1.Take Cuttings. They’re free. You can grow some new plants from stems, some from roots. Some plants root much better than others. This is a great time to get friendly with neighbors…as you exchange cuttings with others, you can get gardening tips too. I found this great tutorial on propagation from the Missouri Extension website.
2. Join a gardening club. Even if its for a short time, you’ll learn a lot and find a bunch of zealots who are willing to share. Tasker’s Chance Gardening Club has a nice website.
Join a Facebook garden group or like a page. There are many! If you can find one that is local or regional, all the better. Here are just a few local Maryland groups I found:
3. Choose plants that fit Maryland’s (or your state’s) climate and your soil type. Plants that are native to Maryland are much easier to care for, and they endure the conditions much better. An easy-care garden is also more appealing to today’s buyers. Local plants are less fussy, resistant to disease and more reliable.
Use this tool from the National Wildlife Federation to find plants that are native to your specific location:
4. Choose Pest resistant bulbs. Bulbs are very economical because they are perennial. The only problem is that some of them are like candy to deer and rodents. There’s nothing worse than watching your investment be the supper of the neighborhood bunnies and squirrels.
5. Choose bulbs that multiply. Watching your bulbs multiply is the way to get the most bang for your buck if you are patient. Small bulbs tend to do this better than larger ones.
6. Choose self-seeding plants. Gotta love those volunteers! Forget-me-not’s are my favorite on this list. Morning Glories aren’t on the list but they are great volunteers.
7. Think outside the box. Use found and repurposed items for planters and garden art. With a few skills you can create stepping stones out of cement, planters out of broken china, or a trellis out of discarded wood or cheap bamboo sticks.
8. Container Gardening is a great choice if you are short on time or space. You can bring them inside during the cold months and extend their life. You can also get creative when it comes to pots and containers, using items that you have on hand. Don’t forget to scout out thrift stores and refuge stores like Habitat for Humanity’s Home Store in Frederick.
Five Great Resources for budget Landscaping
1. The Best Source Ever is the DIY Network Gardening website. You can find just about any tutorial you want, as well as lots of videos. Understanding plant types and what they need is a good start to a successful landscaping plan.
2. Research and Plan Ahead. Make a plan. Keep it flexible, but have a plan. Creating a visual of what you want to accomplish is helpful. If you like to go old school, subscribe to garden magazines and clip the pictures that you like. You can create a collage to make sure you like the color combinations.
Take your plans with you when you visit the garden store so you can take advantage of sales, or pass up a sale when you know that the plants on sale won’t fit your plan.
[special tip: Don’t get dazzled by all the fancy gardening tools, unless you’re not trying to stay on a budget. They may make you look more stylish, but they won’t really make a difference in your gardens.
3. If you’re more inclined to go paperless, there are lots of gardening apps that you can use. I also love to create Pinterest boards to keep my ideas handy. Pinterest is a wealth of information and design ideas! There are some great garden boards to follow.
4. Composting makes more financial sense that buying fertilizer every year. The Frederick County Government Solid Waste Facilities has a composting class, as well as printed materials on the subject. Mixing your soil with compost will help keep your plants healthy.
5. Mulch from Local Recycling Centers is usually a better price than from a commercial company. You just have to haul it yourself..
How Much Should I Budget for Landscaping?
Many professional landscaping companies suggest spending up to 10% of your home’s value on landscaping. Wow. For many of us in Maryland that’s a lot of money. If you’re thinking about selling your home in the near future, then you may not have time for some of these cost-saving methods of creating a beautiful yard. You can, however, combine some of these tips with some more expensive solutions.
Keep in mind that most of the more expensive landscaping ideas, like hardscaping, or fountains, or permanent structures like a pergola, may not give you the best return on investment. For the average home, those projects are really for our own enjoyment.
If you just bought a new home and the landscaping is minimal, you’re probably excited to get started adding some life to your yard. The best advice I ever got when we purchased a new home in Lake Linganore was from a landscaper: Live in the house for a while and get to know the house and the yard before you make any plans. He was right, I had different ideas after a year…better ideas.
More timely landscaping tips at: