Budget Landscaping

Budget-conscious & ecofriendly ideas for turning your yard into an organic paradise.

December 9, 2010

Budget landscaping fits right into the organic principles - gardening the right way for a specific location is a much better guarantee of success than trying to force a garden or work to grow plants that don't thrive in your environment. That said, here are eight great ideas, gathered from our sources around the country, for a better garden on a budget:

Establish A Good Idea Of Your Goals
Visit public gardens, take snapshots of favorite gardens, tear our magazine photos - then make a list of desired plants, where they will go, and stick to it. Ask a neighbor for advice - gardeners love to share, especially from a gardener in an admired garden.

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Make Your Own Fertilizer
Why have your grass clippings, leaves, and garbage hauled away - then buy fertilizer? Make a compost pile for next to nothing - with some recycled chicken wire, old hay bales, etc.

What's Free?
Leaves, grass, wood clippings from your municipality, coffee grounds from local cafes, shredded newspaper - anything biodegradable except animal byproducts. Check consdtruction sites for free bricks & stones for paths & borders. Look for website bargains such as deals on trees through the National Arbor Day Foundation.

Use What You Have (Or Scrounge)
Grow seedlings in egg shells (those not headed for the compost pile), or use any small containers or egg cartons. Plant the seedlings right in the egg shells. Make a wall-o-water out of plastic jugs, make a cloche from a milk jug, use discarded dresser drawers/old toolboxes as containers, recycle salvage window frames into cold frames.

Get the Most Mileage From Your Plant Choices
Choose vegetables with the best yield such as climbing peas and other varieties that grow vertically, grow plants that are lovely and attract beneficials & butterflies. Maximize your garden - Pay a water bill - choose drought tolerant plants that thrive in your zone.

Hook Up With A Gardening Buddy
Share seeds, tools, buy bulk products that you can split such as potting mix, less expensive in large size. Join a local garden club or check with your extension office to find a garden buddy. Approach like-minded neighbors about sharing costs of bulk items or machinery rental fees.

Expand Your Plant Horizons
By finding alternative ways to get new plants - look for plant swaps, garden club plant sales, exchange plants with a friend or arrange a neighborhood plant exchange. Inspect all plants for diseases & insect problems. Mailorder plants are smaller than those in nurseries, but are usually less expensive. Arboretums & botanical gardens often hold plant sales.

Buy When Prices Are Low
Perennials in the fall for example and trees shrubs mulch & soil are all less expensive late in the season. Lumber is less expensive in the winter - if you are planning to build raised beds or a deck (buy untreated lumber).

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