Save Money on Landscaping Improvements

If you’re ready to revitalize your home’s landscaping, forget about overspending.

Make a Plan

Before you do something brash in your garden, sketch things out and make a budget. With ideas from professionals, refine your plan and divide it into steps so it’s less overwhelming.

Decide How Far You Want to Go

Making a plan is a great idea, but check it against your long-term property plans on a regular basis. If the project involves more work and money than you want to invest, consider scaling it down or hire a professional to take care of the labor.

Hire an Architect

The more changes you have in store for your property, the more you’re likely to benefit from consulting with an architect or landscape designer along the way. This way, you might actually spend less by saving time and materials.

Purchase in Parts

Don’t fret about buying everything at once. Break your project into sections that you can pay for over time. This way, you can modify plans as necessary and save more money by avoiding loans.

Be Prepared to Pay for Quality

Big-box retailers may have the lowest prices around on materials and plants, but their expertise and quality can be lacking. While you might pay a bit more at a smaller, specialized landscaping company, you can also expect more personalized service, installation and guarantees that make up for the price difference.

Opt for Low Cost When Necessary

In some cases, you might actually do better dealing with warehouse retailers. Common items are likely to be cheaper there, and advice and installation may not be necessary on certain plants and building materials. Don’t be afraid to pick up discarded plants and materials, either. When homeowners throw away perfectly good plants, wood and bricks, their loss can become your gain.

Buy Low at the Right Time

Picking up plants and building materials at certain times of year can save big money. Plants and building materials are cheap late in the season, so stock up and keep them on hand for when the weather’s perfect for landscaping. Save coupons from the newspapers to increase your savings.

Order Online

You can’t beat the price and convenience of buying landscaping supplies from online catalogs. Exotic plants and unusual decorations are available from the right suppliers, but be sure to consider shipping costs before passing up local retailers.

Consider Alternative Suppliers

Online and offline stores may offer bargains on a regular basis, but you can often find even better deals from garage sales, botanical gardens and neighbors. If your city offers free mulch and compost, don’t pass it up if it’s high quality.

Maintain Connections

Keeping in touch with local gardeners through neighborhood associations and clubs may allow you to get in on bulk purchases of plants and supplies. You can also arrange to share rentals of landscaping equipment with friends and neighbors to cut costs.

Buy Landscaping Materials in Bulk

Estimating your needs for soil, sand, mulch, rocks and other materials can be complicated because of differences in density. Here is a rough guide to these types of purchases:

  • One ton of 1/4 or 3/4-inch-diameter rock will cover approximately 110 to 120 square feet when it’s spread two inches deep.
  • One ton of pea gravel or sand will cover about 100 to 120 square feet when spread two inches deep.
  • One cubic yard of soil weighs more than a ton, and a cubic yard of gravel or sand weigh almost 3,000 pounds.
  • One cubic yard of compost, mulch or soil fills about 320 square feet at a depth of one inch, 160 square feet at two inches deep, 110 square feet at three inches and 80 square feet when filled to four inches.

The bed of a full-size pickup truck will carry two to three cubic yards of sand, dirt, mulch or gravel, but you might not be able to carry that much due to maximum carrying capacity. In contrast, a single-axle dump truck can hold five to seven cubic yards, and larger trucks can carry more than 10 cubic yards.

Do Your Own Work

If you avoid hiring a landscaping company for all but the hardest jobs, you’ll save money that you can put to better use on plants and materials. Instead, enjoy putting your own touch on the improvement of your property.