Your Complete Guide To A Backyard Landscaping Makeover On A Budget

Homeowners who currently have relatively simple landscapes won’t have to keep them that way if they want something that’s different. Getting an introduction to landscaping can help give people some useful ideas, especially if they’re not sure about which approach to take. You can sometimes start by taking away the landscape features that are getting in the way of your outdoor design efforts. For example, tree removal services can help give you more space to use when you’re landscaping.

Someone who already has lots of trees outside could easily work to create a lovely rustic wooded landscape. You won’t necessarily achieve an effect like that automatically, even if you have a nice forest outside. Still, even slight forest backyard landscaping could substantially change the yard that you do own. Design professionals can just help you utilize the land characteristics that you have at present.

If you’re paying attention to home and landscaping sales, these efforts may be especially valuable. Home buyers care more about the condition of the house that they’re purchasing than the way that the landscape looks, but both factors still matter. If you’re able to present the back and front yard of your house in the best possible way, a sale is more likely.

Does your backyard need a makeover but you’re scared of the expense that comes with it? Don’t fret, we got you covered. There are many low-budget backyard landscaping ideas that will still leave your backyard looking fresh and beautiful. You don’t even have to contract professional landscape companies for these projects, you can do it yourself.

How to Minimize Landscaping Costs

Before we dive into the specifics of the landscaping ideas you can implement in your backyard, let’s show you how you can cut costs.

Have a Plan

You should have the actual plan of how you want your backyard to look like. This will help you identify all the materials and tools you’ll need to work on your backyard. It is also easier to estimate the cost of landscaping your backyard if you already have a plan and know all things and services that will be needed. For example, if your plan includes moving some trees, you’ll need the services of a tree mover and will have to plan for this cost.

Your plan also includes estimating the size of the backyard after landscaping. Imagine yourself sitting in your backyard and think about the size you prefer and what it should include. Do you want trees in it? Do you prefer a plantless backyard to avoid weeding? These are some of the questions you should ask yourself as you plan to redesign your landscape on a low budget.

Smart Buying

Bulk buying your materials will minimize your overall costs. Most hardwares where you source your materials will have offers if you buy materials in bulk. Buying one bag of mulch will cost you more than buying several bags. Want to upgrade your sod on a low-budget? Buy your materials in bulk. In addition to bulk buying, you should also buy materials at the right time or season.

A lot of landscaping activities are done during Spring, and gardening supply stores as well as hardwares capitalize on this by increasing their prices. The same way you buy your winter sweaters in May to avoid high expenses, buy your landscaping or gardening materials in Autumn or late summer. Things like hoes and hoses are cheaper during these seasons.


Flea markets and garage sales are some of the best cost-cutting options when sourcing for materials. You don’t have to buy brand new tools and materials if you can get reusable landscape products. There is stuff that other people want to get rid off, yet you can put them into good use for your backyard.

Minimize Water Usage

The usage of water on landscaping accounts for 75% of a home’s water consumption. Yet, clean water can be expensive. You should therefore minimize usage of water if you want to minimize costs. Minimal water usage also reduces the environmental impact of water wastage.

One of the best ways to minimize this cost is to time your landscaping activities and do them during the rainy season. In addition, use an efficient sprinkler system. An efficient sprinkler system can dump around 300 gallons of water in one hour.

An additional strategy to minimize water usage is to match your plants to the conditions of the area you live in. If you have the wrong type of grass for the precipitation in the area, you may dig deep in your pockets to water the grass. You may have to look for drought-tolerant alternative vegetation if you live in a dry area. A permanent solution could be to use well drillers to have a well that gives you a continuous source of water at no additional costs.

Choose Between Plants and Seeds

It is cheaper to plant seeds instead of using plants. While taking this route, go for the cheapest seeds. You can compare various online stores that sell seeds. However, please note that the seeds need care and attention to get the best results out of them. If not done correctly, you may find plants to be the cheaper option compared to the seeds. This is because the seeds you use may need plant food, soil, lighting supplies, and additional products that may cost you more than plants.

Do It Yourself

30% of Americans hire other people to work in their backyards. Remember, landscape contracting does not come cheap. These companies have heavy-duty equipment and top-notch experts, and you should expect to pay accordingly. You can avoid these high fees if you do the landscaping yourself.

While landscaping your backyard by yourself, accept the things that you can’t do alone. For example, no one can move a 20-ton hunk of marble from a front yard with a hatchback. You’ll need to hire professionals to handle this type of activity.

Cheap Landscaping Ideas

A beautiful backyard doesn’t have to be expensive. By implementing the steps above such as recycling materials, you’ll be able to cut your landscaping costs, yet create a beautiful backyard. Here are some cheap landscaping ideas to help you achieve your goals.

Add Mulch Beds

Adding mulch is a cheap way of putting some visual intrigue to a yard. The average cost of 3 cubic yards of mulch is $275. This is the cost of mulch that is delivered and installed for you. If you do it yourself like we recommend, your total costs will be way lower. If your backyard is small, even a few bags of mulch is enough. These few bags should cost you less than $4. There are also cheaper mulch alternatives that you can use to further cut costs on your landscaping project.

