5 Inexpensive Landscaping Ideas When You're on a Tight Budget (2023)

The living space of your property encompasses much more than just the rooms in your home. With some strategic landscaping, it is possibleMaximize and beautify your garden. Even better, updating your home's curb or backyard doesn't have to cost a lot. You can really stretch the money to cover a lot of outdoor space with some inexpensive landscaping ideas.


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What is landscaping?

Landscaping describes a set of elements that can be linked together to create an inviting garden. At a basic level, landscaping can be divided into two categories: softscaping and hardscaping. Softscaping describes living elements such as flowers, shrubs, trees, and more, while hardscaping encompasses brick walkways, rock xeriscape, patios, and the like.

The best landscaping designs strike a balance between soft and hard landscaping. Savvy homeowners strike a balance between cost and impact by incorporating inexpensive landscaping ideas. One of the best ways to save money on landscaping is to go the DIY route whenever possible.

Nationally, the average cost of landscaping a 1/4 acre yard10.000 $, which includes professional design, leveling, grass seeds, planting and landscaping. Costs can increase dramatically from there. But like keeping your landscaping budget in check, there are plenty of ways to save money and still maintain great appeal.

1. Add refreshments or straw beds

5 Inexpensive Landscaping Ideas When You're on a Tight Budget (1)


Mulch adds visual interest to any garden at relatively low cost. The national average for 3 cubic yards of mulch delivered and installed is$ 275, but you can save money by doing it yourself. For smaller spaces, just a few bags of mulch will suffice.$ 4one piece can do the trick.

In addition to the aesthetic benefits of breaking up the landscape and helping to keep weeds or grass at bay, mulching has real benefits for your garden. It's particularly useful for garden beds or around the base of young trees, as it can help maintain the good moisture the plants need to thrive, while also insulating the roots. For you, that means savings on your water bill.

The most important thing to remember about mulching is that it's best to replace it annually, but the benefits of mulching can make this do-it-yourselfer worth the effort.

2. Plant perennials for year-round enjoyment

5 Inexpensive Landscaping Ideas When You're on a Tight Budget (2)


Buy once, enjoy year after year: that's the beauty of flowers and perennials. While there is an upfront cost to planting seedlings or blooming flowers, opting for perennial varieties offers plenty of colorful options in almost any climate. Over time, many perennials will spread out to fill more space, which can be a great way to add a splash of color.

To really save money in your garden, consider growing flowers and plants from seeds rather than cuttings. For example, a single Shasta daisy (a drought-resistant flower) may cost more than$ 10, but you can buy a pack of 300 Shasta Daisy seeds for less than$ 5.

It's unlikely that all the seeds will prosper, but even with less than a green thumb, most gardeners will be successful in getting some of these flowers to bloom.

3. Improve the edge of your patio

5 Inexpensive Landscaping Ideas When You're on a Tight Budget (3)


If you have an existing patio, you can expand its visual impact by minimizing the lawn that needs watering by adding a landscape buffer. It is best to dig a trench around the existing yard and fill it with mulch. Taking it a step further, landscape rocks can add a fancier touch - with the added benefit of not needing to be regularly replaced as a mulch.

Landscaping stones come in a variety of sizes and colors and can be more affordable than you might think. Decomposed granite can be available for as little as$ 25per ton, popular gravel isUS$ 30 a US$ 60per ton and cost of smooth river rocksUS$ 80 a US$ 250per ton. Additional charges may apply for average delivery and installation costs$50 to $100 per hourall over the country.

However, with the lasting impact it gives to your backyard landscape, adding rocks is a relatively inexpensive landscaping project that pays for itself year after year.


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Discover a variety of garden tools, watering equipment, decorations and much more.

4. Grow native plants that won't affect your water bill

5 Inexpensive Landscaping Ideas When You're on a Tight Budget (4)


Spending some time researching your area's native plants can save you money while helping the environment. The main reason for this is that the native plants are naturally compatible with the rainfall in your region and therefore you don't have to spend as much money to water the plants. According to the US Department of Agriculture, native plants also minimize the need for fertilizer, help prevent erosion, and keep the local ecosystem in check.

Especially in drought-prone regions of the country, this is a strategic approach that can keep your landscaping alive even during dry spells. There are benefits to using native plants in areas of extreme cold, heavy rain or other geographically unique conditions that may not be suitable for all plant species.

If you like native plants, broaden your search beyond flowers. Other native species to look out for include native ground covers, ornamental grasses, shrubs and trees.

