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  • Writer's pictureHeidi Falter

3 Affordable Landscape Ideas

Your property’s living space covers much more than the just space within your home. With some strategic landscaping, you can maximize and beautify your yard. Better yet, updating your home’s curb appeal or backyard doesn’t have to break the bank. You can really stretch the dollar to cover a great deal of outdoor space with some low-cost landscaping ideas.

1. Freshen Up or Add Mulch Beds

Mulch adds some visual intrigue to any yard at a relatively low cost. The national average for 3 cubic yards of mulch that is delivered and installed is $275, but you can save by doing it yourself. For smaller spaces, even just a few bags of mulch that are less than $4 a piece may do the trick.

Beyond the aesthetic benefits of breaking up the landscaping and helping keep weeds or grass in check, mulch has real benefits for your yard. It’s specifically useful for garden beds or around the base of young trees, as it can help retain good moisture that the plants need to flourish while also insulating the roots. For you, that can translate to savings with your water bill.

The biggest thing to keep in mind with mulch is that it’s best to replace it annually, but the benefits of having mulch may make this DIY job worth the effort.

2. Grow Native Plants that Won’t Stretch your Water Bill

Spending some time researching the plants that are native to your area can ultimately save you money—while helping the environment. The big reason for this is that native plants are naturally compatible with the rainfall in your area and, as a result, you don’t have to spend as much money watering the plants. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, native plants also minimize the need for fertilizers, help prevent erosion and keep the local ecosystem in check.

Especially in drought-prone regions of the country, this is a strategic approach that can keep your landscaping vibrant even in dry times. There are benefits to using native plants in areas that experience extreme cold, a great deal of rain or other geographically unique conditions that may not be suitable for all types of plants.

As you look into native plants, expand your search beyond flowers. Other native varieties to explore include native ground cover, ornamental grasses, shrubs and trees.

3. Improve Edging Around your Patio

If you have an existing patio, you can expand its visual impact while minimizing the lawn space you’re responsible for watering by adding a landscaping buffer. The most inexpensive option is to dig out a trench around the existing patio and fill it with mulch. One step up from that, landscaping stones can add a more refined touch—with the added benefit that they don’t need to be replaced on a regular basis, like mulch.

Available in a variety of sizes and colors, landscaping stones may be less expensive than you would imagine. Decomposed granite may be available for just $25 per ton, popular pea gravel is $30 to $60 per ton and smooth river rocks cost $80 to $250 per ton. There may be additional fees for delivery, and installation costs an average of $50 to $100 per hour around the country.

However, with the long-lasting impact that it will provide your backyard landscaping, the addition of rock is a relatively cheap landscaping project that will pay off year after year.


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