You've finally decided it's time to start that big landscaping project for your home. You've got the dimensions of your yard, you know the local zoning rules, you've found your inspiration from various magazines and books, and now it's time to call a landscape professional to determine how much it's all going to cost. Here's a heads-up: it is going to hurt, a lot.

TUTORIAL: How To Buy Your First Home

The landscaping bill for materials and labor can be quite staggering, especially if you've allocated most for your income toward your mortgage and other home expenses. However, with a little bit of creativity, resourcefulness and ingenuity, you can maximize your home's curb appeal without spending a fortune.

Set a Budget
When setting a budget for your home landscaping, the general rule is to set aside 10% of your home's value.

How To Buy Furniture On A Budget
6 Simple Solutions For Organizing On A Budget
Tips For Outdoor Decorating On A Budget

That amount of money may be a little hard to come by for most people, so it's important to determine your overall costs. Talk to friends and neighbors to see how much they have spent on their landscaping. Decide what you can afford to scrimp and save on, and what you need to purchase no matter what the price is. You can also talk to professionals and ask for estimates to get an idea of how much you would need to spend to accomplish your goals. With all this information, you can determine a budget for your landscaping project.

Make a Plan
You know your budget for your landscaping project, now it's time to make a plan for how you're going to accomplish your goals without stretching that budget. Split your yard into sections, and prioritize which sections are the most important. Completing your landscaping project in phases will allow you to work at a pace that is suitable for your budgetary needs.

Oftentimes, money is wasted on poorly planned landscaping projects and overextending resources. If your budget can barely meet the needs of building a covered patio, you should probably hold off on repaving the driveway until the patio has been completed. Plus, there is always the possibility of an unexpected expense occurring in the middle of a project. Having multiple, unfinished sections of your yard can leave your home looking like a disaster, and might pressure you into making poor decisions that will drastically affect your budget. A solid plan for your landscaping project will help you avoid costly mistakes.

Reuse and Restore
A quick scan of your yard tells you that your old garden furniture needs to go. Before you decide to throw out that decrepit picnic table or rusted set of lawn chairs, think of ways you can restore your furniture rather than replace it. Vibrant paint colors can bring new life to old garden furniture, and by using the same paint on your pots, doors and fences, you can create an entirely new look for your garden without having to spend money to replace anything. Refresh your old lawn chairs and patio sofas with new fabrics around the cushions, and cover an old patio table with a new tablecloth. Look for clearances at fabric stores, or check your home for old materials you can reuse on your garden furniture.

Have a pile of junk taking up space in your garage or yard? Be creative and think of ways you can reuse that junk in your garden. This can save you money on your yard, while helping the environment by creating less waste. Gather vintage items and collectibles of a matching theme, and cluster them together around your yard as garden décor. Use old kitchen pots or plastic storage bins as plant containers. Broken cement pieces, old lumber and bricks can be used around your yard for borders, stepping stones or walkways.

Low-Cost Plants
Nurseries and garden stores aren't the only places to find plants for your yard. Check your local supermarket for low-cost plants and flowers. If you don't want to spend any money, try trading plants or plant cuttings with a neighbor to add new plants or flowers to your garden. Also, look for drought-tolerant plants. Although they tend to cost a bit more, the fact that they require less water can save you money on your water bill in the long run.

Smart Shopping
Knowing when to shop is just as important as knowing where to shop. Keep an eye out for major sales at your local home and garden retailers and department stores. Trees and plants sold late in the season tend to be cheaper as retailers try to get rid of them. Check various nurseries for any dying or damaged plants they may be willing to sell you at a discount, and revive them for your garden.

Alternative Resources
There are places other than your local home improvement store to find materials for your landscaping needs. Quarries and lumber yards are great places to check for affordable lumber and landscaping stones. Talk to the manager to see if you can get a discount for buying materials in bulk, and if you're lucky, you may be able to obtain unwanted or excess materials at a low cost. Construction sites, yard sales, estate sales, online marketplaces and reuse stores offer used items and materials that you can put to good use in your yard.