Besides beautifying your garden or backyard, mulch can help in retaining good moisture for plants. This will help your plants in the yard to nourish. This has the additional benefit of saving costs on water.

Edging Your Patio

Expanse the visual impact of your patio by adding a landscaping buffer. This will also minimize the size of lawn that you have to water. One of the cheapest options is to dig a trench around the patio. You can fill the trench with mulch. To add a more refined touch, you can use landscaping stones. Compared to mulch, landscaping stones don’t need to be replaced regularly.

Landscaping stones are not as expensive as you’d imagine. For example, decomposed granite will cost you less than $25 per ton. Smooth river rocks go for $80 to $250 per ton, while popular pea gravel costs $30 to $60 per ton. You should also factor in the cost of delivery and installation, which can be between $50 and $100 depending on your location.

Go for Perennial Plant Varieties

One of the advantages of perennial flowers and plants is that you buy them once and enjoy them year after year. Despite the upfront cost for the blooming flowers or seedlings, you’ll get a variety of options for different climates.

The best approach to get the best deal for your money is to start the plants and flowers from seeds – and not seedlings. For less than $5, you can get a package of 300 Shasta daisy seeds. Compare this with a single Shasta Daisy plant which goes for less than $10. This is a drought-resistant flower, which means fewer costs on water.

Grow Native Plants

Get plants that do well in your area. You do not have to be an arborist to find out about these native plants. You can do your own research to learn about native plants that are compatible with the weather conditions in your area. Using the right plants will ensure you do not spend much money on water.

The additional benefits of native plants is that they don’t need much fertilizer and also help prevent soil erosion. Choosing native plants is especially important for people in drought-prone regions.

Consider Xeriscaping in Dry Areas

Besides only using native plants in drought-prone areas, a good alternative is xeriscaping. Xeriscaping is a type of landscaping that eliminates or minimizes the need for irrigation. Again, this is a strategy for cutting costs on water.

Xeriscaping designs that apply a lot of hardscaping components are expensive – can cost as much as $24,000. You can reduce the costs by incorporating some elements. Cheap and DIY-friendly xeriscape projects include expanding mulched areas, using river rocks to create a dry creek bed, and adding a gravel walkway.

Grow an Edible Garden

One way of cutting costs in your landscaping or gardening projects is to use plants that are edible. Instead of spending money in your local grocery stores for fresh vegetables, you’ll be eating what you grow.

Get your garden seeds for as low as $2 a pack. Depending on the size of your backyard or garden, establishment costs will vary. Although the initial costs may be high, you will reap the benefits once vegetables and fruits can be harvested.

Vertical Gardens

If your backyard is limited in size or running low on budget for your landscaping projects, consider using vertical gardens. These small gardens help in conserving space. Plants that are great for vertical gardens include ferns, succulents, hostas, tomatoes, onions, garlic, bromeliads, peppers, and cucumbers.

Hang Window Boxes

Your landscaping project can go beyond your lawn or garden to include your window, especially if they’re facing your backyard. The idea is to install window boxes to add some color and charm to your lawn or backyard. These boxes will also cover any wear and tear on your windows. The added advantage of window boxes is that they give you a view of your favorite flowers right from inside.

A window box is a cheap and DIY-friendly project. You’ll only need screws, brackets, and wood lumber. Plants will cost you anywhere between $10 and $30 each. An 8-foot wood lumber costs between $5 and $20. Even if you prefer buying a window box instead of buying it yourself, you can get it for as low as $15, although some can go for up to $100.

Plant Trees

Trees have numerous benefits to the environment, yet are cheap to grow from the ground up. One main benefit you’ll enjoy for your home is the shade. However, there are several factors you should consider before planting trees. For example, you should consider the location of utility lines. In addition, consider how the tree will fill into your backyard once full-grown. You may need to hire a local tree trimmer to keep the tree in shape. If you want to remove existing trees and replace them with your preferred species, a local tree service can be of help.

You should only plant trees that are friendly to a home environment. Avoid large trees that may eventually have their branches falling off your roof.

Lay a DIY Path

Enter and exit your backyard in style with a well-designed but cheap garden path. Some of the cheap materials you can use for your garden path include slate chippings, gravel, pea shingle, and bark nuggets. Simply lay these materials on the ground and you’re good to go.

Repurpose Old Tires

You can put your old tires into good use instead of disposing them off. If you don’t have old tires to use in your garden, they are cheap and easy to find. It will only cost you a few dollars to pick them up from your local recycling plant.

Some of the creative ideas when it comes to using old tires for your backyard includes creating a hanger plant by filling half of the tire with soil and attaching it to a fence or wall. You can also cover the tires with rope or outdoor pillow casings for durable patio ottomans. Want to create a garden pond? You can use the old tires as the base.

Revamping or redesigning your backyard doesn’t have to be expensive to achieve the desired look. There are many cheap alternatives that have great results. Being creative with your space and the resources you have will go a long way in ensuring that you have a beautiful backyard at the lowest cost possible.

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