Landscaping Your Home On A Budget Part 1

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Now that spring has sprung many people are anxious to get outside to start on their landscaping projects.

Landscaping Your Dream Home Without Stress

However, for many the mere thought of doing landscaping can lead to sleepless nights and visions of empty bank accounts.

Over the years I have worked with many clients who have fallen into this category, they want to bring their yard to life but they are worried about the costs associated with undertaking the project.

budget landscaping

In many cases, they are first-time homeowners who have never landscaped before and have heard stories from friends and family of how much their backyard retreats have cost.

They also may have simply wandered into a garden centre only to have been overwhelmed by names and price tags.

On top of that, many folks today are both budget-conscious and “green” conscious wanting to bring both of these items to the table when beautifying their property.

Landscape Design: Planning

As a landscape designer, the first thing I ask my clients is about their budget – right away you need to know how much you want to spend on the project initially and long-term.

Related: Curb Appeal Landscaping For First Time Homeowners

Let me explain, when you undertake a landscape project it is important to know how much money you want to spend on the project when you are done putting everything in the ground (no pun intended).

Now for some people, they plan to approach the project over a number of years and plan to allot “x” number of dollars each year.

Other people may prefer to approach the project as a “one-time shot”. Either way, write those numbers down as that is your initial budget.

Basic Tools For Landscaping 

If you have never gardened before you are going to need some tools.

gardening tools

This can be a significant investment and worth buying the right tools the first time rather than replacing them year after year. Budget for these as well.

  • Shovel 
  • Rake
  • Lawnmower 
  • Spade
  • Hoe
  • Garden Hose
  • Gardening Fork 
  • Spade
  • Pruning Shears
  • Garden Gloves
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Garden Hand Tools 
  • Ladder
  • Garden Water Can 
  • Twine
  • Lawn Spreader

Home Before Landscaping 

Determining A Landscaping Budget

Now in terms of long-term landscaping budget, ask yourself –

  • Do you plan to plant annuals in your garden each year? Yes – that’s going to cost money each year so you need to budget for that.
  • Do you want to use city water to irrigate the gardens?  If so, that will impact your water bill so you will want to take that into account. As well, if you don’t plan to water or want to reply on rain barrels you will want to consider plant materials that are more drought-tolerant or native.
  • Do you plan to use decorative mulch in your beds? If so, this will need to be topped up every year or so to keep it looking fresh and to maintain its garden-friendly properties.
  • You will also want to budget for regular maintenance costs such as fertilizers, etc.

Landscaping Design Phase

Understanding Your Needs vs. Wants

Once you have developed your budget, I suggest drawing up a list of “needs” and “wants“.

This is important because a lot of people get the two confused, especially when planning something as exciting as a new entertaining space and it is easy to blow through your budget with things you “want” while forgetting the things you “need”.

Sure you might “want” that nice fountain but you really “need” a patio to accommodate your extended family on a long weekend Backyard BBQ party.

It’s also important to determine what area of your property you want to landscape first. Is it your front yard the area that is most important to you?

This may be true if you are planning to sell in the near future or if the entrance is a safety hazard), or is the backyard the most important because it will be your “staycation” spot for summer weekends?

Related: How To Get Rid Of House and Garden Ants

Involve the entire family during this process, it can be a lot of fun coming up with ideas and searching out photos!

During this phase one of the biggest things I advise people to do, and not just because it is what I do but because I believe in it for any kind of project you might do, is to seek professional advice.

Should You Hire A Landscaping Professional?

By searching out the advice of a professional you are likely going to save yourself money.

I know this might sound backwards, spending money to save money?

Listen to this – spending the money to have a consultation or have a landscaping plan completed by a professional is worth it.

The landscaping profession knows what plants will do best in a certain area (ie: in that dark, dry shady corner or beside the driveway where you pile your snow).

The professional will also show you how to best design a patio around your windows and doors which will ultimately save you both the time and the hassle of trial and error.

I have met people who have spent thousands of dollars on plant material only have it fail time and time again because they had planted it in the wrong space.

A quick 1-1/2 consultation could have saved them some of that money and let them spend it on something else.

Landscaping A Home For Resale Value

Landscaping is a great asset to your home and in many cases will retain its resale value more than a bathroom or kitchen renovation.

Curb appeal is a big factor for a lot of people when they are looking at homes, so many people can’t see the potential of a home when they pull up and see nothing.

Do you ever read the listings for houses for sale?

Notice they always mention the landscaping? It’s an important selling feature for any home.

