Cheap Landscaping Ideas or How Not To Spend a Fortune On Your Yard

Cheap Landscaping Ideas that will help you save money on your yard

Cheap Landscaping Ideas

Almost all of us can use some cheap landscaping ideas.  According to, the average American spends approximately $3,900 for basic landscaping services. The cost increases drastically if any repairs are needed to existing structures in your yard (deck, walkway).  It climbs even higher if new structures are installed, such as a gazebo or patio.


However, if you are like many people, you cannot justify spending this amount of money to improve your yard's appearance. Thankfully, there are inexpensive landscaping ideas that can help you get the beautiful yard you desire at a price you can afford.

Follow the tips below to implement your cheap landscaping ideas and you might even save enough money to take that dream vacation this summer.

Have a Plan:

cheap landscaping ideas

​The best way to control the costs of any project is to have a plan.  Your plan should start with a budget.  Knowing ahead of time how much you have to spend will help you make and stick with your decisions about what plants and/or building materials you will purchase.

Your plan doesn't have to be anything elaborate.  After you establish your budget, draw the outline of your house on a simple piece of graph paper.  Use the grid to try to keep your drawing fairly close to scale, but don't sweat it too much. 

Draw squares, circles, rectangles or whatever shapes work for you on the paper to represent where you want to place your plantings and structures.  Again, use the grid to try to keep things to scale.  Allow for future growth of you plantings.  A young tree planted too close to the house will be a major problem when it grows too big for the space.

While making your plan, keep in mind items like tools, mulch, landscape fabric, edging material, fertilizer and any other items you will need to complete the project.  Research the costs of all these items before heading to the nursery or home center.  If any of these items are too expensive, look for ways to change your design before increasing the budget.

Consider Alternatives To Expensive Nurseries and Home Centers For Planting Materials:

cheap landscaping ideas

Many local gardening groups will have plant sales in the early spring.  If you don’t know of any these groups you can look for them online by searching for local gardening forums.  You can also call your county extension office, ask at local nurseries, check with the local library or ask any friends or relatives you may know who are involved with gardening or landscaping.   

You can usually pick up plants at these sales for a fraction of the price at the nursery or garden center.  An added bonus is you can network with local gardeners and growers who may be able turn you on to other sources for inexpensive planting materials.

Another possible free source would be to ask any friends, neighbors or relatives who have gardens or landscape plantings that you admire if they would mind giving you cuttings from some of their favorite plants.  Many plants can be rooted and grown from cutting.

Don’t forget about growing plants from seeds.   Many attractive plants and flowers that you buy in containers from the nurseries can actually be grown from seed.  All too often we pay a huge premium for the instant impact and appeal of planting a mature plant over the more time consuming method of growing plants directly from seed.

A single specimen plant can often cost as much as $20 or more, while a packet of 50 seeds for the same plant will usually run well under $5.  Doing the math can make having a little patience much easier.  50 X $20 each equals $1000, those same 50 plants from seeds equals under $5.

If you have or want to incorporate trees into your landscaping plan, it may well be worth your while to become a member of The National Arbor Day Foundation. For the $10 membership fee, you will receive 10 free trees that are shipped directly to your home at no cost.

Reuse Items You Already Have:       

Cheap landscaping ideas

If you already own patio furniture, planters, and other decorative yard items, consider giving them a face lift. It is actually quite simple to refinish metal and wooden furniture resulting in a whole new look. Add new cushions or pillows to make it look even better. Flower pots and planters can be painted to give them a completely fresh appearance.

Another cheap landscaping idea involves purchasing second hand furniture and decorations at yard sales, thrift shops, and on Craigslist. Then, simply refinish them for a whole new look. You may also be able to find potting soil and mulch being sold by a person who has bought too much at these places too.

Be Willing To Get Your Hands Dirty and Do The Work   Yourself:

cheap landscaping ideas

The single biggest cost of any landscaping job done by professionals is usually the cost of labor.  If you’re willing to do the work yourself, you can expect to save a minimum of 50% over any estimates given by the pros, and perhaps as much as 75%.

For a large job that you can’t do by yourself, why not fire up the grill, put a few beers and sodas on ice and invite some friends and family over to give you a hand.  Once it’s done you can have a cookout and a few drinks to relax with friends and celebrate a job well done and all the money you saved.

Remember though, there may be some jobs where you may have to go to the pros.  Anything involving electrical or plumbing work may be beyond your skills to do properly.  Hardscape items like decks and patios need to be level and often decks need to meet local building code to ensure they’re safe and able to handle the weight load of furniture, planters and large groups of people standing and sitting on them.  Keep in mind that putting a hot tub on your deck requires special reinforcing of the deck.

But, just because you don’t have those special skills yourself doesn’t automatically mean you have to spend a fortune to get the job done.  Most of us have family members or friends who have those skills or knows someone who does.  You might be able to get them to help you at a reduced rate or barter or trade something in exchange for the work.  It always pays to keep your options open.

Your Hardscapes Don’t Have To Cost a Fortune:

cheap landscaping ideas