You purchased a home; perhaps it’s your first home. The previous owner neglected the yard. Where do you start?
First, you need to know what you can do yourself and what you may need help. How much time you have available is a significant factor too? If you’re limited on time, you can still do some easy fixes to make your new yard more appealing. Cost, how much are you willing to spend? If you are like me, you are looking for a bargain!
There are a lot of inexpensive ways to update your yard. Simple fixes such as laying mulch down (which many cities offer free community mulch), rock paths, raised garden beds to container gardens, and planters in clusters to create a focal point. Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and apps like Letgo are great places to look for free yard items (especially someone who may be redoing their landscape and no longer need gravel, stones, wooden pallets, and even plants.)
Nurseries and nursery departments in stores such as Walmart like clothing retailers also have discount sales for “last seasons” plants. I love hitting clearance sales on plants; slashed prices can result in huge savings. I recommend looking at the end of spring and summer. Even plants that the leaves and flowers may look neglected or dried up look at the stems. If the branches are green means, they are salvageable. Remember, plant your finds quickly and give them enough sufficient water.
Container planting is one of my favorite easy ways of sprucing up an outdoor space. I use different sizes of containers and plants and mix it up. I especially like terracotta planters; they are not only low cost usually between $3 up to $20 depending on their sizes. Honestly, they are classically beautiful. Second-hand stores such as Goodwill and Savers is another way to keep the cost down for containers; old planting containers and unique pottery can always be found.
Consider using wooden pallets to make the raised garden beds. (Wooden pallets can be found on Craigslist; many instances free.) Sit and observe your space where you intend on placing the garden. You will want to watch and see where the sun tends to hit at different times during the day. Knowing where the majority of the sun and heat hit the yard will help you with the garden bed placement.
When planting, consider perennials; perennials return each year. You may shell out a bit more in the beginning for a batch of perennials; they will remain a permanent fixture in your new space for years, thus saving money in the long run.
Last rocks, I love rocks, especially river rocks and stones in different sizes. You can utilize them in various ways for your space, such as making paths leading to other spots in your yard, laying stones to cover an unused space. Rocks can help with defining an area. I use river rocks to help with directing rain runoff during monsoon season. Craigslist and apps like Letgo and Facebook Marketplace are a great place to find someone giving away rocks. Words of caution on rocks that you pick up for free remember to inspect them for ants. If you notice ants, it’s a good idea to treat them before you lay them in your yard.
Remember, this is now your yard, space, and hopefully a place to relax and enjoy with family and friends. Take your time to plan it out. Your yard is a work in progress. I have changed our back yard several times to accommodate my family’s needs. As you grow in your home, your wants and needs may change for your yard, don’t be afraid to change it up and try new ideas.