The project below is a simple front yard landscaping renovation that was completed in one day for a client.

The clients had a landscaping budget that they wanted to stick to.

By telling me their landscaping budget and meeting with me to discuss what they wanted to accomplish (give the house curb appeal without having to add annuals each year, wanted year-round and some “feature” plants) I was able to take their budget and make it work for them.

In fact, we came in UNDER budget and included all the features they wanted!

The 2-hour consultation had paid off as they weren’t left guessing which plants to select, and where the plants should be planted.

Related: How to Build A Rock Garden With Weed Protection

After Landscaping The Property

The AFTER- After landscaping, what an Impact on the home!

© Landscape Designs by Jodie Munshaw 2012

Contribution Post By Jodie Munshaw is a Certified Landscape Designer providing her clients with custom landscape designs and garden consultation services that meet both their needs and their budgets.

Landscaping and Gardening Series

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  1. Pam…. my experience with landscape pros is that they might charge what seems like a lot but if they are with a company you will get a discount on any stuff you buy from the company… Think along the lines of places that charge….say $5.00 for a catalogue, but you get $5.00 off the first order so it is worth it. Be honest… if you want a multi year plan…. tell them, they will be happy to work with you on that…

  2. Just found your blog through Save Big Live Better on Facebook. I was excited to read the landscaping post, we just moved into a recently built house without any landscaping. I’m looking forward to reading more on this topic. Any idea of what it would cost to have a landscaping consultation?

    1. Hi Pam,
      Thanks for commenting first off. The landscaping Series is a 3 part series and I will post this post on FB again and tag our in house landscape specialist Jodie Munshaw.. she will give you all the details.. she’s amazing at what she does. We are landscaping our home right now and she has given us great ideas!! Mr.CBB

  3. Thanx everyone for your positive comments! I am not sure how I didn’t find THIS comments section earlier so I do apologize! Gardening is a place where so many people “throw away money” that they don’t need to. By properly planning your garden you can get plants in the RIGHT place so you get color at the RIGHT times and get the RIGHT look to suit YOUR style and BUDGET. There are some great books out there, I’ll point you in the direction of some of my favorites in a future post as well as websites and apps. In the meantime stay tuned for part two!

  4. I never truly thought about budgeting for gardening because I didn’t think it costed that much…but it all adds up! thanks for saving many people from wasting money by not really knowing! 🙂 I’ll be sure to come up with a “needs” and “wants” list this year, for my yard!

    1. Wow, landscaping can be very costly if we don’t plan and plan right for that matter. I’m glad I’m budgeting and taking the time to research and call in the professionals for advice. Thanks for your lovely comment Romana! Mr.CBB

  5. Great post! Lots of things to think about before you even get started. I look forward to more from this series!

    1. I think that’s a great idea to ask your neighbours for cuttings although I’m not looking for any flowers myself. I really want to keep the front yard neat and maintenance free. We’ve given away so many flowers I lost count and posted them on freecycle. We hate to waste anything that others may use. Thanks for your comment as always! Cheers Mr.CBB

  6. Thank you for sharing your tips. I like to create my backyard into a garden of tranquillity with flowers as most years I cannot afford a vacation away and sharing this space with my family when we swim or bbq is the best vacation of all. I have started doing container gardening for veggies. I am going to expand what I plant this year. Last year was tomatoes and peppers. I am going to try cucumbers this year. Look forward to the next post.

    1. Funny you mention that because more and more families are retreating to their backyard each year for a family vacation as they simply can’t afford one. I think it’s a great idea but you need to keep the space tranquil as you mention. IF no one likes to be out there than no one will want to spend time in the yard. We plant tomatoes and peppers as well but haven’t the space for cucumbers. Would love an update on how you make out this year. You can taste the difference that’s for sure! Thanks for your post. Mr.CBB

    1. Yes I just noticed and left you a lovely comment. I appreciate you thinking of me and reading my blog. It means alot as a new blogger to have other fellow bloggers recognize me. Thanks again and I’m gong to get working on my nominations! Happy Easter

  7. great article! Look forward to reading more:) It is definitely a great idea to talk to a professional first. I usually get some plants from my mother, which cuts down on the costs, because buying flowers/trees can get very expensive. BTW very great job on your before & after pics.