Hire a Pro
Sometimes hiring a professional landscaper will save you more money than doing the work by yourself. Certain tasks may require the right person with the right skill level and the right set of tools. Trying to complete a difficult part of your landscaping project without the proper tools or experience can lead to extra costs, not to mention the possibility of serious injury. Imagine spending time and money building a new gazebo, then realizing you are unable to complete construction midway through the project. Now you have a useless, wooden eyesore in the middle of your yard. If you aren't confident in completing a certain task, find a professional who is.

The Bottom Line
While it would be easier to hire an expensive contractor to fulfill your landscaping needs, you can have a lot more fun completing the job yourself while staying within an affordable budget. Look at your yard as a blank canvas where you can express your creativity and artistic design, and take pleasure in watching your landscaping ideas come to life. To make a budget landscaping job even more enjoyable, encourage your friends and family to lend a helping hand. Rather than hiring professionals to do all the work, take pride in the time, sweat and effort you put into making your home more beautiful while saving some money at the same time.

Related Articles
  1. Budgeting

    How To Save Money When Moving

    Moving doesn't have to be as expensive as you think. Here are some great ways to save money on moving costs.
  2. Budgeting

    The Hard Way We Pay For Convenience

    Convenience is a luxury. However, any cost-conscious individual should be aware of these ridiculous ways we pay for convenience and how to avoid them.
  3. Home & Auto

    5 Luxurious Ways to Boost Your Home's Resale Value

    Not all renovations are created equal. Here are five that are most likely to make a property appreciate (and be appreciated by househunters).
  4. Personal Finance

    Choosing An In-Home Safe: Features To Look For

    What to look for in a box to protect your irreplaceable belongings.
  5. Budgeting

    How to Cost Effectively Spend on Baby Clothes

    Don't let your baby's wardrobe derail your budget. These top tips help you to save money and spend wisely on baby clothes.
  6. Personal Finance

    College Students are Failing Financial Literacy

    Financial trends among college students are a cause for concern, prompting a renewed emphasis on financial literacy.
  7. Home & Auto

    Top 5 Home Renos For Your Money

    Here are five renovations that return most of your investment when it’s time to sell your home.
  8. Budgeting

    6 Cost-Effective Tips for Raising Your First Child

    The excitement of welcoming your first child to your family shouldn't prevent you from making good cost-effective decisions.
  9. Budgeting

    5 Ways to Date on a Budget

    Dating on a budget doesn't have to be boring. Try these 5 tips to find the best dates on a budget.
  10. Budgeting

    7 Kids Items You Should Never Buy Used

    Buying secondhand items is a great way to save money, but these seven kids items should not be bought used.
  1. How does a bank determine what my discretionary income is when making a loan decision?

    Discretionary income is the money left over from your gross income each month after taking out taxes and paying for necessities. ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the range of deductibles offered with various health insurance plans?

    A wide range of possible deductibles are available with health insurance plans, starting as low as a few hundred dollars ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How do I know how much of my income should be discretionary?

    While there is no hard rule for how much of a person's income should be discretionary, Inc. magazine points out that it would ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What proportion of my income should I put into my demand deposit account?

    Generally speaking, aim to keep between two months and six months worth of your fixed expenses in your demand deposit accounts. ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How do I use the rule of 72 to estimate compounding periods?

    The rule of 72 is best used to estimate compounding periods that are factors of two (2, 4, 12, 200 and so on). This is because ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How much risk is associated with subprime mortgages?

    A large amount of risk is associated with subprime mortgages. Since the mortgages are specifically for people who do not ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Section 1231 Property

    A tax term relating to depreciable business property that has been held for over a year. Section 1231 property includes buildings, ...
  2. Term Deposit

    A deposit held at a financial institution that has a fixed term, and guarantees return of principal.
  3. Zero-Sum Game

    A situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss, so that the net change in wealth or benefit is zero. ...
  4. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
  5. Gross Profit

    A company's total revenue (equivalent to total sales) minus the cost of goods sold. Gross profit is the profit a company ...
  6. Revenue

    The amount of money that a company actually receives during a specific period, including discounts and deductions for returned ...
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!