These tips for front yard landscaping will help you beautify your yard while spending less than $200. Hiring a landscaper isn’t necessary if you’re looking for quick and easy yard beautification – and you don’t mind hauling a bit of soil!
“If you want anything done well, do it yourself. This is why most people laugh at their own jokes.” ~ Bob Edwards.
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While I wouldn’t apply Mr. Edwards’ advice to many things, it does work well with beautifying a plain yard. For instance, creating a small stone wall border and planting flowers in front of it looks gorgeous, and you definitely won’t be spending $200 on it.
When it comes to landscaping, there is surprisingly little that the average able bodied homeowner can’t do him or herself. For a few ideas, read New Front Yard Idea Book: Entries, Driveways, Pathways, and Gardens – it’s a rich source of tips and plans for front yard landscaping.
And here are a few ideas to get you started…
5 Front Yard Landscaping Tips That Cost Less Than $200
1. Beautify existing objects – don’t haul them away
If you have boulders or tree stumps in your yard that you don’t like, it’s much cheaper to buy soil and cover them up than it is to rent an earth mover and get rid of them. Find creative ways to work with ugly bumps, ridges, and other protrusions. For example, if you have a stump or boulder that you don’t like, surround it with river rocks or other stone. Or, dig it out and fill the space with soil to make a garden bed. Landscaping your front yard on a budget is easier when you surround “ugly” objects with hedges, flowers, and rich dark soil.
This budget landscaping tip also applies to garden beds which are covered in weeds or old, tired looking soil. You don´t necessarily have to dig them up and replace everything. Instead, till the soil (including the weeds, which are good compost) and cover the garden bed with a fresh, 2 to 4 inch thick layer of fresh garden soil or bark mulch, both of which are cheap if bought in bulk.
2. Look for recycled and natural garden features
To landscape your yard for less than $200, use natural materials which you can find in the woods, the beach, craigslist, or by rivers. These places are great sources of driftwood, river rocks, and unique boulders. Front yard landscaping on a budget is about being creative and following your instincts about what looks natural and beautiful. Also, many landscape suppliers will sell bulk river rock at low prices, on a per yard basis. That’s a lot of river rock, and it can be used creatively in your front yard in all sorts of ways, such as borders, pond features, and garden rock features.
3. Ask friends and family about their front yard landscaping plans
One person’s front yard “trash” is another person’s treasure! Find out what your friends, family, and neighbors are doing with their front yards — are they digging stuff up and hauling it away? Maybe those plants, trees, and bushes just need a new home. Also, get into the habit of trading seeds, plant clippings, and even bushes with friends and family. Remember that front yard landscaping on a budget takes time and effort. It may be easier and faster to hire a landscaper, but you won’t spend less than $200 that way!
4. Reseed your lawn if it’s patchy or barren
If your lawn is patchy or barren, spray a layer of seeds either by hand or with a broadcast spreader. Spread lawn starter fertilizer over them, and then cover the whole deal with a light layer of sprinkled garden soil. This soil will look ugly at first, but it will pay itself back in spades with a lush green lawn.
To plant a new lawn, level it so it’s as smooth as possible. Then, buy some lawn soil and rake out a layer of at least 2 inches thickness evenly over the whole area. Sprinkle this with starter lawn fertilizer and a thick coating of lawn seeds. Water it frequently, especially if conditions are dry. This process is very cheap, much cheaper than lawn turfing, and will yield a beautiful lawn within several weeks.
5. Invest your money in seeds, not saplings or bushes
A packet of seeds costs a few dollars, and you get the potential of at least 30-40 plants in each seed packet. Planting from seeds takes longer and requires patience (and a green thumb!), but it’s the foundation of front yard landscaping on a budget. Plus, you’ll find it rewarding and fun to grow a plant from seed to sapling to huge oak tree! And, don’t spend money on fancy plant pots; instead, use plastic containers such as yogurt or butter tubs, ice cream containers, mousse pots, etc. If you’re planting plants that need a bit of nurturing, you may want to invest in a Mini Greenhouse.
Also, remember to go to garage sales, yard sales, and thrift shops — they can be a great way to spend less than $200 when you’re landscaping your front yard.
There is a limit on landscaping your front yard when you’re on a budget, but the options can still make an incredible difference in garden design! If you’re wondering how these tips will have you spending less than $200, remember that two or three yards of bulk soil probably won’t cost more than $120 dollars. A bag of seed costs about $25, bark mulch (instead of soil for garden beds) about the same. A half yard of river rocks should cost around $40, and you could find other natural features for free.
For more budget gardening tips, read Square Foot Gardening – Why You Need a Container Garden.
Do you have anything to add to these tips for landscaping your yard on a budget? Please comment below…
About the author: Stephan Jukic is a Spanish to English translator. He alternates his living between Vancouver, Canada and Latin America.