Let’s take a walk outside, shall we?
I want to dive into how we created our new back garden and why we chose what we did! If you’ve read any of my posts, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that we are ALL about budget-friendly (but nice) options for our home. We want the absolute most we can get for our buck. In the yard, it’s no different! We’ve been chipping away at the installing a garden in the back of our house for about six-months now.
Little by little, we’ve brought the pieces together–in fact, that’s my first tip on how to save money in the garden. If you can be patient, do this slowly so you can can shop when things are at the lowest price. Now, here are the rest!
Think long-term: Choose finishes and plants that will last
I would hate to put all this time and money into a garden, just to have it look terrible in a few months or feel like I’m starting from scratch next Spring. With that being said, thinking forward is important when planning out your own outdoor oasis! This is why I would highly recommend planting perennials. Even if they’re just the base of your garden–it’s important to have a foundation that will come back each year. We chose evergreens and shrubs because firstly, half of them will still bring life to our garden even in the winter months and secondly, because when they’re all in season, they create a great mix! I also love that they’re grow nice and tall over the next couple years.
I wanted this garden to be low-maintenance and to look established in not a ton of time, that’s why we went with shrubs instead of individual flowers.
Aside from the plants, we decided to lay loose stone instead of mulch for our back garden. It was a new idea to us, but we loved the thought of not re-mulching every single year. Doing this meant that we’d spend a little more this year, per square foot on the stone vs. mulch but over time we’d save. That’s because mulching is something that should be refreshed every Spring, which means, a lot of heavy lifting and money down the drain to us! With the loose stone or gravel, you lay it once and it lasts for many, many years without the color fading.
We chose stone that had a lot of different tones. It felt the most natural and interesting in our yard. We were also thinking ahead to future terrace plans which will be in view from this garden. We didn’t want to choose a stone that had a specific tone that could limit our choices in the future. So no red rock here–we kept it pretty neutral!
It’s important to note that if you go with a gravel garden, you should be choosing plants that lean draught-tolerant. You’ll also need to be more precise when fertilizing–gotta get right up to the base of the plant, otherwise it won’t reach the roots.
Go straight to the source
Shop wholesale when possible! Instead of sourcing our gravel from local nurseries, we went directly to a local quarry and we were able to pick up our loose stone for less than half of retail price! We also saved by picking it up ourselves instead of having it delivered. We’re all about DIY whenever possible to save cash.
Do it YOURSELF
The time you commit to doing a project like this yourself is worth it! It’s far more satisfying than having it installed for you–and yes, it saves you a few sheckles. We designed, planted, laid the weed blocker, edged out the grass, delivered and distributed in the stone, and installed our water feature all ourselves and THAT is the way to go. Hands down. Now we can take pride in knowing it was done properly and know that we’ve invested our own efforts into this place that we love.
Check out flea markets and nursery clearance sections for garden accessories like this little water feature. This one was gifted to us by my mom who was ready to move on from it–lucky us!
Ready to buy one now? Here are a few more options that are similar to ours! Click photos to purchase directly:
Aside from our pear tree (which was a house-warming gift) we bought all of our plants last fall. Our local nurseries put most of their perennials on clearance at that time of year.
It was still plenty warm and early enough to safely get them in the ground, so we jumped on the chance of buying all of our plants at almost 40% off.
Farmer Greg Tip: If you purchase a little later in the game, try healing the plants in. This means that after you’ve planted them, create some warmth for the roots by laying hay or wood chips in a nested shape around the base of the plant. It will help insulate them as the temperatures drop so they have more time to acclimate.
Wondering how to clean up a gravel garden in the fall? Simply blow the dropped foliage away with your leaf blower.
What do you think?
Could you install your own garden to save lots of cash? Have any other tips to add? Leave them in the comments below!
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If you liked this post, you’ll probably enjoy my gardening page!