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How to Save Money on Landscaping Costs

Creative Hiring and DIY Results in Saving on Home Landscape Expenses

Experts say that a well landscaped yard can add over 10% to the value of your house.  Well we're not sure of the monetary value it adds, we know that landscaping can create a great aesthetic value.  We also know that you can spend a fortune on landscaping.  We recently remodeled our landscaping for a fraction of the cost of hiring a professional.  Here are some of the things we learned.

Ways to Save on Landscaping Costs:

  • Start by crafting your plan.  Whether you are remodeling or putting in new landscaping.  Talk to friends and neighbors and get an idea of the type of yard you'd like to create.  Then go to the library or bookstore and get a few picture filled books of landscaping that are specific to your region.
  • If you are adding retaining walls or doing other heavy lifting work, have the materials delivered for a small fee.  If the work is fairly straightforward and you can do it yourself then great!  You might be able to get friends and family to help also.  If not, you can save money by hiring a young adult or two from a local high school or college.  If you need more experience, post an ad on craigslist to find someone a little more experienced.  By doing this, you'll cut out the expensive contractor and save a lot of money.
  • If you're remodeling and need to tear out trees and shrubs you can do it yourself.  Try borrowing or buying a sturdy metal cable, chain or winch and pulling the existing shrubs out.  If you can't do that, try digging them out.  Use a splitting mall to cut the roots as you dig around it.  If this doesn't work, dig around as much as you can, clean it up with a hose, and then when it dries cut it as low as you can with a chainsaw.  When you've got all the prep done it's time to plant.
  • You can save a lot of money by planting small plants.  A small bush will cost around $10.  A mature bush will cost around $100.  Plant small and save.  Plus you can transport smaller plants much easier.
  • Another way to save on plants is to order them online.  You'd think the shipping costs would be unreasonable but they aren't.  Almost every major garden store offers $25 off a $50 order.  Place an order for yourself and one for your spouse or neighbor.  We bought 9 landscaping plants for $60 that included shipping.  At our local garden store, the same plants would have cost over $125.
  • Another way to save on long term costs is to plant slow growing plants.  Some bushes (like dogwoods and many evergreens) grow fast and get very bushy.  You will have to trim these back severely each year and with evergreens, often have to replace them every 10 years as they will be too thick to trim.
  • Also, don't plant too close to the house.  Its not easy when the plant is so small, but research its full grown size and make sure you leave plenty of room.  Planting too close to the house will cause mildew and siding damage, as well as make it difficult to access the house for cleaning and other maintenance.
  • If you are adventurous, try planting multi-purpose landscaping.  For example, we planted all edible landscaping, including blueberries, cherry bushes, honeyberries, gooseberries, ligonberries and jostaberries.  They all grow in small bushes and grow slowly.  Also, the kids and birds love the berries.
  • Plant perennials.  Perennials (which come back each year) may cost a little more upfront, but they pay for themselves over and over again each year.
  • Use ground cover to control erosion. Fill retaining walls and large landscaping rock openings with perennial ground cover, such as creeping phlox (that flower and can grow anywhere).  This will not only look great, but will keep the soil from eroding.
  • Diversify your plants.  Plant many different species so that if you get a disease or your soil is not compatible with certain plants, it will not ruin your entire yard.
  • You may be interested in our ideas on how to save on remodeling.
  • Find other money saving ways.

See Also:  Ideas and Money Saving Tips