adding mulch to planter with wheelbarrow

Budget Friendly Landscaping Projects for Front and Back Yard

A beautifully landscaped backyard doesn’t have to cost a fortune. In fact, with some creativity and a willingness to get a little dirty, you can have a professional looking landscape at a fraction of the cost. Check out these easy projects that will make your yard the envy of the neighborhood.

Updated: September 30, 2021

Reduce the size of Your Lawn – $0-$30

Think of yards in your area with the most attractive landscaping. Most don’t have large expanses of grass. Instead, they have other features such as flower beds, bushes trees, walkways and more. What you decided to replace your grass with is entirely up to your tastes, yet it’s the first step in landscaping on a budget.

The most inexpensive way to get rid of a large expanse of grass is to lay down newspapers to kill it. Another way to get rid of grass is to put down landscaping fabric and cover it with mulch. The second method is more expensive with the cost proportionate to the area of the grass that you want to get rid of.

Get Creative with Planting Containers – $0-$100

Containers dress up a landscape. Fill them with herbs, flowers or even the container versions of vegetables. Terracotta planters are relatively inexpensive, with the larger one running $20 to $25. Another option is to re-purpose old items such as footed bathtubs, wheelbarrows and the like. You can even use old tires as planters. Find these at thrift stores for the cheapest price.

Another popular option is to hide your garden hose inside a tall wooden planter. The bottom hides the hose while the top part serves as a planter. f you use brand new wood, the cost could run up to $100, however, if you use repurposed wood, you not only get a rustic look, you may get most of your materials for free.

Freshome has a great article about using different things to make your outdoor space more attractive on a budget! Speaking of budgets, now would be a great time for you to take a quick read on how much you should budget for home repairs and maintenance. It’s not a huge number, but worth making sure you’re prepared for unexpected costs.

Buy Young Shrubs and Trees – $18 and up

Yes they won’t be as pretty at first, but if you select smaller trees and shrubs you’ll pay less money. Optimal sizes are five-gallon containers for shrubs, one-gallon containers for perennials and 15-gallon containers for trees. All plants achieve the same size at maturity, no matter how big they are when you buy them.

You can save money by buying smaller plants at places like LowesHome Depot and Pike Nurseries. The bottom line: don’t skimp on the number of plants or trees that you buy. Instead, buy smaller shrubs and trees. Within 10 years or even soon, they’ll be at the size you want.

Add a Flower Border – $12 and up

Calculating how much flowers cost is tricky. You can buy a flat of annuals at a discount store for next to nothing but some of those plants may not be of premium quality. Annuals also die at the end of growing season so you’ll be spending money year after year if you choose annuals.

Perennials cost more, but once you plant them, they will come up year after year, whereas annuals die after one growing season. Unless you choose an easy-growing perennial such as marigolds that self-seed.

Learn the various differences in annuals and perennials at Wonderopolis.

Create a Walkway – $15 and up per square foot

One of the most outstanding features in a yard is the creation of one or more walkways to connect interesting features to one another. Use pavers, stepping stone or slabs to make walkways that connect areas such as your patio to flower beds or to any noteworthy outdoor feature.

Pavers are probably your least expensive choice. Stepping stones can create a beautiful walkway but can cost upwards of $50 for each stone. Research your options before committing.

Create Your Own Water Feature – $0-$150

Do you think a fancy pond is out of your budget? Think again. You can easily achieve a gorgeous, small water fountain or a small pond at a fraction of the cost of a professionally installed feature. If you’re considering a fountain, use advice from the planter box point above and re-purpose apropos items to give your landscaping some character.

Brighten with Lights – $10 and up

Lights are an easy fix to any landscape. String inexpensive LED lights up high over your deck or patio to provide lighting for parties that last into the night. Inexepensive solar lights can be had for $1 each and can line your driveway or walkways that family and guests use frequently.

Build a Retaining Wall – $2 and up

Add sophistication to your yard with a retaining wall. This hardscape feature can be used for a number of things, including flower beds as well as higher features that help prevent erosion in your yard after a heavy rain. Retaining walls can also set off outdoor living areas for dining and relaxation from the rest of your yard.

The best feature of retaining walls is that you have many types to choose from. Wood, block retaining walls and much more.

Construct a Berm – $14 to $55 per cubic yard

If you’re looking to define your area, but don’t want a wall, consider building a berm, which is a small hill made of soil. Berms have a dual benefit in that they are not only pretty but can also minimize noise from adjacent properties. Place bushes and other landscaping elements on top to give your property additional privacy.

Construct a Paver Patio – $100 and up

Again, the cost here is dependent upon the size of your space. Placing a paver patio in a soft surface such as sand is easier and less expensive than pouring concrete and letting it set. You can also easily add onto your patio or create walkways to and from it.