As spring and summer approach we begin to think of ways to freshen up our lawns. This may seem like a daunting task, especially when you are trying to accomplish a lot on a small budget. You do not have to hire a landscaper to achieve the ultimate curb appeal. With a little savvy shopping and some elbow grease you can create a beautiful outdoor look for your home.
One of the first things to do is CLEAN! This may seem silly when you are talking about your outdoors but a little sweeping and raking really makes a great difference. Decide which plants made it through the winter months and get rid of the ones that didn’t. Get a pair of pruning shears and even out your shrubs and trees as well. You will be amazed at what a little clean up can do, and it’s absolutely FREE! This will also help you to better assess what it is that you want to add, buy or change for your lawn.
Look For Clearance Plants
If you wait until after the first few weeks of the “plant buying season” you will notice that there is a cart of clearanced plants in the corner of the garden center. Be sure to browse here first. Almost every year I buy a few plants and even bushes from the discount area. Some of the plants are not salvageable but most of them just need a bit of TLC and they are good as new. For example if there is a pretty Snapdragon or Impatiens plant with some wilted or browned leaves, pull off the dead pieces and add a little treated water with some plant food such as Miracle Grow.
Check The Dollar Stores!
Every year I scan Dollar Tree and Dollar General for cute garden accessories, gloves, pots and even seeds! I have some beautiful bulbs that come up each year that I only paid $1.00 for! The best thing about them is that each year they multiply underground and give me more beauty every summer! So don’t forget your dollar stores!
Grab a Coupon For The Craft Stores!
I love a cute Garden Flag or Door Wreath!! Michael’s and AC Moore always have a great weekly coupon for 40% off any regular priced item. Look for gardening items at your local craft store to add some style to your flower bed!
In my experience I have found that mulch can really add a finished look around your trees, shrubs and flower beds. It is also much cheaper than stone or rock. I also love the smell of fresh mulch in the spring. Something about it just feels like that yard is clean and presentable for the summer months ahead. There are many different kinds and colors of mulch. Most mulch will fade, especially the cheaper versions. I don’t worry about this too much as we refresh it every year with a few new bags. There is a style of mulch to fit any budget. I usually find my large bags for about $3.00ea. If you are starting from scratch you will need quite a bit which will of course drive your bill up, but in the years ahead you will not need to purchase as much to freshen it up. You can check Lowe’s for your mulch needs!
I have a few outdoor iron rod items that include a garden flag holder and planter shelf. After a few years they started to look old and a bit dingy. I didn’t want to purchase brand new if I didn’t have to so I found a few cans of spray paint and voila! New Again! A can of spray paint is a much cheaper option than buying all new garden products. The same can go for your outdoor seating. They now have an array of outdoor spray paints available for all materials from plastic and wood to metal. Look for ways to reuse what you have and make it chic again! Check Walmart for your next can of spray paint!
I love adding new trees and shrubs to the yard but I do not love the price! The more mature of a plant that you buy the more you will pay for it. If you do not need the matured bush or tree, buy it in the “baby” form. Buying smaller less mature plants will save you money and the end result is the same. You will just have to be more patient while letting them grow and flourish.
Shop at the End Of The Season
You can score a great deal on lawn items at the end of the summer! Find deals on anything from outdoor cushions to garden fencing! Sometimes they can be as low as 50% off of the regular price! So if there is a high priced item that you are longing for, just wait a few weeks until the price drops and grab it!
Arrange a Potted Plant Yourself
I love a big outdoor potted arrangement! They make a great accent for any front door. Unfortunately they can cost quite a bit pre-made. Putting one together yourself will save you a lot! Grab a good planter pot on sale, a bag of potting soil and then scan for some reasonably priced plants of different colors and sizes. You will want to start with your main large focal point plant. Then look for a few accent plants that are a bit shorter to plant around the main plant. Last I like to grab some Ivy or any other plant that will drape down from the sides of the pot. I usually put together two of these each year and place them on either side of my front door. If this is all the gardening you do, it will still look amazing.
Outdoor Lighting on The Cheap!
Lining your flower beds or walkways with solar lights give a great evening look to your yard. I usually grab the small ones from Walmart for only $.97 cents each! Bring them in for the winter if you live in an area with harsh winter weather. I usually have to replace one or two each year but most will last more than one season. This is a great deal when it looks so nice for such a low price!
Pick the Right Plants For Your Yard
If you do not pay attention to the lighting and shade in your yard you may be throwing money in the trash when buying plants. Check each plant label at the store to see if it needs shade or full sun. Then think of what area of the yard it would do best. If it is a full sun plant it may need to be put further out into the yard to avoid shading. I have made the mistake of putting a shade plant in full sun, only to kill the plant with too much light and heat.
In addition you may want to invest in Perennials. Perennials will flourish in the spring and summer and die back in the winter months, to return again with the warm weather. They may cost more BUT it’s a great investment, unlike Annuals, you will not have to replace them each year! Buy them one time!
Reuse Natural Items Around Your Home
Look around your house, garage or yard for any extra bricks, stones or wood. You may be able to use these to line the perimeter and add a finishing touch to your garden instead of a garden fence. Or use a large rock as a decorative stepping stone. We have a lot of natural stone in our area and were able to pull some large stone from our backyard to accent our flowerbeds for FREE! Take a look, get creative and save money beautifying your lawn!