Landscaping on a Budget

With multiple design and monetary decisions being at the crux of home building, oftentimes, exterior landscaping can be overlooked. However, in terms of curb appeal and the “most bang for the buck”, landscaping the yard provides not only finishing touches to the home’s overall style but can also incorporate less costly options as you create a sense of beauty and panache while solidifying the design. However, if not careful, landscaping can seriously damage the budget unnecessarily as there are a myriad of reasonable options and price points that exist while building the home’s garden and landscape. Salvaged materials, economical building materials and a wide variety of plants, shrubs and trees can be incorporated into the landscape providing character and an attractive outdoor haven. Thinking of your yard as an all encompassing adventure, with a little pre-planning and thought; a creative environment in which plant and water life, human created elements and landscaping challenges can be met and overcome with ease will be a major and rewarding accomplishment. A specific feel and function to the yard can easily be determined by deciding how and what the yard space will be; a low maintenance space where relaxation is key or an extensive plant and vegetable garden that requires hours of weekly work. Below are some ideas to consider when planning your landscaping budget in terms of resources, regional climate zones and money.

Weather conditions ~ There are numerous resources for determining the regional climate in your area. Use them to your advantage; is it hot and humid, mild or downright frosty most of the year where you live? Even something as simple as planting a huge shade tree in near proximity to an air conditioning unit can considerably cut down on power bills. Are you in a region that typically experiences dry summers; then you need to match your plants to the conditions in order to conserve water, your plant life and money. While you may not live in the Arctic tundra, there are specific plants, shrubs and trees designed for extremely cold temperatures.

Landscape and drainage – Planning is key here; as much as you want to get out and begin planting, the entire space you are working in must be holistically considered in order to have an easily maintainable yard that will last for years while simultaneously avoiding costly mistakes. The large majority of mishaps occur when drainage requirements within the space are ignored; working within the parameters of the space, drainage will affect the addition of all plant life along with any hardscape used so, plan wisely.

Lighting – Ambience, a comfortable space and security are key considerations when developing a plan for lighting. Do you enjoy spending time outdoors no matter the hour or season; consider an abundance of lighting for when the sun sets. Or do you prefer to spend only daylight hours in the yard and relax on the deck or patio at night; then perhaps, a minimal amount of lighting will suffice. Are you located in an area where timed lighting may be necessary to walk the dog, make sure the children are able to safely return home at odd hours of the evening or do you just require mood or ambient lighting while relaxing outdoors with a cool beverage?

Buying tips – Spring fever, the time of year, that every seasoned professional, long term home gardener or novice beginner yearns for the sights and smells of the garden; fresh loam, newly mowed grass or an abundance of brightly colored annuals to plant but, buyer beware. This is the time of year when hardware and gardening supply stores mark up, or at the very least, do not heavily discount their products. Late summer or fall are peak times to bargain hunt for garden tools, hardscape products or large expensive purchases such as a lawnmower.

Salvage Materials – Salvaging and re-using or re-purposing items have become big business but bargains are still to be had. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure is still a valuable adage so consider visiting commercial building sites, garage sales, on-line yard sales or even the side of road for interesting, unusual and eclectic items that can be incorporated into the yard.

Hardscaping – Attractive, appealing and ultimately long lasting, hardscaping the yard runs the gambit from a fully functional and developed outdoor living room with kitchen to a well defined patio space bursting with added seasonal color. It can also function as a focal point which grounds and defines the yard by travelling toward a destination while delivering a visually appealing impact.

Research, planning and developing a “yard” plan is every bit as important as the interior design floor plan and in doing so, you will have an equally stunning landscaped yard to match the style, theme and beauty of the home’s exterior and interior.

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