8 Tips for DIY Landscaping – How to Save Money by Not Hiring a Decorator

Conserving your hard-earned resources is your biggest concern. It’s taken a lot of effort for you to have your own schedule, so it’s understandable that you would want to put in the same effort to beautify your landscape. Although DIY landscaping can be done little by little, there are a few steps that need to be followed to make your landscaping project successful.

a cozy terrace landscaping

Whether you have a little or a lot of landscaping knowledge, your key focus should be on buying materials that can make your investment worthwhile. If you’re determined to do your DIY landscaping project on a frugal budget, read the following article to help you get started.

The Cost of Landscaping

several piles of dollar bills

Hiring a professional decorator involves several costs which are based on the details of your landscape project, its location, and its size. First, you’ll need to pay for a professional consultation that can range from $50-$100 an hour.

Next, you’ll need to pay for your decorator’s time to create a layout design for your property. The average cost for a basic layout design of your property is $4,200, but can cost $6,000 and higher the larger the scale of landscaping work is involved.

You’ll also need to buy the recommended materials to successfully complete your project. With so many costs associated with a landscaping proposal, it’s worthwhile to investigate how to decorate your landscape in a more affordable way.

Top DIY Landscaping Tips You Need to Know

#1. Find Inspiration Online

Find your DIY landscaping inspiration from garden scenes online or in magazines to get a feel of what the final layout will look like. However, you’ll need to learn whether or not the greenery chosen to decorate your exterior surroundings is compatible to your soil, climate, region, and location.

#2. Do a Soil Test

someone's hand holding a bit of soil

Test your soil before you start planting. Use a soil test kit to find out your soil’s pH and any nutrients and minerals it needs to make your greenery flourish. There are soil test kits that also provide a list of plants or flowers ideal for your soil type. Combine your local or mail-order purchases with friends and neighbors and buy plants, used tillers, lawn aerators, seed spreaders, for example at estate or yard sales.

#3. Opt for the Proper Type of Grass

green tall grass close-up

Choosing the right type of grass is key. If you want a healthy turf that requires less maintenance, minimal watering, and fertilization, choose a species that can tolerate various temperatures and weather conditions in your region.

To save on costs, plant grass seed as opposed to laying down sod; as an alternative, you could lay sod for the visible part of your yard and spread grass seed in less noticeable areas. Tall grass greatly inhibits weeds growth, so you don’t have to spend on herbicides.

#4. Use Organic Mulch

Adding a layer of organic mulch helps the soil stay moist longer. Mulch reduces your need to water and fertilize your landscape, plus minimizes your need to buy and use weed herbicides. Research which type of mulch is the best for your lawn and buy it in bulk.

Sawdust is a clean, ready-to-spread mulching material that helps your plants receive adequate nitrogen and can be used to create garden paths. Manure is a readily available fertilizer that you can often get for free if you agree to pick it up and haul it yourself.

#5. Look for End-of-the-Season Sales

Many garden centers and nurseries want to free up their surplus of plants and trees during this time which can cut your expenses in half or more by waiting to buy your greenery during end-of-the-season sales. Share local and mail-order costs with friends or neighbors who are willing to help you with your landscaping project. You can even buy flowers, shrubs, trees, plants, used tillers, seed spreaders and more at yard sales.

#6. Use Embellishment Items

a beautifully-arranged porch

Select wood chips, river stones, old bricks, reclaimed wood, pine needles, or shredded leaves. Use flat-cut stones for eye-catching stepping-stones, garden walls, flowerbed and pond edgings and integrate seashells, marbles, flagstones or other handy materials to design plain concrete paths instead of purchasing expensive garden path materials.

#7. Prune Regularly

Unkempt flowers, plants, trees, and shrubs will ruin your DIY landscaping project’s overall appearance and can be costly to fix. Moreover, allow your outdoor pruning (including kitchen scraps cut grass, fallen leaves, sawdust) time to break down and use this mixture as compost to enrich and aerate your soil and fertilize your lawn.

#8. Go for Native Species of Plants

yellow and orange flowers

Choose native plants species that are naturally present in your region to avoid frequent maintenance, extra watering, chemical supplements, and soil adjustment costs. Also, store surplus flower seeds in a cool, dry location so you can plant the rest of them the following year. Buying self-seeding annuals prevents you from replacing flowers every year.

If you prefer to buy perennials, choose those that grow quickly, such as zebra grass, allium blooms, or primrose. Split large bunches of hens and chicks, hostas, and trumpet lilies, into several plants to maximize the volume of your landscape’s greenery. Clip the roots of easy-to-grow shrubs, such as Red Diamond Loropetalum, or Daphne to grow new ones.

Final Thoughts

The cost of your DIY landscaping project will depend on whether you want to build it from scratch as well. However, you’ll save more money if you incorporate some parts of your existing landscape design into your new DIY landscaping plans.

Either way, the finished product doesn’t have to look shoddy. Make sure to research the basics of landscaping before you get started to help prevent costly mistakes. Be ready to maintain your landscape according to the season and your species of grass, flowers, plants, shrubs, and trees.

Although some DIY landscape projects may still require professional touches, you’ll be able to the basics yourself. Feel free to leave your suggestions and comments on how to save money on DIY landscaping below.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

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