Frugal landscaping ideas?
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  1. #1
    Registered User pigtailsmom's Avatar
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    Default Frugal landscaping ideas?

    I am looking for advice on how to make our yard look nice without spending a lot of money. I have some perenials (daffodils which are done already and lots of orange lilies). We picked up 4 rose bushes really cheap at Menards awhile back. We have a corner lot, quite large, very uneven, in town. I would like some statues, but don't want to spend $50 each on them. Any ideas to help make the yard more visually appealing?

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    My husband and I just did this a while back. Our yard was in bad shape and with little money we needed help! I priced out plants at my local hardware shops and also target, kmart and walmart. We bought plants that would be fillers, plants that we know would fill out that way we would not have to buy as many. We also bought stones and created our own little border around the plant areas. We even added a little waterfall the was very cheap!

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    Registered User Contrary Housewife's Avatar
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    As summer goes along look around the more established neighborhoods and see what does well for your climate. Look for perennials you only have to plant once. Look for things that bloom at different times of the year.

    You might also build a wildflower garden. I took a very dry spot with bad soil and put in native wildflowers that thrive in those conditions. It returns or reseeds itself each year now. I didn't have to do a lot of expensive improvements to the soil.
    Use it up, Wear it out,
    Make it do, Or do without. ~unknown

    You can't always get what you want
    But if you try sometimes you just might find
    You get what you need ~Rolling Stones

    A clean house is a sign of a wasted life. ~unknown

  4. #4
    Registered User frugalfranny's Avatar
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    I may not be much help here but will add my 2 cents.....

    If you ask five different gardeners, you will get five different opinions.

    Start looking at any and all garden books.....your library will be the cheapest source. Also, walk around your area and see what other people are growing in their yard, as this can assure you that 'whatever' will grow there. KNOW YOUR ZONE for when you buy plants whether on line or in the stores.

    As for plants....ask your friends for starts or anyone that has some extra. I put a lot of mine on CL....and often for free. Run your own ad on CL for what you are looking for and if you are willing to pay or not.

    Consider making some of the things......you can make cheap trellis out of branches and if you don't have the special drill bits you can use nails. You can also make some really need bird baths out of rhubarb leaves, sand, etc. All things that are relatively cheap....when compared to the prices in the stores. I can put the info on here if you want it.....let me know.

    Go slow...don't overwhelm yourself....and take good care of the soil, prep it properly, and the plants will reward you. (a mistake I made when starting out)

    One last word of warning.....as I said...ask 5, get 5 different opinions......if you didn't 'study up' on what you called the orange lilies, I suggest you read about them. If these are the ones that are 'similar' to the day lily but can be called 'river lily' I hope you want them there for a long time. The reason I say this is that I helped a friend remove some last year.....think they had only 'established' for a couple years and they are monsters......I broke a spade getting them out...and we had everything from a spaking fork, spade, to an axe to remove them. They are pretty....but read carefully about things. (I was warned about day lilies too....and one friend won't let me near her house WITH ANY)

    Above all..........good luck and have fun!!!

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    Registered User pigtailsmom's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice-the day lilies were here when we moved in. Yes, they are overwhelming, and for now I am OK with that as at least they cover a good area that I don't really care about putting anything else there. I would like to hear about what you do with the rhubarb leaves. I do have a small bunch of that in the back. Thanks!

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    Registered User Nana2two's Avatar
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    Put a add on craigs list and feecycle for plants people are needing to clear out extra rock ect.. Thats what i did.

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    Registered User Thevail's Avatar
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    One of the way to make a real visual impact in a large yard with only a little outlay is the concept of unifying features.

    Find a great sale on a certain type/color of brick, or blocks, or pavers..whatever you decide to use. And buy a lot of them!
    Then decide on a sort of feature, it can be quite simple if you want. A certain pattern in a low wall around garden beds. Or small paths that lead between the beds etc.

    Then choose a few colors (usually three) that you really like. These don't by any means need to be the only colors in the yard flower/shrub wise, but they should be the dominant colors.

    Now you have a starting point for choosing local/native perennials which will easily flourish with very little watering or extra care.

    Make sure that every bed/area contains those main colors or themes and the architectural feature you chose.

    This will actually expand the look of the yard as it draws the eye from one area to the next. It also lends it a sense of presence because of the unified color themes, like a matching set of furniture, versus a completely mixed set. And if you find other plants, accent pieces that you love, don't be afraid to just include them. They'll act just like throw pillows or nifty curtains, or objet d'art in a living room. It makes the yard look as if it had been landscaped by a professional because those are the rules they tend to follow.

    My dad was a professional landscape artist for years!
    Last edited by Thevail; 05-25-2009 at 07:46 PM.

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    Registered User Momto2Boyz's Avatar
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    Talk to neighbors and friends about gardening. If they are thining out plants, ask them if you can have them! I am the queen of frugal gardening this way! I've gotten tons of perennials this way, including lillies and hostas that have done very well.

