A home's landscaping does more than give you a great view out of the window, and can be a major selling point to potential buyers if your home is on the market. While a total overhaul of your lawn, trees and flowers may not be in the budget, there are ways to landscape that escalates savings and potential resale value. Considering a well landscaped yard can increase the value of your property up to 15%, a new shrub may be just the boost you need.
Before You Buy Plants
Saving money on new landscaping begins before you buy your first plant. Take time to get to know your local growing conditions, as this can have a huge impact on the life of your plants. Using plants native to your area is the safest way to ensure your new yard will take to the soil and thrive. Do your research about the soil conditions in your area, and which plants grow best in it. If you buy $10,000 worth of plants that can't stand your soil, you've immediately wasted your money.
Be careful who you consult. Research online, at a library or at a local college. Talking to a salesman at a home improvement store may leave you feeling pressured to buy before you're ready, which can be particularly problematic if you don't know whether the plants will work at your home or not. Imported, exotic plants are expensive and will likely require more upkeep, so make sure the plants you consider can be obtained locally. When you're calculating how many plants you may need to fill a certain area, remember that your plants are going to grow. Save money and space by factoring in their growth potential when planning ground cover, shrubs, perennial flowers and other horizontally growing vegetation.
Choose wisely between annuals and perennials. Annuals will bloom and die within the course of a year, meaning they'll need to be replaced next season. They are, however, less expensive and available in wide varieties. On the other hand, perennials will last you season after season, requiring less work on your part. Just be prepared to spend a little more on your initial investment. After they begin to grow, you can often split perennials into multiple plants, making them even more of a great choice for anyone who knows they'll want the same plants for years.
Buying Plants on a Budget
When it comes time to make your plant purchases, you'll want to make sure you're getting the best deal for your money. As landscaping costs should total 5 to 10% of the value of your home, this can easily become a well-planned investment strategy or a quick way to lose thousands. Check all of your local nurseries and home improvement centers to find the best deal on the plants you've selected. Then compare their prices to online nurseries. Just be sure to factor in the cost of shipping. Don't be tempted by the convenience of a nearby store if you can stick to your budget by shopping online. While you may not buy everything at a nursery or home improvement center, it is a good idea to ask about their sales. The price of specific plants, trees and flowers may be lowered during certain times of the year, meaning you could snag a great deal on the plants you want if you're tuned in to their schedule. The easiest way to dramatically cut the cost of your landscaping is to grow your new yard from seed. You will be waiting a while for your lawn, flowers and other plants to grow, but the expanded budget and pride of watching your new yard spring to life can be well worth the necessary patience.
Landscape Maintenance on a Budget
Once you've picked out your new plants, found the perfect spot and located the best deal, it's time to make sure maintenance doesn't become your next financial burden. Take each plant's needs into mind. Consider the time, money and effort required to keep that new lawn green. Do you really need tropical plants in a desert environment? Drought tolerant plants are a great way to reduce watering costs, and are perfect for xeriscaping--landscaping that requires no additional water aside from rainfall. If your area is naturally rainy, then planting local plants will ensure they'll get all the water they need (with maybe a little help from drip line irrigation) without a water-wasting sprinkler system. If you prefer the look of a lush lawn to spiny succulents, then let your grass grow to at least two inches long before mowing. Higher grass can collect more sunlight, allowing it to grow healthier and stronger. Keeping your lawn short and mowing it frequently actually damages it, leading to dead patches and increased weed activity.
The Bottom Line
If you're looking to slash the cost of landscaping your yard, you'll need to dedicate some serious research time, visit plenty of plant retailers and pick up a new online shopping habit. Knowing as much as possible about what will and won't grow in your area can spare you a frustrating season of dead and dying plants as well as a completely wasted budget. Once you've picked which plants you want, shop around until you find the best deal in-store or online. Finally, keep maintenance in mind. Certain plants will cost you far more time and money to keep healthy, making them a much larger investment than you may have thought.