ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Frugal Living Ideas And Cutting Costs On Your Home: How To Save Money On Landscaping

Updated on April 10, 2011


Landscaping or just making your yard livable can cost you big bucks.

There is a number that 'experts' throw out that you should take into consideration when considering landscaping your home.

The projection is that the average home owner will spend from 5% to 15% of the value of their home to landscape it!

Wow! That's a lot of money!

As if money grew on trees.....landscaping dollars can add up to big bucks really quick if you don't know what you're doing.

Let's look at some tips on how to save money on landscaping.



First and foremost, have a plan when you decide to start landscaping. Make sure you look at it realistically to make sure you've thought of things like terrain, amount of sun, and what you can actually afford.

Having a realistic plan will save you time and money in the long run. Your landscaping plan must be based on the reality of where you live for you to get the most enjoyment from your landscaping. But also, to get the most for your money because you won't need to replace things that didn't work.

If you think you need an expert's opinion there are several options.

You can always pay a landscaper to come and design your ideas for you. That way, you'll know that the plan will really work.

Another option that is much cheaper is to draw up your plan yourself and then consult with a landscaper. He or she can confirm the viability of your plan and even give you suggestions on options.

No matter which way you go, once you have a plan, think in stages.

Even on a budget, there are many ways to save money and still use quality landscaping materials and plants. You just do it with the idea in mind that you're going to get the best bargains.

By doing your landscaping in stages allows you to pay cash for each stage and thus avoid a huge outlay of money.

It also allows for the adjustment factor. Sometimes what you thought was going to work on paper doesn't work in actuality when all is said and done. It's sometimes best to see what is working rather than having to start all over again.


  • Buy plants and trees late in the season because nurseries and stores want to get rid of their merchandise.
  • Do the same with soil and compost.
  • Even if those perennials don't look so 'hot' in October, they will be gorgeous after they've dropped roots through the winter.
  • Don't scrimp on soil. For anything that you grow, nutrients are essential if you want the kind of lawn or garden that you dream of.
  • Consider adding mulch to your soil and you can save money that way.
  • Or add compost.

TIP: For very little money, you can make your own compost bin and use food scraps and yard waste. You only need the space to construct your compost area, 2x4's and chicken wire. The area has to have enough space to be able to turn over the composting material every so often.

public domain photo
public domain photo


Divide and conquer.  Consider what type of plants you want to buy and put in.  Perennials that multiply are one of the best ways to save big bucks.  What you start out with can multiply for years to come giving you many more plants than you bought originally. 

Make sure you look on the Internet or buy a plant guide.  Know when and how to divide plants and you will find yourself with more plants than you know what to do with.  You can even trade some to neighbors for plants in return that you need!

Buy small and let them grow.  Buying fully developed trees or plants will cost you lots of money.  Better to buy small plants and let them mature.  You can buy roughly 3 times the plants for the same money if you buy a less mature plant. 

You can also train or cultivate the plant or tree to grow as you want it to grow rather than it being too unruly or big from the beginning. 

Check on return policies.  Make sure you know the policy on refunds for materials or plants.  Stores like Home Depot or Lowe's will refund your money but you must have receipts

If you're buying plants from one of these stores or a nursery, you might want to consider keeping receipts as well as the containers they came in.  That sounds overwhelming but in the end, if you bought 15 perennials of a certain kind that didn't winter over, you'll want to be reimbursed in cash or get new plants!

Sometimes private nurseries are much better about standing behind their plants but still keep receipts.  Nurseries are generally much higher in price though for plants unless you catch them at the end of the season....then they're a great buy!

Buying from a local nursery will probably assure you that your plants, trees and shrubs are going to survive better.  Many stores such as Lowe's or Home Depot for instance truck in plants that are grown in other areas.  They may not survive YOUR winter where they will survive somewhere else just fine.  You want to be able to get your money back in that case.

Do your homework and do the math.  When planting trees or shrubs, make sure you do your research.  Know how tall the tree or shrub will be or what the zonal climate requirements are for them. 

It's usually recommended to plant trees or shrubs of substantial growth potential at least 30 feet from structures because of root growth.  A cracked foundation won't help you save money. 

This also applies to plants, especially perennials.  It's important to know how far they will spread or how aggressive they can be in terms of growth to avoid problems later.

Maintenance.  Maintenance in landscaping is a huge part of the deal.  You have to have the time to keep up with gardening, lawns, trees and shrubs.  Make sure that you only put in what you can maintenance.  If you have to pay someone else to do your work, you won't be saving money.

With maintenance also comes water issues.  If you want landscaping that is relatively drought-resistant, then you need to make sure you move in that direction from the beginning. 

If watering isn't a financial factor but a convenience factor, then you need to anticipate that with thoughts about putting in a sprinkling system.  See more on water below.

