Green on a Budget: 10 Front Yard Landscaping that Won’t Break the Bank
Smart landscape design decisions yield an ROI of anywhere from 80% to nearly 300%. Some of the best front-yard projects to take on don’t cost a fortune.
We aren’t talking about some haphazardly placed plastic flamingoes from a garden center. Properly planned, a weekend project can transform your front yard into a welcoming oasis with great curb appeal. It can be done on a budget too!
Increase your enjoyment, make your home look nicer and recover your investment if you sell the house. What could be better?
Read on to learn our 10 tips for front yard landscaping on a budget.
Tip #1 – Have a Plan
Whether you have one weekend and $100 or a few months and $5,000, an overall plan will keep you away from expensive mistakes. Visit your local garden center without a plan and all the colors and options will overwhelm you.
Measure your space and pick a specific theme. Visit websites, books, and magazines for inspiration. Pinterest is always a good first step in this phase. Even websites related to design or color theory can stir your creative juices. Check it out!
Note your different ideas and then roughly group your plant wish list based on colors, light and water needs, and space habits. This will help you stay focused when at the nursery.
Tip #2 – Start with Good Bones
Look carefully at your layout. Awkward or overgrown plants and trees can’t be improved with some flats of marigolds. Your first project might require a few basic tools- like a shovel and hoe to get started.
Remove the distractions first, to get an idea of your space and constraints.
Tip #3 – Walk the Walk
Curb appeal is all about catching the eye and leading visitors to your front door. So look at your walk. Is it safe and attractive?
If it is a patchwork of cracks and uneven pavement, consider removal and replacement. This can be expensive, especially for poured concrete. Also, consider permeable alternatives such as bricks in sand, floating pavers or decomposed granite.
Tip #4 – Edit the Lawn
The visual impact of a fresh green lawn is huge! However, the maintenance and utility of a large front lawn can be expensive. Consider other alternatives.
Changing your lawn for an edible landscape can be both attractive and useful to your family. Check with your local laws, first! Other choices include increasing the size of planting beds or switching to decorative clumping grasses instead of golf-course worthy greens.
If you choose to keep your lawn, the fastest way to perk things up is to unroll some new sod, feed, and water well.
Tip #5 – Plan for Irrigation
One of the advantages of planning ahead is placing irrigation where you need it. Nothing ruins your hard work faster than hand watering all your new plants and then decapitating your new shrubs and flowers with the hose.
A drip irrigation system and new lawn sprinklers are more than a weekend project but worth it! Part of your planning homework was to consider the water needs of your plants. Set up your irrigation system in zones to accommodate different plants.
Tip #6 – Dare to Go Bare
Remember the mature size of your plants. Purchase the smallest plants (or start from seeds) you can stand. Make an exception for privacy vines and shrubs. Covering the space between plants with an attractive mulch as they grow in is a good alternative.
Mulch is an inexpensive front yard landscaping upgrade. It comes in several colors and textures. Use it to define planting beds and reduce water use.
Tip #7 – Remember the Night View
Lighting your landscape is often overlooked. Inexpensive low voltage lighting or solar lighting can add charm and security to your front yard. New LED lighting is long lasting. There are many weatherproof choices.
Think about walkway, entrance and perimeter lighting. In addition, uplight or downlight features to add depth and interest after dark. Add timers and motion sensors to maximize security and energy use.
Tip #8 – Front Yard Landscaping for Four Seasons
One advantage to planting your garden in phases is that you can plan for seasonal variation. Don’t overload your garden with plants that look their best only in the spring or summer. Make choices based on color and structure year-round.
For example, mix bulbs for spring bloom, daylilies and annuals for summer, asters and fountain grasses for autumn and conifers for winter. This way, your front yard has color and character all year.
Tip #9 – Start Small
Starting lawns and gardens from seed are the least expensive way to a beautiful landscape. However, many people prefer the instant gratification of seedlings and pots. Compare prices though.
For many shrubs and small trees, the difference in price between 1-gallon size and quarts is significant. Bare root plants in winter are even less expensive. Give a year’s growth and the difference in size between the plants is unnoticeable.
If you have time to wait for results, choose the smaller plant.
Tip #10 – Borders and Fences Add Definition
Add polish to your front yard landscaping design with borders and fences. The traditional white picket fence has its place. However, inexpensive bender board and recycled pallet can work as well.
Define edges with rocks, shells or even buried plastic edging. Train vines on wire, plant vertically on walls, add planters to top garden walls.
A Green Front Yard Is Within Reach
If you can dream it, you can achieve it. The possibilities for front yard landscaping are really endless. Just take the time to plan it out. Tackle it one project at a time as your skills, budget and leisure time allow.
It’s a great way to make the most out of a space and create curb appeal. For more design inspiration, keep reading this blog!