Ah, the daylight hours are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer and the need to get outside is overwhelming. That’s right, Spring has finally sprung. Now it’s time to shift the focus from indoors to outdoors and dive into those plans for your yard. But before you start spending, take a look at these tips for ways that you can do the most with your dollars this year.
Assess Your Inventory
Try not to plan your next plant until you have a chance to investigate what you currently have. Landscaping without a plan generally leads to more impulse buying and plants are not inexpensive. Picking up even just a couple of small shrubs or some ground cover can add up quickly. Taking the time to look at your existing set-up and determine what you love and where you want it to go next will save you money in the long run. This is also a good time to check on anything you planted last spring to see if it needs to be moved for better drainage or light. Losing plants to poor planning is not only expensive, it’s frustrating.
First, check your free options. Try plant swapping in your neighborhood through a community forum or just asking some friends. If you aren’t in a neighborhood you can check Craigslist where people often post listings for shrubs and trees if you are willing to dig them up yourself. If free isn’t available, start comparing prices. Many local garden groups host annual plant sales where you can score not only beautiful plants on the cheap but important tips for how to care for them. Nurseries offer a wide variety but can also be pricey so double check with your local big box home improvement stores. Home Depot carries coupons and the clearance sections can make a big difference. And don’t forget about online options. Websites and online nurseries can have special offers and make it easier to find certain plants.
Mulching is an integral part of most landscaping or garden designs. Spreading mulch in your outdoor beds provides excellent weed control, insulates the soil, and helps feed the plants. Of course, it also goes a long way in the overall appearance of your landscaping. And the good news is that there are cost effective ways to get your mulch. Check with your city or municipality to see if they have free public compost sites where you can load up to a truck full of mulch for free. Some local tree trimming companies will put you on a list and even deliver to your door, although you may only get a timeframe rather than a specific date of when it would be available. You can even opt to use pine needles rather than traditional wood chips, which is a huge savings in cost without sacrificing anything in appearance.
Try seeds if you don’t want to spend as much on plants. You can even start them in cups indoors for a few weeks prior to planting so that you transfer them just before they sprout. For tips on the easiest ones to try, check out this post from Better Home and Gardens. Want to include planters in your landscape design, or maybe just add a few to the back deck? Centsational Girl recently did a nice round up of several DIY options as well as some inexpensive store bought selections.
Hopefully these tips will help get your spring season off to a frugal and productive start. Happy Planting!