Do as much of the work as possible.  Even if you have to hire someone to come in and do some of the work such as back hoeing, do the prep and as much of the work as you possibly can and you'll save money. 

Hiring high school or college students is also a great way to save money.  Just make sure you're honest about what you want them to do before they start and agree on the pay scale that is agreeable to them. 

Know your skill level.  Recognize early if there is part of the project that you simply can't do.  Don't keep trying to do it yourself if you feel you are in over your head. 

There are some things you need a professional for such as pouring a sidewalk or even building a wall if you don't know what you're doing. 

The money you save by not having to redo it later is worth knowing it's done correctly.

Read, absorb, and get ideas.  Drive around and look at other people's yards.  Watch programs on TV for great ideas on landscaping.  Check out books at the local library.  Drop in at Barnes and Noble for a coffee and browse their landscaping books.  Knowledge is the greatest way to save yourself time and money.

Always keep in mind though what works in sunny southern California might not work at all in Central Oregon and be ready to adjust your materials accordingly....including everything from lumber types to plants!

Find out what your neighbors grow. It's a great way to get ideas and it's also a great way to get cuttings or plants maybe they're dividing.  Do the same for them. 

If you're into vegetable gardening, it's a great way to share and share alike when you have a good growing season.

Water expenses.  Spending too much on your water bill isn't probably going to help you save money.  The trick is to make sure you have watering covered but in the most economical and the least complicated way.

Make sure whatever you plant or need to water isn't going to break your pocketbook in terms of how much water and how often.  Look into water conserving ideas before you plant.  Again look for drought resistant species of plants if at all possible. 

Also always plant things that are supposed to grow in full sun in full sun, things that require shade in the shade. 

Less waste if you know your property and what conditions each part of it offers.

Last but not least, a sprinkler system can be the answer to saving money and keeping things watered, especially if it's on a timer.  Less waste and more predictability. 


Did you know there are many ways that you can get free plants or even trees?  There are also many places you can pick them up for reduced prices (besides the usual sales at nurseries and stores).

You can also pick up materials for your landscaping projects at local sites or by scouting out people giving away materials.  Or perhaps they're selling them at super reduced prices just to get rid of them!

Just a few ideas to get you started:

  • Some cities give away free trees, mulch and compost.  Check with your city to see if they offer this. 

    In Seattle, people can request 10-40 trees as a neighborhood project if they agree to plant and care for them.
  • Demolition.  You can find all kinds of cool things at demolition sites from barn wood to bricks and stones to plants.  Just make sure you have permission to take things from the site.
  • Join the National Arbor Day Foundation and receive 10 free trees....shipped to you at no cost!
  • You can buy just about anything for your landscaping project on-line.  You can buy materials but you can also order plants and trees.  Price compare and check out the amazing things you can buy!
  • Check out arboretums or botanical centers because they often have plant sales. 
  • Check on-line or in newspapers, at local nurseries for plant sales.  You never know what you might find.
  • Check out Free Trees and Plants, which is a website that trains and employs the disabled.  They are an organization that rescues unsold plants.  They were offering free trees and plants and you only had to pay shipping and processing fees on your orders.  However, they might be going out of business at this writing. 

Above all, if you want to save money on landscaping, have a plan but be willing to be flexible as it develops. 

Also have an open mind about materials and if you find something cheaper and can make it work, do it. 

Poured concrete
Stepping stones
River rock
Pavers with creeping plants between
Bricks and wood
Bricks and flowering plants
Old tires
Railroad ties
Plastic containers
Trash cans
Old tires
Bathtubs, etc.
Seating/Furniture, etc.
Outdoor durable
Stone benches
Premade fountains
Open areas
River rock
Beauty bark
Natural vegetation
Combination of several types
Patios and Decks
Tech Deck


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      Jaye - That is wonderful that you have someone who does so well....I work outside as much as I can because that's where my pups are as well but it gets harder and harder as the years go by. I try and keep it as simple now as I possibly can and leave the heavy jazz to Bob~!

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      8 years ago from Deep South, USA

      I love to read about gardening and wish I still had the full mobility to participate in it fully. My landscaping must be done by someone else, which means I must pay. However, there is a way to be somewhat frugal with that aspect. I discovered a young lady who started her own lawn services business. She told me she is not an expert on the names of plants, but is successful in planting and maintaining them. She doesn't charge an arm and a leg, so I don't care if she's conversant with the Latin names of plants, just that she plants them right side up! JAYE

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      Thank you so much, Hanna for stopping by always~!

      Darski - you are too kind....I love gardening so these are all things I'm familiar with in my 'other' spare time!

    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 

      8 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      Now this is a perfectly written hub, wow, um I can't think of anything you missed and yes this is another great way to save, and it's good for your health. Did you know that "Dirt" breathing it is good for you, healthy. Rate up love & peace darski

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      Very detailed and comprehensive hub.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)