  8. Great advice!!! I have a small back yard at the bottom of a hill. We found raised beds work great here. I have perennials in them and from the looks of things I’ll be dividing the daylilys again, and digging up the shastas to re-plant. I’ll empty out the composters for the gardens when I do the digging. I still would like a couple of pink daylilys so I’ll keep looking there, then figure out where I can put the dears. Last year I dug out a stretch beside the driveway that had some rather aggressive weeds and perennials in there. There are a number that came back this year, so I know I’ll be digging them up again…. My plan is to put in annuals along there for the next few years until I can get rid of those nasty beasties. I’m thinking pink cosmos, pink cleome and some white nicotaina. Other than that my annuals go in hanging pots around the porch and the two big blue pots I got 3 years ago. I think if we ever moved I’d be digging up most of the garden to take with us…. the new people could then plant what ever they want and I have my favorites with me to save money at the new address….

    1. Hi Christine, sounds like you have a beautiful yard. We have a small back yard as well and are still trying to sort out what we like and don’t like. I’m hoping this is the last year! Happy Easter! Thanks for posting and subscribing! Cheers Mr.CBB

  9. I also found out the hard way that a lot of the people who work in garden centers (around here anyway) aren’t always knowledgable about plants/flowers! I have an area that is very shady and wet. I found a few flowers that they said would be ok in the shade and they didn’t do well…I’ve been getting to know Jodie through a coupon group and some chats and hope she’ll be able to offer me some “online” advice in the future (a bit far for her to come here) for this problem garden area!

    1. Yes it’s best to have someone come and and actually look at your space. I’m glad you have gotten to know Jodie. I’m sure you know by now how lovely she is. Happy Easter Shelley! Mr.CBB

  10. I’ve been guilty of just buying the plants I like and planting them in the wrong areas of my yard. I think at the new house we’re going to hire someone first and plant second!

    1. I know how tempting it is going into a gardening centre and seeing plants upon pretty plants with gorgeous blooms and wanting to buy them. Actually the wife is just like that. I have to control her feminine urges to want to buy every one she goes all fluttery over lol.. it’s best to hire a pro to give you all the advice, then plant.. that’s the best route.. do it once, save the money. Thanks for reading. Happy Easter Elizabeth.

  11. I used do my landscaping each year by going out and pulling weeds and planting annuals, then consider my gardening done. I have started buying perennials so that I don’t have to buy flowers each year and swapping plants with friends is a good way to keep the cost of new plants down.

    1. Yes the cost of replacing flowers every year can skyrocket not to mention bust the budget. We are aiming for shrubs and greenery, grasses in the front and perennials in our back yard. We also swap flowers with our mates. Good Luck Tania and thanks for reading.

  12. Thank you for this article! I managed to do a lot of my garden affordably as my Aunt split a lot of her plants for us to use but it would have been great to have someone come over like you mentioned to tell us where to put everything. Sometimes I feel like my garden could use some organization! lol

  13. Great advise about talking with a professional, especially for someone with little gardening knowledge. They certainly could help suggest which plants would work best where and help decide what to prioritize when working with a budget. Thanks for the post and looking forward to reading the next one.

    1. That’s just it Joanna, it’s knowing what plants to pick and not wasting money twice or even more. I’m glad you enjoyed Jodie’s first post as much as I did. I’ll need to learn everything I can. Happy Easter Joanna!

  14. Love that you started out with my new favourite word “budget.” I am one of those who gets lost in the garden centres loving everything but then getting totally confused about what kind of plants to get for my different lighting/moisture areas of my property. The other point that I am going to start right now is a need vs want list! Our landscaping is not going to be a one shot deal but I want to make the most out of each addition. Time for hubby and I to sit down, create a budget and then a prioritized list. Thank you for your post and I look forward to the rest of the series 🙂 ~ Sandy

    1. Hi Sandy,
      I’m glad you liked Part 1 in the Series, I knew you would. Budgeting is so important when investing in your property. I really want to stress making a plan and list of wants and needs and then budgeting the money. Like I mentioned before if its worth it to you, spend the money to get a pro in for their advice. It’s best to spend your money once~ rather than twice or too much for that matter. Cheers Sandy~ Hope your husband enjoys the article!

  15. I think before I go about making a budget, I need to pick up a “Gardening For Idiots”, I think it would be easier to create my “need” list of items with a handy list somewhere near by 🙂 That is a good idea to get someone who knows what they are doing to come look,tell you what you are working with.

    1. Is there such a book lol.. you are so funny Melissa! A list is just as important as it is when budgeting.. you need to know all the information. Hiring a professional to give you their opinion and design is ideas is better than overspending, getting the wrong types of plants etc. If you are going to invest in your property do it once the right way. If I can avoid spending money twice on the same thing I’m well ahead. Cheers

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