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Posted: March 16, 2014

6 Ways to landscape without breaking the budget

annedavisBy Anne Davis

I’m so happy to see the weather warming up again. Spring is on the way!

My favourite hobby is gardening. I love being in the garden, creating designs, digging, planting, sowing and enjoying. I’ve landscaped several properties over the years, most of them from scratch and with microscopic budgets, so today I’m sharing some of my best tips for stretching your dollars when landscaping.

#1 – Use as many free materials in your landscape as you can. Every part of the world has at least one thing in abundance that you can use for free, be it gravel, rocks or stones; wood pallets or pine needles; dumpsters, landfill sites or Craig’s List and Freecycling networks as cheap sources for repurposed items. Find out what’s in your own neighbourhood or town and use it! I’ve used my local freecycling network to find plants and shrubs for free. I got a whole lilac hedge that way, it really works!

#2 – Beg for plant divisions or cuttings from family, friends and neighbours. Anyone who has perennials, bulbs or tubers will have to be dividing them up every so often and will be happy to let you have the extras.

#3 – Look for local gardening clubs, they usually have plant sales once or twice a year to raise money for the club and you can get beautiful plants for much less than gardening centers sell them. Plus you know they will survive in your climate because the local gardeners have grown them.

ColDavis#4 – Watch for end-of-season sales. You can pick up loads of plants at a discount from department stores that have seasonal garden centers. That’s where you can pick up your trees and shrubs for less and save big!

#5 – Grow your own plants from seed. Some plants are super simple to grow, you can even just toss the seeds out in your garden at the right time and they’ll grow well. Hardy geraniums, sunflowers and pansies are easy to start from seed. Poppies and cosmos are good examples of seeds you can just sow directly in the garden. Opium poppies can even be sown while there is still snow on the garden.

#6 – Grow plants that self-seed or spread easily. Examples are creeping thyme, culinary thyme, Johnny Jump-ups, Ladies’ Mantle, campanula, euphorbia, lamium, bugleweed, poppies and bee balm. I don’t quite understand the desire for growing borderline plants in the garden. I personally don’t want to drag some plant kicking and screaming into my garden, I’d much rather have ones that are happily growing and flowering and self-seeding all over.

The best part about rampant growers and self-seeders is that every year, you can dig up the extras and sell them at a yard sale to make some extra cash for the landscaping items that you can’t get for free.

Hope I’ve been able to give you at least one tip you can use. Happy gardening!

Kimberley Anne Davis is a writer, blogger, artist and photography buff.  Born in Quebec, she now lives in Kimberley, where she is editor of and contributor to the City of Kimberley’s Active Community Guide.

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