Installing and maintaining landscaping around your home can be a costly undertaking. Even the perfect landscape can end up a source of vexation instead of pleasure — if it costs you more than you can afford to install and keep up.
With these few helpful tips, you can save money on your landscaping without sacrificing quality or beauty.
Plan Before You Spend
Plan before you make any purchases. Without a plan, you may buy things you don’t really need, and that can waste money.
Begin with a rough sketch of your landscape design. Next find out exactly what you need to make it possible. If you need advice, there are a number of websites where you can get ideas for creating your project. Specialty stores and some home improvement warehouses have experts on hand who can give you pointers.
Once you’ve done your homework, and know exactly what you need, you can start spending, without fear of money wasters intruding.
Purchase In Phases
Your written plan should include a timetable for when you will install each portion of your landscape. Most people can’t afford to make all the changes at once. Planning your landscape project in phases lets you buy what you need as you go, and as the money becomes available. This phased financing lets you avoid the interest and fees associated with home improvement loans or putting your purchases on credit cards.
Don’t Sacrifice Quality
It’s good to remember that cheaper is not always better. If there is very little difference in quality, then buying the cheaper item is naturally the best course. However, local stores are often staffed with seasoned experts who will share their wisdom for free if you ask questions while making a purchase. Specialty stores can give you accurate information on installing a water feature, for example. If you are inexperienced in landscaping, you can save money in the long run by spending a little extra for better service, experienced help and advice.
Check Plants Carefully
If you’re making your purchases at a “big box” store, be sure to carefully inspect plants for diseases and insect problems. These stores seldom give their plants the kind of care that a nursery would. If the plant you buy is diseased, you’ll have to buy it all over again when it dies, and that’s money down the drain. Furthermore, the disease or pest can spread to your other landscaping. Many nurseries offer warranties and guarantees free of charge on their plants.
Buy When Prices Are Low
If you plan your landscaping ahead, you can determine when each phase needs to be accomplished. You can buy lumber during the winter when it is cheaper, and store it until you are ready to use it. Buy trees, shrubs, perennials, mulch, and soil late in the season when the prices go down. In most places, you can wait until October to make your maintenance purchases and still have time to winterize your landscape. Keep an eye out for plant sales at local nurseries. You can find really good quality plants at low prices this way.
Pursue Other Resources
Explore alternative resources. Stores are not the only places to get what you need. You can order through catalogs or online. Membership in a garden and seed club can yield very good prices on many items, as well as useful advice.
Try arranging a plant exchange in your neighborhood. Some cities offer low-price or free mulch and compost, and you can check construction or demolition sites for free stones and bricks.
Neighborhood Cost Sharing
Approach your neighbors about sharing costs. If you pool your resources, you can get some good deals on items bought in bulk, and everyone benefits. In the same vein, you can share the rental fees for machinery such as chippers, tillers, and aerators. If everyone chips in a few dollars, you can work out a schedule that lets each neighbor use the equipment before it is due back. This is a great way to reduce the costs of your landscaping.
By heeding a few of these money-saving tips, you can hold down your costs and create a beautiful landscape that you can afford to maintain.