing the best plants and lawns for your garden is crucial. You can buy a simple soil test online and establish which plants will suit your soil type best. It is better that you choose plants and flowers to suit your soil rather than engage in a long-term battle to make your soil suit your plants.

4. Border Basics

Borders are a great way to frame your garden and individual features within it. Borders add a touch of the professional and can maximise the appeal of even the simplest flowerbed or rockery. They also separate different areas of your garden and highlight the different textures between the Softscape and hardscape features. Do not be restricted to traditional border techniques such as paving or rocks. Borders offer the perfect chance to display your creativity and originality. Find some interesting logs to use as a border or instead collect beach pebbles. Creative bordering will not only be attention grabbing it can also be incredibly low-cost. Search online or in gardening magazines for inspiration.

5. Perfect Patios

Patios are both decorative and functional features for your garden. When choosing where to place your patio and what size it is important to bear both its decorative and functional purpose in mind. If you plan to eat outside a lot then ensure the patio is conveniently located to the kitchen. If the patio will be used for large dinner parties then you will need a larger patio area with room for everyone both to sit and then push back their chairs and relax. If you don’t like gardening then a patio is a great way of filling space within your backyard which is relatively low-maintenance as opposed to lawn. Be creative in the shape of your patio design and also in the way you border your patio area. A brightly coloured flower border will emphasize this feature and disguise any edges. Make sure the colors you chose match the colour of stone used in the patio.

The most well designed garden is one that takes into account your own needs. A beautifully landscaped garden with a large lawn area and a plethora of different plants and flowers is no use if you detest gardening and cannot afford to pay a gardener. It will very quickly lose its beauty. Know your own limits and design a garden that reflects this.