5. Integrate xeriscape elements

5 Inexpensive Landscaping Ideas When You're on a Tight Budget (5)


Developed in drought-prone Colorado, xeriscape is an attractive landscaping option for anyone looking to reduce water use. Sophisticated xeriscape projects using many hardscaping components can be run upwards24.000 $for an entire yard. However, xeriscape doesn't have to be all or nothing to experience its benefits. By incorporating some xeriscape elements into part of your landscaping design, you can significantly reduce your irrigation costs while maintaining a low-maintenance garden.

A common misconception about xeriscape is that no greens are allowed. In fact, turf and plants are among the "Seven Principles of Xeriscape Design" because they help reduce erosion. Other suggested xeriscape elements include mulch, sand, landscape rock, concrete, and even water features.

Some inexpensive and easy do-it-yourself xeriscape projects include adding a gravel path, creating a dry creek bed with river rocks, and expanding your yard's mulch area. It islandscaping ideasit can look good for your garden and be good for the environment.

When to call a landscaper

Duringlandscapingit can be a DIY project, doesn't mean it should be. considerHire a landscape gardenerwhen you don't have the time, the right tools, or the inclination to do your own landscaping work. This can be helpful if you have a particularly large yard or don't know what kind of maintenance is needed.


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What is the least expensive landscaping material? ›

But what are the cheapest landscaping rocks? The cheapest landscaping rock available is pea gravel. This is a versatile landscaping rock that looks great for many types of landscaping, including driveways.

How can I beautify my yard on a budget? ›

Beautify Your Lawn on a Budget
  1. Buy perennials. In addition to their beauty, perennials are popular for good reason - they return each year. ...
  2. Divide your plants. ...
  3. Make and lay your own stepping stones. ...
  4. Search for free mulch. ...
  5. The best low cost lawn on the block.
May 24, 2017

What is the cheapest ground cover for landscaping? ›

Speaking of gravel, pea gravel is one of the cheapest and easiest ground covers to lay and complements all styles of plot.

What is a realistic budget for landscaping? ›

Landscaping costs $4 to $12 per square foot, on average, for basic and intermediate services. A full makeover including landscaping design and remodeling can cost up to $40 per square foot. Basic and intermediate services may include planting grass or flowers, lawn care and thatching.

What is cheapest mulch or rocks? ›

Lower Cost: Because they're longer lasting, it is generally less expensive to mulch with rocks.

What is the best low maintenance ground cover? ›

The Best Low-Maintenance Ground Cover Plants for Your Property
  • Coral Bells (Heuchera)
  • Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum)
  • Brass Buttons (Cotula coronopifolia)
  • Creeping Phlox (Phlox stolonifera)
  • Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia)
  • Stonecrop (Sedum)
  • Periwinkle (Vinca minor)
  • Dead Nettles (Lamium)
Jan 10, 2023

How can I make my front yard look rich? ›

10 Ways to Make Your Outdoor Space Look Expensive
  1. Mow Your Lawn. ...
  2. Pick A Decor Style. ...
  3. Coordinate Furniture. ...
  4. Create Distinct Areas. ...
  5. Add Lighting. ...
  6. Make a Grand Entrance. ...
  7. Add Decor. ...
  8. Make Repairs.

What is the easiest ground cover? ›

In addition to its fragrant spring blooms, lily-of-the-valley is one of the easiest groundcovers to grow. It's perfect in a shady spot under a big tree in your backyard because it tolerates dry conditions well.

What is the cheapest landscape edging? ›

Plastic edging

Additionally, plastic is one of the most affordable edging options, making it a good choice for temporary gardens.

What do most landscapers charge per hour? ›

A landscaping professional can help you maximize your landscaping budget and provide expert help with your landscape planning. The cost of services from a landscape pro can range from $50 to $150 per hour.

What is the most profitable part of landscaping? ›

“The general rule of thumb with this strategy is to strive to break even on maintenance and then make the most profit from enhancements, irrigation, and lawn care. Traditionally, mowing and mulching are the two least profitable landscaping services—and at the bottom line may actually be unprofitable.”

How much do most landscapers charge? ›

Landscape labor costs range from $50 to $100 per hour. If you plan to work with a landscape designer or architect, your labor cost may approach $200 per hour. Landscaping pricing per square foot can range between $4 and $12.

How much does a 50 lb bag of rock cover? ›


What is the best landscaping material around foundation? ›

The best materials to landscape around a foundation will inhibit weed growth, provide a proper water drainage system, and won't attract pests. With years of landscaping experience, we have determined that the four best landscaping materials around foundation are gravel, rubber mulch, concrete, and brick masonry.

Does mulch attract termites? ›

Does Mulch Attract Termites? While the material itself does not draw termites to the area, mulch spread over three inches deep creates an inviting habitat for the pests. Layers of organic matter trap heat and moisture next to the ground. Termites use this thick mulch as shelter from harsh weather.

