Spring seems to get us all in the gardening and landscaping mentality. Suddenly the idea of digging in the dirt sounds fun... not like work. But a new flower bed, a landscaping project, or even a kitchen garden can get expensive. Here are 5 ways you can save money on your spring projects.
1. Rent equipment for major landscaping projects and do it yourself.
Wielding a shovel alone, you may not like the idea of digging out that large new flower bed. But for significantly less than hiring a landscaping firm, you can rent equipment that will allow you to tackle those projects yourself. Arco rents the Dingo, a powerhouse unit with different attachments which will make quick work of major landscaping projects.
2. Ask area farmers or horse owners about buying manure.
Preparing the soil for new plants can get costly; instead of buying as many bags of compost or manure as you can afford at the local garden supply store, find out where the farmers and/or horse owners are in your area. If you can bring a truck or trailer and haul well-dried manure yourself, you may be able to get as much as you need to create a nutrient-rich soil, without breaking the budget before you've even gotten to buying plants.
3. Create your own compost pile.
Though you won't be able to use your own compost this year, if you're just starting out, you'll reap the results next year if you're faithful to add food and lawn scraps, and give the pile a few turns every week or so. Check out this list of 163 things you can put into a compost pile.
4. Use online classifieds for your landscape supply store.
For landscaping materials such as timbers, stones, tiles, gravel, mulch, topsoil, and more, try searching your local classified listings. Sometimes folks are just wanting to clear out landscaping gravel, timbers, even shrubs that they don't want any more. If you're willing to do the work of moving that material, it can be yours for low or no cost.
5. Go to a local nursery rather than a big box store, and get an employee's advice on which plants are best for your area.
Your locally owned nursery is usually going to be more oriented toward and knowledgeable of what grows best in your area. Rather than grabbing what looks best on the plant sale table, take your time to talk to someone who knows. Describe your particular conditions - sun, shade, moist soil, dry soil, rocky soil, etc. - and get professional advice on the hardiest, best-growing plants. You'll save money on having to replace the ones that couldn't make it, not to mention the work of replanting.
What other ways do you save money on your landscaping projects?
Image: jayscratch (flickr).