Landscaping adds value to a property and can be useful as well as attractive. Many landscape designs marry form and function, with landscape elements serving as natural fences or privacy screens as well as adding aesthetic appeal. Though quality landscaping can be expensive, there are many ways keep costs down without compromising the finished product.
One way to reduce costs is to acquire free plants. To do so, collect seeds and cuttings from plants you already grow and trade them with friends, neighbors and local garden club members to expand your collection. When you need larger plants, collect trees from the wild and plant them yourself at home. Do get permission from property owners first when you collect trees from the wild and harvest plants legally. Some cities give free trees to those who promise to plant and care for them.
In addition to harvesting seeds and taking cuttings, divide mature perennials already in your landscape. Perennials often create several new plants when divided and many grow more vigorously when periodically split. Divided plants also allow you to start with plants larger than seedlings.
Larger plants provide a mature landscape more quickly, but thrifty landscapers know sometimes patience can significantly stretch the budget. When buying nursery plants, a shrub in a 3-gallon container costs less than one in a 5-gallon tub. Smaller plants save time and work as well, since large plants require digging large planting holes. Small plants make life a bit easier when you plant them yourself.
Patience has other perks, too. Saving money on landscaping is proper planning. Before hitting the garden center, draw a sketch to help you visualize what the finished landscape will look like and what you realistically need to get there. Research plants you intend to use to ensure compatibility with your hardiness zone and microclimate. Understand proper plant spacing and measure your outdoor spaces so you know how many plants you will need. It allows you accurately to estimate initial planting costs and long term maintenance needs. Map out your stuff instead of relocating plants later: a process that inevitably leads to replacement costs as some plants simply don't transplant well.