How much does it cost to landscape 2000 square feet? ›

Landscaping cost estimator by yard size
Project SizeTypical overall cost (materials and installation)
1000 sq. ft.$4,500 – $17,000
1500 sq. ft.$6,750 – $25,500
2000 sq. ft.$9,000 – $34,000
3000 sq. ft$13,500 – $51,000
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Jan 24, 2023

What is better than mulch? ›

Rock, gravel, pebbles and other stones can be applied to landscaping features such as flowerbeds to suppress weed growth and retain moisture. Rock is economical and seldom needs replacement. It also complements modern architectural features and more minimalist landscaping.

What ground cover will choke out weeds? ›

Vinca minor, commonly referred to as periwinkle, is a popular trailing groundcover plant. It will choke out weeds while gracing a garden with dainty, periwinkle blooms in the spring and a mat of shiny, ivy-like foliage all season long.

What can I cover ground with to stop weeds? ›

Use mulch (shredded leaves, brown cardboard, straw, or wood chips) to cover the soil around your plants! This covering blocks weed seeds from sunlight so they don't germinate, inhibits growth underneath itself, and retains moisture.

What is a pretty ground cover? ›

Ferns come in an array of shapes, sizes, and colors. Planted in groupings, it makes a lovely ground cover. It prefers moist ground, drought-tolerant once established, and needs full shade. The petite white star-shaped flowers provide a nice contrast to the deciduous green foliage.

What is the cheapest thing to replace grass? ›

Mulch is a low-cost, low-maintenance, attractive alternative to grass that adds color to your yard, limits weed growth and helps to control erosion. You may be able to find free or low-cost mulch through local programs or from tree trimmers in your area.

How do you make a no mow lawn? ›

Creeping Perennials

Ground-hugging perennials like vinca, thyme, and creeping Jenny make an excellent no-mow lawn cover. If you plant a mixture of spring and summer bloomers, you'll have changing color throughout the season—a feast for the eyes.

What makes a house look expensive exterior? ›

Give it a personalized and trendy vibe with perfectly hued walls. Why not move beyond boring browns and beiges and add a luxurious feel with pops of contrasting color -smoky charcoals, sharp black, and even a pop of a saturated red or blue!

What can I use instead of a flower bed? ›

Some have been mentioned previously, such as having a lawn instead of flower beds. Other landscaping ideas to reduce maintenance are: Mulch planting beds heavily with fall leaves. As the leaves decompose they will enrich the soil and help reduce weeds.

What flower spreads quickly? ›

Tall garden phlox (​Phlox paniculata​, zones 4-8), delphinium (​Delphinium​ spp., zones 5-9) and bee balm (​Monarda​ spp., zones 4-9) are all fast spreaders, especially if the soil conditions are right. A good way to encourage perennials to spread fast is to top dress the soil with 3 inches of compost in early spring.

What is the best ground cover to walk on? ›

Sedum. Heat- and drought-resistant, sedum groundcovers are ideal for sunny, exposed locations. These tough-as-nails plants require very little attention and are strong enough to handle foot traffic.

What shrubs are good for ground cover? ›

You can choose from evergreens such as prostrate junipers (Juniperus horizontalis) and heathers (Calluna vulgaris), and deciduous types (that lose their leaves in autumn) such as Cotoneaster horizontalis. Ground-cover shrubs suppress weed growth with their dense stems and foliage.

What is the best and easiest landscape edging? ›

Aluminum or steel edging is great for straight-line areas; it won't rust, rot or become brittle. It's installed with stakes and can be molded into shapes and curves.

What is the easiest landscape edging? ›

No-dig edging is the easiest to install, since all you typically have to do is pound stakes into the ground. On the other end of the spectrum, stone or brick edging will require using mud mortar and sometimes even cutting the stone with an angle grinder to make the joints fit together.

What can I use instead of landscape edging? ›

Other Alternatives

"Sunset" recommends planting attractive edibles along sunny garden paths. Alternatively, gardeners can mix edibles such as herbs, eggplant or peppers with native plants or grasses. Groundcovers can also be used as natural edging since they help suppress weed formation and prevent soil erosion.

Can you negotiate price with landscapers? ›

Negotiating is reasonable. It's good business. And no contractor that is in business for the long haul should be offended by the questions or negotiating of a price. But you need to be careful that you don't lose a good project over a few dollars.

Should I tell landscaper my budget? ›

Don't Be Afraid to Discuss Your Budget with Your Landscape Contractor. Discussing a realistic budget is usually the most awkward part of a meeting with a landscape contractor. Mostly because of not knowing what landscaping costs are and the hidden hear that a $ figure could possibly inflate a quote.