    If you are looking to put mulch in your flower beds, call up some tree trimming companies in your area. Most of them (at least around here) will give you mulch for free. They have to pay to dispose of it, so they are usually pretty happy to let you come and take some. They don't mulch it "super fine" like the bagged stuff, so you will have to pull out some larger chunks, but it works great for flower beds. We've been doing this for years, and I can't even tell you how much we've saved on not having to buy mulch!

    Also, depending where you are, there are some cities who give away free organic compost. Here, our yardwaste is picked up by the garbage company, and they compost it. In the spring, they give it away for free! It's pretty cool!

    And I second checking craigslist for the things you are looking for. You might be able to find some statues or small water features cheap!

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    Registered User MomToTwoBoys's Avatar
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    I second the inheritance of some thinned-out plants from friends/neighbors. My MIL thins some of her plants and brings them when she comes to visit, so I don't have to spend money later. You can also get the bulbs and seeds when they go on clearance at the end of the year, save them for the following year or even plant the bulbs in the fall (if you live in an area where they'll be fine over the winter).

    If it's an uneven area, you could stagger your planting area to have it be like levels. You could flatten one area, then dig out a retaining wall about a foot down to even it out for a bit again, then repeat.

    I'd check a book out at the library that tells you what will grow well in your area. Here, they sell books that tell you what grows well in Alberta and it's helped me out a lot. It also tells me what I'll need for types of soil (some flowers thrive more in different soils than just plain topsoil).

    This is our first year of gardening and we went for something simple and not pricey. We put in a 33inx15ft plot out front with some wire garden border, then a 33inx11ft plot on the side yard with some wire garden border there as well. I got six solar lamps for $1.99 each and they work just fine, so you can get small things like that that'll definitely make a difference in your garden's appearance. We spent $24 on border, $12 on lights, $6 on flower bulbs, $8 on seeds for things like lettuce, onions and four different herbs. I also spent $2.97 each on four 44in tomato cages, plus about $5 on each tomato plant. The potting soil that I used was a bit more pricey because with our soil conditions, it was better to cover the seeds/bulbs with a layer of moisture control soil to help promote growth. I think I spent about $13 on two bags of soil (one small and one large). I got my bulbs for $2/bag and there were about 10-12 bulbs in each bag.

    Good luck!

  10. #10
    Registered User norcalmommy's Avatar
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    See if your area has a gardening club or an ag. dept at a local university. Garden clubs and ag depts usually have a few plant sales each year. You can pick up some nice plants for a small price.

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    Registered User frugalfranny's Avatar
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    Ptail...will try to post the rhubarb leaf info on here later today...it is a way to make a bird bath that sits on the ground. Easy and fun...relatively cheap.
    There is also something called hypertuffa (spelling is close) rocks that you can do fun things with....make them any size as long as you have any sort of container for the mold. If you have seen them at nurseries, they are the rocks that are super lightwieght...but look like real rocks.

    Not sure I would worry about so many features, other than where you might want them at a later date, but draw out a plan for some flowers and where you want height as opposed to something lower (IE: you might not want something that will grow 15 feet high in front of a window)

    Nothing will be 'forever' in the garden anyway, with plants. Mother nature has a way of taking care of that....teaches us patience I guess.

    Keep us posted and take pictures of the progress....you will be glad you did. (another, of many, mistakes I made) The pics not only will remind you of the mistakes you made but will cheer you up when those days come along that you feel like you haven't made any progress at all!!

  12. #12
    Registered User pigtailsmom's Avatar
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    Thank you to everyone for the encouragement and advice! I have some iris' coming from a coworker who is thinning hers out. We planted some more bulbs, and I picked up a package of the solar lights since I like to see those in others gardens when we are out walking. It will continue to be a work in progress, but I am enjoying it!

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    Re rhubarb leaves? They're poisonous, I'd be careful what you do with them!

    Re daylilies? I was given a trashbag full when we got here and was grateful for them. These days I'm giving them away. But for lousy soil and next to no money, they were great for the past 15 or so years. I'm also keeping them as fillers in the less attractive parts of my yard, along with the mints that I planted at the same time, to try and do SOMETHING cheap.

    Try perrenial groundcovers. It takes it a bit, but they spread.

    Also, see if you have a state nursery that sells seedlings. NH does. The plants are CHEAP perrenials: bushes and trees. You have to sign up in advance for ours, but that's where I got all my rose hedges. (These days I give them away too.)

    I looked. you DO have a seedling program through your local state nursery. Here:
    http://dnr.wi.gov/Forestry/Nursery/order/

    Have fun!

    Hey, I'm jealous! YOu can SELL seeds to your state nursery. Pooh! I wish that were true here in NH....

    Judi
    Last edited by Judi Dial; 05-29-2009 at 10:20 AM.

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