So when it comes to free backyard landscaping ideas, I ‘m moved by this reader request:
I love the pictures on this page… especially the top one. Looks like all the pics I see in all the gardening magazines I subscribe to. But it doesn’t help me at all, because the hardscaping alone is well above my budget, and I have no gardener working diligently to keep it all looking great. How can I achieve something nearly as pretty on a retiree’s budget and just my own two hands to manage it?
This is indeed the problem we all face – in one way or other -when we want something to look great and do it on a limited budget.
Birdhouses don’t have to be fancy but birds add a dimension of sound and motion to the garden (not to mention how they eat a ton of insects)
A Personal Note
I ‘m a rich man. But not in financial terms.
While sometimes I might wish I were, the reality of being in the nursery and writing business is that I haven ‘t managed to find a pathway to financial riches.
Having said that, I have some things that rich people can only dream of getting and no amount of money is going to bring them a happy family or a loving partner.
Or a wonderful garden filled with their own soul.
Put a chair or two in your garden. If you don’t have a place to sit – the only time you’ll go to your garden is to work.
Deceptively Simple Things I Do
OK – here ‘s how I manage to make my garden look like a magazine garden.
There are several deceptively simple things I do. And if you do these things, you too can have a great garden without spending a lot of money – we ‘re talking budget gardening here folks.
Things That Don ‘t Work Together
In order to have a great garden and do it using free backyard landscaping ideas and budget landscaping techniques is that you have to know *how* to garden.
If you don ‘t understand or want to learn a few simple techniques to have a wonderful backyard garden, then nothing else I ‘m going to tell you is going to make much sense.
In plain talk – you can ‘t have a budget landscaping project – with no skills or no enthusiasm or a willingness to work hard. You have to have the willingness to learn new skills and work as hard as you can.
Inexpensive concrete forms surrounded by mulch make a walkway.
Learn to propagate plants.
If you think I’ve purchased every plant that ever went into my garden, you don ‘t know me or my Scottish heritage upbringing.
I’ve learned how to grow all kinds of plants from seeds, cuttings, divisions and roots.
The only way to get free plants is to grow them yourself.
General gardening skills.
- You need to know how to water. Seriously. There’s an old saying in the nursery business. “He who holds the hose, holds the profits.”
- You need to know how to feed your plants and you need to know
- how to prune your plants
Once you master those three skills your garden will look 500% better just because of the gardener ‘s touch.
Those are free skills for the learning. But ignore these skills and no amount of free backyard landscaping ideas or advice from me is going to change a darn thing in your yard.
Water – of any kind or size of pond – adds yet another dimension to the garden.
You read right. You ‘d be amazed what kinds of things you can pick up from salvage yards (like plywood for window boxes). Or go behind the big box lumber stores and look at what they toss away. There ‘s enough stuff there to build any number of window boxes and planter stands.
- How about salvage yards for brick landscaping jobs.
- What about contacting local landscapers and asking them when they redo a landscaping job – can you come around and take the old pavers?
- What about freecycle.org or your local free Internet want-ad sites such as Craigslist or Kajijii. You won ‘t believe how much free stuff is there and with a bit of patience, you can find darn near anything you need or want.
- Put up your own ad in the spring with what you ‘re looking for (haul it away free for you to remove it from your renovation project).
- Get creative about finding stuff. Talk to tree trimming services, you ‘re going to find a ready source of wood chips for mulch.
- Readers have added frugal gardening tips right here.
You don’t have to be “creative” and “artsy” here. Just ask the right question. (see below)
- Free backyard landscaping ideas aren ‘t only found in gardening magazines and websites. Go through a craft or building magazine and ask, How can I use *that* idea in my backyard garden? “
- Go through a house-building magazine – what kinds of walls coverings are the green architects” using? What kinds of surface coverings? What construction materials?
The question is – not what are these folks using these materials for – but rather what can I use this stuff for in my garden?
Good food and drink and a few great friends make any garden a special place
Yeah, I know – you get told this all the time but read magazines, scan websites looking for great pictures. But it ‘s true. The more you read- the more you learn and the more ideas you pick up.
Books are free at the local library. So you don ‘t even have to buy them yourself.
OK, that was all the good news about free backyard landscaping ideas – the stuff you can do.
My reality is that I can ‘t create a great looking garden overnight.
I do what I can – learn what I need, afford what I can and move on.
The hardscape goes in as I can afford it and the plants follow along. And when I have enough plants (if you ever have enough plants), then I ‘m propagating more and upgrading the hardscape.
It ‘s a creative process in my garden that never stops, never ceases to amuse me.
And that ‘s the important part of gardening.