How much do landscapers charge a day? ›

How Much Does a Landscape Gardener Cost in 2022? Most landscaping specialists quote on a per-project basis after viewing. The ones working hourly on average charge £25-£50 an hour per person with an average daily rate of £200-£400.

What are the 5 types of services for landscaping? ›

Understanding different types of landscaping services will help you offer a professional landscape program to your customers.
  • In-depth lawn bed maintenance. ...
  • Spring or fall maintenance. ...
  • Pruning. ...
  • Hedging. ...
  • Lawn protect and feed. ...
  • Start-up and shut-down irrigation system. ...
  • Seasonal display.
Nov 10, 2021

How do landscapers make money in the winter? ›

It may not be the lavish profits of full designs and construction projects, but it's income you can take advantage of through the slow season.
  1. Snow Removal. The most typical off-season work for landscapers is snow removal. ...
  2. Planet Trees and Shrubs. ...
  3. Christmas Lights Installation. ...
  4. Leaf Removal. ...
  5. Training and designing.

Does good landscaping increase home value? ›

Landscaping not only increases curb appeal, but can give real estate properties a 15 percent increase in value, says a Virginia Tech study. The study discovered that the perceived value of a home is affected by plant size, type, and design in landscaping.

Do landscapers expect tips? ›

Lawn care workers and landscapers

It's impractical and unnecessary to tip the guys who mow your lawn every week, though it's nice to put a pitcher of cold water out for the workers. If the same crew arrives every Thursday, at the end of the season you can show your appreciation with $20 to $50 cash tip each.

Are landscapers worth it? ›

A landscaper is often worth the money, especially for projects that involve both time and talent. Here are the best and worst projects for hiring out. Hiring a landscaper can remove a major headache from both ongoing lawn maintenance and one-time makeover projects in your yard.

What can I use instead of landscape fabric? ›

Best Landscaping Fabric Alternatives
  • Wood chips.
  • Bark mulches.
  • Pine needles.
  • Shredded leaves.
  • Grass clippings.
  • Compost.
  • Newspaper.
  • Cardboard.
Jun 17, 2022

Is mulch or gravel cheaper? ›

Rock is more expensive than bark mulch. The cost of rock mulch varies, depending on the type and size, but generally costs two to three times more than an application of mulch. But remember, it doesn't break down and disappear into the soil like bark mulch does.

What is the cheapest fill rock? ›

Pros and Cons of Pea Gravel

The most significant benefit of pea gravel is the price. It's the cheapest option compared to other types of landscaping rocks. It's also easy to find and doesn't require professional installation. Pea gravel is versatile and can be used in many different ways.

What kills weeds forever? ›

Using Bleach to Kill Weeds Permanently

Apply one cup of bleach, undiluted, to the afflicted area. Wait until the weeds turn brown before pulling them out of the ground. Run water around the area to flush the bleach, especially if you are trying to grow plants or grass in that area.

What can I put under my rocks to keep weeds away? ›

Landscape fabric creates a barrier between the rocks and soil. When it comes time to remove the stones, you can quickly shovel them off the fabric instead of digging them out of the ground. The fabric also prevents weeds from cropping up between the small stones.

What is the lowest maintenance landscaping? ›

Succulents and gravel are a low-maintenance match made in heaven. Cimino often incorporates succulents, which require significantly less maintenance compared to other plants, but still offer a vibrant pop of green. Succulents also give your landscaping a sculptural quality that you can't get with regular grass lawn.

What do professional landscapers use for edging? ›

Landscape Edging Using Edging Materials

These materials can include natural stone, cobblestone pavers, wood, metal, plastic, concrete, and brick. Each material gives a different look and has different pros and cons.

How much does a 50 lb bag of gravel cover? ›

Compare Similar Concrete Aggregates
current product
Product Weight (lb.) 506010 lb
Coverage Area (cu. ft.) 0.5 cu ft.5 cu ft0.09 cu ft
Rapid Setting
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8 more rows

How much does 1 yard of gravel look like? ›

When Gravel or Dirt suppliers ask how many yards you need they are talking about a cubic yard. A cubic yard is a measurement that is 3 feet by 3 feet by 3 feet. A cubic yard measures volume where a ton measures weight.

What are inexpensive stones for landscaping? ›

Three of the cheapest landscape rocks on the market are crushed granite, pea gravel and river rocks. Each one has multiple functions while improving the look of your landscaping design. If you're planning a DIY project on a tight budget, these are great hardscape options for beauty and function.

What is the cheapest fill material? ›

Fill dirt is one of the most affordable materials for construction and landscaping that is available on the market.


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