Landscaping your front yard can be a rewarding experience when done well, plus it can add curb appeal and value to your home. But landscaping also can be a somewhat costly undertaking, especially if you just jump into it without a plan or an eye on keeping costs down. Before pushing a shovel into the ground or swiping the credit card at your local garden center, keep these 11 landscaping ideas for your front yard on a budget in mind to save big.
1. Avoid Annuals
Annual plants such as petunias and impatiens are terrific for filling planting beds and containers with color. However, they will only last for your current growing season and won’t survive the winter across most of the United States. Purchasing annual plants every year can get expensive and time-consuming. Instead, choose perennial plants for your front yard landscaping, which will give you a longer-lasting, budget-friendly garden.
2. Fill Gaps with Large Grasses
Tall ornamental grasses like switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans), or beak grass (Diarrhea obovata) fill the landscape with beautiful texture and movement. Plus, they grow quickly so you can buy them in cheaper one gallon containers and they’ll soon grow to full size and fill in empty spaces.
3. Limit Types of Plants
While it might be tempting to buy a large variety of plants from the garden center, keep it simple by purchasing with no more than five types of plants. One type of evergreen, two larger types of shrubs, and three types of perennials will fill a space well without looking cluttered while keeping costs low.
4. Densely Planting to Cut Weeds
To cut down on costly yard care, plant densely enough to make sure all ground is covered. Weedy plant species take advantage of open soil, plenty of light, and moisture. By using a mix of larger shrubs, perennials, and groundcovers in a naturalistic design, you can keep weeds to a minimum.
5. Deter Weeds with Cardboard
Before planting and laying out mulch, cover open soil with cardboard to create a biodegradable weed shield. Using cardboard will allow for moisture to permeate the soil while hampering the growth of weeds. Replace cardboard and mulch every few years to maintain a weed-free landscape.
6. Take Advantage of Deals
Spring is the ideal time to plant and after a long winter, getting out into the yard can be irresistible. However, you can save hundreds of dollars by waiting to purchase your plants in late summer and early fall as garden centers and big box stores seek to offload their stock.
7. Divide to Multiply Plants for Free
Most established yards already have a large variety of established plants that have outlasted many previous owners and many of these such as hostas, grasses, and peonies benefit from division of large clumps. Divide plants in early spring and replant in bare spots of the garden before purchasing more the following growing season.
8. Keep Things Contained
Instead of planting out an entire yard, you can save thousands by using planted containers and pots. In drier regions, use rock, sand, or pebbles as a landscape filler and use groupings of containers to add splashes of color and flare. Likewise, in wetter regions, plant non-invasive groundcovers like wild ginger (Asarum canadense) or perennial geranium (Geranium macrorrhizum) in lieu of rock for an easy-to-maintain yet lush look.
9. Plant from Seed
If you have the time and patience, planting a garden from seed can be very cost effective. Perennial seed mixes that include native wildflowers are better adapted to drought and other adverse weather conditions. That translates to a lower cost of maintenance and the creation of valuable wildlife habitat all in one.
10. Plant a No Mow Yard
Lawns are thirsty and require hundreds of dollars annually to keep them looking nice. To save on costs, consider lawn alternatives such as clover, buffalo grass, or a wildflower seed mix. Once established, say goodbye to daily watering and the lawn mower!
11. Create Living Fences
Whether traditional wood, plastic, or metal, putting up and maintaining a fence is not only expensive, but labor intensive to keep in good shape. To save not only on upfront costs but maintenance costs as well, plant a living fence or hedge instead. Favorite evergreens such as arborvitae and juniper are drought tolerant and act as a sound barrier as well, flowering shrubs like ninebark create an impenetrable wall of color throughout the year.
Landscaping your front yard doesn’t need to be expensive nor time consuming. These ideas will add tons of curb appeal and character to your yard for less.